How to reduce workplace waste heading into the new year 

You can embed sustainable practices into any workplace, whether you’re in the office each day or practising a hybrid work model. As we prepare to launch into a new year, here are a few ways to start reducing waste in your working environment.

Group of people working in an office, preparing a waste audit to improve workplace sustainability.

Conduct an office waste audit

Whether you’re working primarily from home or in the office, take a minute to take stock, noting the rubbish you’re producing and where it’s ending up. A waste audit will help you break down all the different types of rubbish in your work day and workplace, so you can find ways to reduce your impact and see the costs associated with disposing of materials.

By identifying issues in your waste disposal practices, you can streamline business processes, attract and retain employees who value corporate commitment to sustainability, and ultimately save money. For example, one step might be to become a paperless workplace: reducing paper, printing and disposal costs will help your bottom line, and it’s great for the environment too.

Try this 4-step workplace waste audit:

  1. Sort the rubbish you produce in the workplace (or work-associated rubbish in your home office) by waste stream. This could include paper, plastic, soft plastics, food organics, shipping materials, glass, e-waste and other technical equipment.
  2. Weigh or measure how much of each waste stream you’re producing in a given timeframe and consider how the waste is currently being disposed of, noting that recycling of various materials differs between local councils and across the states and territories. Don’t forget to record any issues that come up in the disposal process. For example, certain materials may not be going into the correct bins for recycling, composting and general waste.
  3. Assess the results, looking at areas where your workplace is producing high amounts of rubbish that has the potential to be reduced, as well as the time and cost-effectiveness of your waste disposal methods.
  4. Investigate recycling opportunities for rubbish that currently goes in bins headed for landfills. Read on for a few easy suggestions below!

Make your end-of-year office clear out eco friendly

Rather than tossing out miscellaneous items that can’t be put to use around the office, try offloading bigger items via online marketplaces. For everything else, find a TerraCycle recycling solution. We can help you recycle almost anything and get you set up for a cleaner, greener start to the new year.

Visit our website and sign up to the free TerraCycle recycling programs in Australia and New Zealand that best suit your business needs. Place collection boxes for each program alongside  your bins for kerbside recycling and general waste, or anywhere you and your colleagues are likely to see and remember them.

You could set up a collection hub in your workplace kitchen to collect dishwashing and air care products and packaging through the Dish & Air Care Free Recycling Program. Or make it easy for the team to recycle toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes by placing a collection box for the Colgate Oral Care Free Recycling Program near the entry to office bathrooms.

You can build enthusiasm by encouraging coworkers to bring rubbish that’s accepted by these programs into work, where they can drop them all in one place. When you have filled a box, simply log into your TerraCycle account and download a free postage label for the specific program, affix it to a cardboard box and post it to TerraCycle for recycling.

If our free recycling programs don’t cover a particular type of workplace rubbish you are keen to recycle, check out our range of pre-paid Zero Waste Box office solutions. Whether it’s disposable face masks, gloves, coffee capsules, shipping materials, ink and toner cartridges or any other hard-to-recycle rubbish that builds up in office cupboards, Zero Waste Boxes provide a convenient catch-all solution. 

Make recycling for the wider community your new year’s resolution

When everyone has the hang of things, you can take your workplace recycling efforts one step further by setting up your business as a TerraCycle public drop-off point

When you sign up as a drop-off point, you’re inviting the community to contribute to your TerraCycle recycling collection. This can help reduce the environmental footprint of the programs, as larger volumes make the shipping process more efficient. It’s also a great community-building exercise, and by putting your business at the centre of local recycling efforts you can generate goodwill and foot traffic. 

Participants in our free recycling programs can accrue TerraCycle charity points which are redeemable as cash donations to the non-profit or school of your choice. Your workplace can build up even more charity points by operating as a public drop-off point and collecting more rubbish for recycling, all while helping reduce waste in your community.

It’s a good idea to have someone in your workplace appointed as the TerraCycle public drop-off point administrator to manage the collection and shipping process, and ensure community collectors are dropping off items for recycling inside the timeframes you have specified. For upcycled collection station inspiration, check out the stellar public drop-off point at Sydney coworking space, Seed.

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