With each new year comes new resolutions and goals. Zero waste is one of the biggest. People have become more aware of the environmental issues caused by traditional products. But with all this awareness, it can be hard to know where to start, especially if you’re in an office or retail space.
This is why we created this guide to help you get started on your zero waste office journey. We’ve put together 5 top tips and ideas that can help you start your journey today!
Why Going Zero Waste is Important
Zero waste is a big commitment. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that Ireland accumulates over 14 million tonnes of waste each year. Out of that total, over 100,000 tonnes are from food waste and other biodegradable waste.
This is one of the biggest reasons why waste reduction is crucial, whether you’re at home or at work. It’s all about reducing our carbon footprint and protecting the environment for future generations. It’s also important to note that zero waste doesn’t mean you have to stop using or buying everything. It means that you need to be mindful of your purchases and how they impact the environment.
In 2019 alone, Ireland amassed about 3.1 million tonnes of municipal waste, 48% of which were from commercial sources, such as businesses. As one of the leading forces in minimising the use of single-use plastic products, Ireland now has the chance of becoming yet another pioneer in zero waste business models.
If you’re wondering if your workplace should make the switch to zero waste, here are some more reasons why it’s so important:
1. Encourages a Healthy Workplace and Team
The health of your team is a huge factor in the productivity of your business. When employees are feeling well, they’re more likely to work hard and produce results.
You can encourage a healthy work environment by using eco-friendly workplace products.
2. Boosts Brand Image
Your company’s brand image is a huge part of what drives revenue. It’s important to make sure that your customers and clients feel comfortable doing business with you. One fantastic way to do this is by implementing a zero-waste policy within your business. About 60% of customers around the world deem sustainability as an important factor of consideration when making purchases.
Try offering strictly biodegradable and compostable products. You can also promote your products in a way that’s environmentally friendly. For example, many budding zero-waste businesses use 100% recycled paper for packaging.
3. Leads to Cost Efficiency
It’s important to consider the economic benefits of going zero waste, in addition to the environmental ones. Many people have the misconception that it’s not a financially viable option.
In reality, making your office zero waste can open up paths for new income! For example, any organic waste in the workplace can be turned into compost. You can also work with other businesses that may be able to turn your unused office supplies into recyclable materials.
This is in line with the circular economy as it is a system that aims to minimise waste and resource consumption. A circular supply chain maximises the use of resources. This way, materials are being used to their utmost efficiency.
Now that we know the significance of businesses going zero waste, how does one go about making this change? The most important thing to remember is that it can’t be done overnight. It’s a slow process that takes time and requires a series of small changes to be made.
Here are some great tips to get your office started on the zero-waste journey:
Tip #1: Use Zero Waste Office Supplies
Perhaps the easiest way to start this journey is to switch to zero-waste office supplies. Whether you’re at home or at work, you can be environmentally friendly with your office supplies. Instead of your staff going through tons of staplers, why not choose reusable paper clips?
Another great way is to provide reusable water bottles instead of plastic bottles in the office. This can be a great way for your team to keep a track of their hydration levels and can also help cut down on the amount of plastic that’s being produced and disposed of in landfills!
Reusable cups and mugs are an eco-friendly alternative to disposable cups and mugs. If you must use paper-made ones, you can go for those that are biodegradable. And instead of using regular paper napkins, use ones made of recycled paper.
Tip #2: Aim for Zero Food Waste
One of the most important aspects of going zero waste is cutting down on food waste. Controlling the amount of food waste produced isn’t just meant for the F&B sector. Businesses of all sorts should implement food waste prevention tips. Here are some ways of doing so:
Healthy Zero Waste Office Snacks and Catering
Carefully pick the types of food served in your office. Healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables are always a great choice. They’re high in fibre and low in calories, and organic produce filled with nutrients is a great way to keep your team’s energy up!
But one downside to healthy, organic food is that they are highly perishable. For an office wanting to provide healthy catering for their staff, this can be tricky. That’s why choosing the right catering service is crucial. For instance, The Fruit People deliver food on the days chosen by you and always convert all organic waste into biofuels.
Source Food Sustainably and Ethically
Another tip on how to reduce food waste in offices is to know your sources. It’s vital to know where your food comes from and how it was grown. By being mindful, you can make sure that you’re buying from sustainable sources. Ethical suppliers like ourselves always try to source directly from growers .
Tip #3: Follow a Waste Recycling Program
Another way to a zero waste office is to follow a waste recycling program. For starters, you can install compost bins around the office. Your staff can put all their compostable waste in these bins. You should also encourage them to use proper recycling containers. This can then be given to organisations that can easily sort through and repurpose them. Recycling and composting as much as you can is a wonderful way of going carbon neutral.
Tip #4: Minimise Electronic Waste
Many offices today have a tonne of electronic waste, which isn’t good for the environment. It’s not only dangerous to dispose of, but it can also take up a lot of space in landfills. This is why minimising your electronic waste is so important.
There are tons of e-waste management companies that can be the perfect answer for you. They will come to your office and manage all your electronic waste. However, don’t forget to keep an eye on how you use electronics in the office. Try sacrificing some extra funds to install high-quality electronics in your office that won’t break down quickly. In doing so, you’ll save the trouble of having lots of e-waste in your hands later on.
Tip #5: Lessen Paper Waste
One simple way to start making your office zero waste is to minimise the use of paper. Many offices use reams of paper every day. But there are ways to cut down on paper waste in the office.
This can be done by having a ‘paperless’ system at your workplace. You can ask your staff to email documents instead of printing them. And make sure to get rid of unnecessary newsletters in your office. If you must use paper, then try to go for recycled paper.
Going Zero Waste With The Fruit People
Having a sustainable development goal is key to a zero-waste office. What better way to start than to use an ethical and sustainable catering service?
The Fruit People have been carbon neutral since 2019 and we take the utmost care to collect organic waste and convert it into biofuels. With us, you’ll have access to ethically and sustainably sourced produce and supplies.
Let us help you make your workplace zero-waste. Get in touch with our team to discuss how we can help!