Waste Reduction Strategies For Businesses
CONSTRUCTION & DEMOLITION
Use building materials made with recycled content.
Recycle construction and demolition waste (eg., wood, metals, concrete, etc.)
For further descriptions of ways to reduce construction and demolition waste, read the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's brochure "Building Savings - Strategies for Waste Reduction of Construction and Demolition Debris from Buildings", (pdf). It includes information on the measures taken during the demolition and construction activities related to the development of Courthouse Square here in Salem.
Double-side copies - Establish a policy to encourage double-sided. Post a sign by the photocopier to remind staff. Some copiers can be programmed to default to double-siding.
Specify double-sided copying for all jobs sent print shops.
Re-use single-sided paper for drafts, scratch paper or packaging materials.
When preparing reports, think about how they will be recycled later and design for recyclability. Phase out the use of colored divider sheets, and non-recyclable covers and binding material. If possible, staple reports together or use a three hole punch and encourage the use of reusable three ring binders.
Use only the amount of paper you need. Post a sign at the photocopier (e.g., Think Before You Copy or Do You Need This Copy?).
Recharge ink cartridges.
Create a central filing system instead of maintaining duplicate personal files.
Review forms for length, number of copies, and necessity. Can it be re-designed or combined?
Store documents on disk or microfiche.
Keep customer mailing lists current.
Use Send and Return envelopes for your billings.
Regularly review subscriptions and circulation lists and ensure that they are accurate and still appropriate.
Re-use manila envelopes and shipping boxes.
Reduce the amount of junk mail you receive by writing to:
Direct Marketing AssociationMail Preference ServiceP. O. Box 643Carmel, NY 10512Phone: (212) 790-1400
and asking that your name(s) be eliminated from mailing lists. Be sure to include the following information: Your full name and any variations that may be used by direct marketers; the date; your mailing address; your signature; the following statement: "Please remove my name and address from your mailing list." or for their web site: http://www.dmaconsumers.org/cgi/offmailinglist#moreinformation
Use voice mail, e-mail, route one copy, or post the memo on a central board.
Store documents on disk or microfiche to minimize the number of hard copies made. If your company has a network, use a common directory to transfer documents.
Proof documents on the computer screen before printing.
Some printers feed an extra sheet of paper with every document. Check with the manufacturer about reprogramming the printer.
Recharge printer cartridges.
Design FAX cover sheets to be as small as possible, but still have adequate space for messages so that you do not have to attach a separate letter or note.
Use a stamp to convey transmittal information when a message is not necessary.
Recharge fax cartridges.
Buy FAX machines that use bond paper.
Traditionally, office equipment purchase decisions have been based primarily on considerations of capital cost and performance. Environmental benefits or costs have not been explicitly considered. Look at all the costs and benefits of proposed alternatives, not just the capital cost. Buy equipment which is repairable.
Repair rather than replace equipment. For infrequently used equipment, rent rather than buy.
Sharing equipment with the adjacent office is another option.
Use remanufactured or used office equipment.
OVERSTOCKED, EXCHANGEABLE ITEMS
Donate surplus produce and past-pull-date perishables to food banks.
Advertise surplus and reusable waste items through a commercial waste exchange, such as IMEX (Industrial Materials Exchange). For additional resources contact Alan Pennington, Marion County Department of Public Works - Environmental Services at 365-3188.
Reuse materials within the business. Have a clean out your desk/supply cabinet day with a give-and-take area set up for extra, unwanted items.
SHIPPING, RECEIVING & ORDERING
Negotiate with suppliers to provide goods in reusable, returnable, or recyclable packaging.
Some local area suppliers and distributors are back-hauling boxes, containers and pallets for re-use. Request returnable containers for deliveries.
Order materials in bulk. This helps to avoid over-packaging, such as note pads in cellophane wrapped packages, boxes inside boxes, foam packaging peanuts, etc.
Order materials as precisely as possible. Regular, automatic ordering often results in unnecessary waste.
If you find yourself with foam packaging peanuts that you cannot reuse, take them to a mailing service for reuse. For a mailing service near you, contact Marion County at 588-5169.
Check the package size and amount of packing materials which your product is shipped in.
Can the box be re-sized and packing be reduced without sacrificing the integrity of the product?
Choose a landscape design that needs low maintenance and little water.
Grasscycling - use a mulching mower which leaves grass clippings to naturally decompose.
Grass clippings no longer need to be bagged and hauled away.
Compost grass clippings and leaves into a valuable soil amendment, or make sure your landscape contractor composts.
Use a worm bin to convert non-fatty lunch room food wastes into high quality potting soil (vermicompost).
Do not buy foil laminated, waxed or plastic-coated paper products. They are not recyclable.
Eliminate use of plastic trash liners in cans where no wet trash is disposed.
Encourage employees to use permanent coffee mugs instead of disposable cups.
Invest in a set of mugs and glasses for visitors.
Instead of paper, use cloth towels, tablecloths, and napkins.
Have an office copy of daily newspaper supplied for all employees to share in common areas. Purchase only one subscription to a magazine and circulate it among employees. Give old magazines to hospitals, clinics, or nursing homes.
Give old trade magazines and journals to libraries.
For more information, visit the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's Commercial Waste Reduction Clearinghouse.