How to Reduce Waste
- Make two-sided photocopies to save paper, cut mailing costs, reduce the need for new filing cabinets, and permit smaller mailing envelopes to be used.
- Use paper with post-consumer recycled content; the quality of recycled paper has improved.
- Keep mailing lists current.
- Ask companies to eliminate duplicate or unwanted catalogues.
- Circulate (rather than copy) memos, documents, periodicals, and reports.
- Use the unprinted side of used paper for notes.
- Use central files to reduce the number of hard copies the department retains.
- Proof documents on the computer screen before printing them out.
- Use email instead of sending memos and minimize email printouts.
- Save documents on thumb drives and hard drives instead of paper.
- Post departmental bulletins or use email rather than circulating multiple copies.
- Donate old magazines and journals to hospitals, clinics, or libraries.
- Reduce the amount of advertising received at home by writing to:
Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-900
- Order merchandise in bulk.
- Purchase products with minimal packaging and in concentrated form.
- Reuse foam packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and cardboard boxes or use newspaper and shredded paper for packaging.
- Don't throw away pallets. Arrange for pallets to be returned to the supplier or arrange to recycle them.
- Ask suppliers to use post-consumer recycled and/or recyclable material in packaging to give them an incentive to change.
- Avoid ordering excess supplies that may never be used.
- Order supplies in bulk to reduce excess packaging.
- Substitute less toxic or non-toxic products for inks, paints, cleaning solvents, etc.
- Use products that are durable, high quality, recyclable, or reusable to reduce waste.
- Use rechargeable batteries when practical.
- Install reusable furnace and air conditioner filters.
- Sell or give old furniture and equipment to other businesses, local charitable organizations, or employees.
- Rent equipment that is used only occasionally.
- Return printer cartridges to the supplier for re-manufacture.
- Establish a regular maintenance routine to prolong the life of equipment.
- Choose a landscape design that needs low maintenance.
- Use a mulching lawnmower and leave grass clippings on the lawn.
Commonly purchased disposable items that should be replaced by reusable items to reduce solid waste:
- Eating utensils
- Copier and printer cartridges
- Baby diapers
- Disposable shavers
- Batteries for appliances
- Restroom hand towels
- Filters for forced air furnaces and air conditioners
Compiled from the EPA Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste, Forty Ways to Make Government Purchasing Green and other sources.