Office Tips

Tips for Reducing Waste at the Office

On average, Americans spends one-third of their day at work. In paper alone, “the average office worker in the US uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year. That’s four million tons of copy paper used annually.” -U.S. EPA

Making planet wise decisions at the office is just as important as those made in the home. Athens Services recommends the following 10 tips to help reduce waste at work while saving resources, money, and the environment!


#1 Form an Environmental Sustainability Team! Made up of employees, this group is responsible for designing a sustainability program including: goal setting, planning, implementation, company wide education and compliance.

#2 Create a Preferable Purchasing Policy!
Create a policy that gives purchasing preference to eco-friendly, non-toxic, and recycled content products.

#3 Recognize Good Deeds!
Create friendly competition and incentivize employees or departments to achieve set goals. Create a recognition program which could include rewards and/ or acknowledgment in company publications.

#4 Provide Reusable Servingware!
Buy inexpensive dinning-ware for the office or require people to bring in their own. You will save money, as well as, energy and water used in the creation of a new product. Provide employees with branded water bottles and mugs to encourage reuse.

#5 Minimize Coffee Waste!
Minimize one-time-use disposables; replace foam coffee cups and stir sticks with reusable options. Buy coffee and condiments in bulk versus non-recyclable individual packets or pods. “Americans throw away 138 billion straws and stirrers a year.” County of Hawaii Department of Environmental Management

#6 Cut Down on Paper!
“90% of all office waste is paper” per U.S. EPA. Print only when necessary and always double sided. Use at least 30% recycled content paper, keep a “scrap box” near the printer, and invest in desk size whiteboards for jotting down notes. Conduct paperless meetings; use presentations and email copies of handouts in advance.

#7 Keep Accurate Inventory & Share Supplies!
Keep track of supplies and avoid over purchasing. Have one central location for supplies. Encourage colleagues to share common desk items (like a stapler) versus buying one for each desk. Create a day where employees go through their supplies and get rid of unused items. Extras can be donated or placed in the supply room.

#8 Donate Reusable and Repairable Items!
Nonprofit groups and art programs are in need of items such as electronics, office supplies, office equipment, fabrics, vehicles, and more.

#9 Compost at Work!
Start a food waste collection program at work. For more information on Athens Services’ Food Waste/Restaurant program click here.

#10 Feed People – Not Landfills!
Consider donating leftover, unspoiled food from events and meetings to local food banks or rescue programs. For information on locations, resources and the “Good Samaritan Law” visit the U.S. EPA website.