How to minimise waste at the office

As we start to emerge from our Covid hibernation and make our slow return back to work, now is the perfect time to consider how you can reduce your office waste and help move toward a green recovery.

According to the National Waste Report, commercial and industrial businesses generated 31 million tonnes of waste in 2016 alone. About half of that is being recycled and the rest is sent to landfills across the country. The good news is, this industry has the greatest opportunity for boosting of material recovery.

Let’s look at the type of waste the commercial and industrial industry creates. Food, paper and plastic make up the majority of items being sent to landfill (76%), while the rest is glass, cardboard, metals, and other materials. A study conducted by the Environment Protection Agency found that retail businesses in New South Wales could be recycling thousands more tonnes of plastic and paper each year. So this begs the question, where should you start?

Quick fixes to minimising office waste

  • Conduct a waste audit to analysis all of the waste within your workplace. Waste audits help identify the cost of disposal, how it can be reduced and how to gain additional revenue for your business through repurposing or recycling your waste. It will also help you minimise you organisation’s negative impact on the environment. Here’s a useful resource for conducting a waste audit at work.

  • Set up a recycling station or hub for anything that can be recycled. You’ll need to provide different boxes or receptacles for the different waste streams including ones for kerbside recyclables and general waste. We recommend you sign up to our free recycling programs and include collections for these at your hub. This will enable your colleagues to bring their recyclables to work where they can drop them all off in one place. For example, if your workplace uses coffee capsules, we offer several free programs for these items, and you can also start recycling used pens and markers through the Writing Instruments Recycling Program (sign up as a Community Collection Hub and you’ll skip the waiting list for this program).

  • If you want to recycle even more, check out our range of Zero Waste Box office solutions for practically everything. Zero Waste Boxes are paid solutions to almost every waste you can imagine. Our most popular boxes include the Safety Equipment and Protective Gear which accepts disposable face masks and gloves, the Break Room Separation and the Office Separation.

Other opportunities to minimise waste:

  • Purchase digital subscriptions to newspapers for the office.
  • Encourage your staff and colleagues to use reusable containers for their lunch and snacks.
  • Ensure everyone has access to office KeepCups for the daily coffee run.
  • Install hand dryers in the bathrooms rather than paper towels.
  • Share documents electronically instead of printing materials.
  • Upcycle items to decorate office spaces. Here’s a shot of our string art we made with donations of corks, string and nails:
TerraCycle Australia’s office art

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. You can email our customer support team at

Is there anything we’ve missed? Let us know if you have any suggestions or tips to reduce office waste in the comments below!

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