Zero Waste Week 2019 is happening now! This year it runs from the 2nd – 6th of September. Founded by Rachelle Strauss in 2008 its main purpose is to encourage individuals and businesses to rethink their rubbish as resources. Strauss advises us to think about what happens to our rubbish when we throw it ‘away’. Rubbish will always go somewhere, whether that’s landfill, an incinerator or even the ocean. Instead, we can reduce how much we throw away, reuse wherever possible and create a circular economy where waste is effectively designed out of the equation and materials are continuously reused.
Circular versus a Linear Economy
In a traditional linear model, items are designed to be used and then discarded, usually into landfill or incinerated. To achieve zero waste the economy must be re-designed into one which is circular and products are continuously re-used, thereby eliminating the production and the entire concept of waste.
So how can you promote a zero waste environment in your office or work place? Check out our top 10 tips!
Top Tips for a Zero Waste Workplace
1. Take an office waste audit
Work out which waste stream you could focus on reducing, reusing or recycling. If you currently recycle all paper but you produce a lot of general waste, is there any way this could be reduced? Could you set up a composter for food waste?
2. Produce large quantities of cardboard boxes? Set up a Reuse Initiative
If your business produces large quantities of cardboard boxes, Direct Cardboard Boxes can help you to set up a Reuse Model which enables your used or unwanted cardboard boxes to be reused by other companies. This can be run alongside you normal waste contract.
3. Consider becoming a paperless office
Whilst this may sound daunting, it’s really common sense. Is there any need to have hard copies of bills, memos or emails when you can have electronic ones?
4. Set up a collection from Terracycle for hard to recycle items
Terracycle can collect and recycle almost anything from coffee capsules to plastic gloves.
5. Set up a carrier bag reuse area
If members of staff regularly go out to buy their lunch, make reusable bags available near doors so they can pick one up on their way out and they don’t need to buy one. Ask members of staff to donate the bags.
6. Reuse as much as possible!
Small actions can lead to big effects. Think about making all resources stretch further, recycling should only be used as a last resort. Remember to reuse cardboard boxes that were used to deliver your latest stationary order. Supply staff with metal, reusable cutlery so they don’t end up buying disposable ones.
7. Switch to Reusable Items
Encourage staff to switch to reusable rather than disposable items, such as refillable water bottles or coffee cups, washable cloths instead of kitchen roll.
8. Call an amnesty
Set up an anonymous ‘no questions asked’ drop off point for staff to return all their extra pens, staples or uniform so you can reuse them.
9. Start a kitchen garden
Pop used teabags, apple cores and coffee grounds into a composter and encourage staff to grow a few fruits or vegetables in some pots or containers. It’s great for staff morale too!
10. Swap event
Organise a swap event where staff can bring in any unwanted clothes, books, DVDs, children’s toys etc and allow them to swap an item for another item.
We hope this has given you a few ideas on how to embrace Zero Waste Week 2019! For more information on how to reduce your environmental impact, check out our Reuse Initiative.