Ignorance is not always bliss because while you may have no idea how much your business is literally wasting away, you can be guaranteed that somewhere along the line there will be paper wasting away in your pocket – but it’s the type that will eventually make more of a noticeable and instant impact.
So what is waste all about and why should you care? Well, as a business you are committed to abide by the ‘Duty of Care’, which is basically a law that applies to all controlled waste; which is any household, commercial or industrial waste. It is your duty to ensure the safe disposal of this waste and once you start training yourself to think in an environmentally friendly way, then your first thought should be ‘how can I reduce the waste in the first place?’
In the modern age of electronic paperwork such as PDF proofs and email correspondence, it seems ludicrous that as a nation we are actually using more paper. Short emails are often printed off onto a whole sheet of A4 paper and we rarely stop to think about how this could be affecting the world on a larger scale. So what can little old you do I hear you cry. Well, the key issues to always keep in your mind are that you want to be reusing as much paper as possible, therefore maximising lifespan and cutting back wherever possible in areas such as packaging. Spell check before you print and test print one page before batch printing, use as much of the paper as possible; this means double-sided, reducing … even silly pointers like extending margins to fit more on to one page or reducing font size, all help.
When it comes to buying stationery and equipment for your office always ensure that you use environmentally friendly companies and those who will supply recycled paper. You can even find companies that will turn your waste paper, used on one side, into nifty little notepads – or why not make some yourself … using paperclips and not staples, of course!
Other paper products that make a big dent in the amount of waste you produce are of the cup variety. How many paper cups do you use each day when you head up to the water or vending machine? and let me ask you … where do the used cups end up – in a recycling bin, or just in the bin under your desk? I will hazard a guess that it’s the latter so immediately you can make a significant difference by simply using a ceramic mug or a glass. You will find most machines will accommodate one of some sort and it doesn’t take much to locate the right size – maybe just a lunchtime perusing the shelves of your local supermarket.
In the office environment the first step to becoming environmentally friendly, and pocket friendly, is education. Lead by example and if you educate your staff towards an environmental way of thinking, then the battle is almost won; you simply have to implement the processes and I guarantee you, in no time at all looking after the environment will become second nature … and nature will surely be thankful.