Happy national recycling week! To mark the occasion, HRM looks at some easy yet effective measures your office can take to save the planet.
Sculptures by the Sea is Australia’s largest annual outdoor sculpture exhibition, gracing the shoreline in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. In recent memory, it has always featured at least one sculpture made from recycled materials as a way of drawing attention to our wasteful society. This year was no exception with a collection of blue and green amorphous shapes perched on the clifftop at Tamarama, made out of used plastic bottles.
Even if you don’t have the time to turn your waste into decorative artworks for your office, here are some other suggestions to implement some environmentally friendly practices in your workplace.
Let’s start by looking at how much waste your office might be producing. According to the environmental protection agency in the US, 8.5 million tons of office assets are destined for the landfill annually. And from an economic point of view, it can represent up to 4 per cent of an organisation’s costs. On the homefront, waste services are costing business in Australia $2.2 billion per year. According to the Department of the Environment, much of the waste and associated costs occur from food disposal.
And it doesn’t stop there. Take a look around your office or cubicle. A full cubicle can represent up to 150 kilograms of waste, with a range of different materials and chemicals. An office chair itself is made of various materials like metal, wood and plastic – all of which can be repurposed. Now factor in all the electronics and devices, cords, printers, cartridges. The list is endless.
How to improve your office recycling habits
As mentioned earlier, much of our workplace waste is food. Consider a compost bin for food scraps. You can organise environmental waste disposal trucks to collect the organic waste. If the thought of rotting produce in your office kitchen is a bit too confronting, why not just collect your tea-bags for composting.
And on the topic of food and drink, think about supplying all staff with a keepcup to eliminate the daily waste from coffee runs. Or you could invest in a coffee machine which would also save your employees a fair amount of money per week. Make sure to collect those coffee pods though and send them back to Nescafé or wherever you purchase your nectar.
The big things
Don’t be throwing out those old electronic devices either. There are government organised e-waste recycling services in Sydney and Melbourne that you can book in to pick up your old computers, keyboards, batteries, mobile phones and light bulbs.
Giving your office a make-over? Don’t send your furniture to the landfill. Companies like the Sydney Recycle furniture and equipment and the Freecycle Network will collect and repurpose your junk. The Freecycle Network also accepts no longer needed office paraphernalia like lever arch folders.
Make it easy
Your employees are busy, and no doubt that’s how you want them to stay. Rather than just having a recycling bin for the whole office, provide one for each employee to save them getting up from their desk every time they need to throw out a tissue or piece of paper.
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