When people think of office waste, the first thing that comes to mind is paper. Offices are renowned for using reams of paper every day, for invoices, interoffice memos, and more — most of which inevitably ends up in the trash. For companies trying to become more sustainable businesses, this can be a major problem.
Fortunately, by implementing a recycling program, encouraging reuse, and simply relying more on digital files, companies can reduce paper waste considerably. But there’s another kind of office waste that often goes overlooked, which must also be addressed in order to create a truly sustainable work environment: packaging.
Any time an office orders new supplies, the package they came in is thrown away without a second thought. This can include anything from cardboard boxes to plastic wrapping to packing peanuts. This type of waste can equal or even exceed a business’s paper waste production and greatly increase their carbon footprint. But the solution to this problem is simple. Employing reusable packaging can help companies eliminate this type of office waste and grow one step closer to becoming sustainable businesses.
Using Reusable Packaging in the Workplace
There are a number of ways that a company can use reusable packaging to reduce their carbon footprint. For instance, many companies store mountains of cardboard boxes, containing things like old financial records, equipment that’s not currently in use, and more. Over time, these cardboard boxes will tear, break, and ultimately be thrown away. Replacing those boxes when they fail with (recycled) plastic bins and tubs for storage is a great way to implement packaging that can be reused for decades.
Another thing sustainable businesses can do to reduce their carbon footprint is to seek out suppliers who employ reusable packaging. Office Depot is one such company, having introduced an eco-friendly policy last year to help eliminate office waste. Rather than cardboard boxes filled with plastic air pillows, shipments up to 20 pounds are now delivered in recycled paper bags, and shipped in reusable tote bags. Other office supply companies have similar waste-reducing policies. Finding these companies and ordering from them in the future will greatly help a company to reduce their carbon footprint.
Office waste is a major problem that many organizations do not address properly. Being on the lookout for types of waste and implementing eco-friendly policies, such as reusable packaging, to eliminate that waste, are important steps towards achieving sustainability.