Waste Reduction at Work

Waste Reduction at Work

You can find a copy of the Waste Reduction Resource Kit here.

Starting your waste reduction program
To start your waste reduction program you must ask yourself this question:“What waste does my business generate?” (Office paper, food scraps, construction and demolition, hazardous waste, etc.)

The next step in your waste reduction program is to determine the best ways for your business to reduce, reuse and recycle.


  • Buy bulk items instead of individually wrapped items.
  • Use reusable boxes and mailbags for shipping to branch offices, stores, and warehouses.
  • Reuse packing material such as bubble wrap and cardboard boxes.
  • Return, reuse and repair wooden pallets and spools.


  • Print double – sided whenever possible
  • Email documents, avoid printing.
  • Make scratch pads from used paper.
  • Use smaller font and narrow margins.
  • Print drafts on paper already printed on one side.
  • Donate old magazines or journals to hospitals, clinics, or libraries.
  • Keep mailing list current/ one copy per address.


  • Rent instead of buying equipment that is used only occasionally.
  • Use refurbished office equipment.
  • Invest in equipment that facilitates waste prevention, such as: high quality, durable, repairable equipment; copiers and printers that make two-sided copies; modem cards.
  • Institute maintenance practices that prolong the life of copiers, computers, and other equipment.
  • Sell or give old furniture and equipment to employees, local schools or donate it to a local charity.
  • Rotate tires on a regular basis to prolong life. Keep tires properly inflated.
  • Install reusable heating, ventilation and air conditioning filters.
  • Replace incandescent with fluorescent lights or LED lights.


  • Use mulching mowers or retrofit your mower to leave grass clippings on the lawn, known as grasscycling.
  • Compost grass clippings and leaves.
  • Use compost as a topsoil amendment or request that your landscaper use it.
  • Choose a landscape design that needs low maintenance and generates little waste (e.g. perennials, slow growing shrubs)
  • Buy a chipper and turn tree and shrub clippings into mulch.
  • Use mulch made of recycled tires (TRACC).

Food and Personal Services:

  • Use durable towels, tablecloths, napkins, dishes, flatware, cups and Glasses.
  • Buy company mugs; stop providing disposable cups.
  • Encourage customers to take home extra food.
  • Provide condiments in bulk dispensers.
  • Set up water cooler for employees. Make sure they use a reusable mug or cup.
  • Purchase a worm bin for your office to convert food wastes (banana peels, coffee grounds) into high quality potting soil (vermicompost).
  • Buy reusable coffee filters or unbleached disposable filters.
  • Reuse trash can liners or eliminate where possible.
  • Consider using cloth roll towels, hot air dryers, large paper rolls in restrooms, or buy lighter/smaller-sized paper towels.

When you have Reduced and Reused as much as possible, the next important step is to Recycle.

  • Have indoor and outdoor recycling bins.
  • Have signage, including posters or stickers to remind what goes into the bin and what does not.