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Office Waste Reduction Strategies

Office greening with waste management helps you green your operations and reduce costs from paper, equipment, fertilizer, cleansers and more

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Office Greening with Waste Management Strategies

Office waste is both an environmental burden and cost for companies. You can easily reduce your office costs by putting key systems in place to save materials and recycle, reduce and reuse everything from paper to worm castings!


Set your photocopiers and printers to print on both sides by default.

Make computer files, not paper files when possible.

Fight junk mail—Take steps to reduce the amount of junk mail that your office receives.


Reuse envelopes and send them through the mail again whenever possible.

Have each staff persons set aside paper that they use on only one side, so that it can be reused for printing drafts in your printer, or glued together to make scratch pads.

Buy "recycled" toner cartridges, and/or send your spent toner cartridges to be "recycled".

Encourage staff to use reusable coffee mugs on their way into the office and in your break room. Hang a mug reuse poster in your break room. california consumer pollution solutions

Invest in rechargeable batteries and battery chargers for digital cameras, flashlights, and other small devices.

Buy refurbished electronic equipment, furniture, carpet, etc. whenever possible.

Recycle Paper and Organics

Get program description of How to Start Recycling Paper

Recycling Organics, Inside and Out

Keep worms in your office in a vermicompost (worm bin) to convert coffee grounds, tea bags, food scraps such as apple cores and banana peels in a bedding of shredded newspaper. Get a list of California worm suppliers on the CIWMB website.

Grasscycle your lawn clippings if you maintain landscape, and compost your yard pruning. And don't use toxic chemicals (pesticides, fertilizer, herbicides) on your lawn -- they create polluted runoff and contaminate your compost.

Mulch your shrubs and flower beds with your organic compst -- this provides water retention -- and reduces irrigation needs -- and provides soil nutrients to replace fertilizers.

Buy Recycled

Look for the type and the amount of recycled content in anything that you buy. Postconsumer content is better than postmanufacturer content.

You are not recycling if you send your waste to be recycled, but you do not buy products made from recycled content. See the CIWMB website for lists of Recycled Content Products; RecycleStore for produts, and Recycled-content Building Products.

Reduce Usage

Buy only what you know you will use.

Intersperse regular use of strong cleaners and solvents with less toxic and water based cleaners. Everything from process machinery to toilets need to be cleaned occasionally, but if you clean regularly, you don't need to use the strongest chemicals known to humankind each and every time. A growing practice is to use the strong stuff about every fourth time, and use milder alternatives in between.

Reduce Packaging. Select products from suppliers and manufactures that use minimal packaging.

Reuse packing material whenever possible, and look for ways to reduce its use when you send products to customers. invasive plants in California

Spread The Word about Office Waste Reduction

Publicize your waste prevention efforts. In brochures and advertisements that you print, discretely display a small paragraph somewhere that tactfully boasts of your office waste prevention practices. Many of your clients will be favorably impressed

Educate your fellow employees about your green and sustainable systems and policies. Make participation EASY for everyone!

CIWMB Waste Reduction Tips and Resource List

Edited by Carolyn Allen
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