20 ways to save energy, reduce waste and make a difference from your work place

For the last 30 days we have been bombarding family, friends and acquaintances on Social media with updates on our Waste Management Challenge.

Drawing towards the end of our campaign I have learned that it is hard to be fully committed to always thinking about recycling and the waste we produce. However, the good news is that we most certainly have put measures in place in our office and at home to ensure that we keep this up.

My most esteemed business partner, best friend and mother has a few prestigious qualifications in Environmental studies. Sharon was a key inspiration behind our waste management campaign.

We first assessed every process that we cover in our office, which was also great for business (that’s another story). But we did this to ascertain whether we really needed to print certain things and what else we could recycle, not use, and change to produce less waste.

Here are our top 20 ways to reduce waste, plus simple changes that you can make too! It won’t cost you anything…. In fact, I made £450 in 30 days just from recycling, or reselling! Bonus.

  1. Do you really need to print that?

Think about whether you absolutely must print as there are many online cloud based programs available to store documents online. Be strict with yourself, ask yourself the question every time before you print.

  1. Use both sides of the paper

If you must print something, then use both sides of the paper. There is no issue here, surely printing on both sides won’t lose you a deal!

  1. Reuse scrap paper

If you are the type of person who needs to write things down and haven’t quite found an app or digital notepad effective, then reuse your scrap paper for note taking and reminders.

  1. Recycle Paper

Most things can are recyclable. AT FJCM we shred our sensitive paperwork and we have it collected once per month for recycling. It may look unsightly if the storage bag is in full view, but at least you have a good cause. Not too far away from our offices there is a dog rescue centre where we can drop off shredded paper for bedding! Also nice!

  1. Reuse boxes

Do you get many parcels? When you do, store the boxes and re-use them for when you send your customers or friends items.

  1. Think about the paper you are buying

Are you using Chlorine-free paper? Does it have a high percentage of recycled content? A little thought on this will go a long way if everyone joins in.

  1. Get rid of Post-it notes

You really don’t need them because you can reuse your scrap paper as suggested above. If it’s an urgent message that you need to send to a colleague – email them!

  1. Store business manuals, policies, and other documents online

Printed manuals and policies always need updating anyway, thus, costing you more money, time and WASTE! It’s better if you and all members of staff access your important company documents and policies from anywhere, online! That’s the beauty of modern times.

  1. Recycled Printer Cartridges

In our office we have a brilliant Brother Printer and when the new cartridges come, we simply put the old ones in the boxes they sent the new ones in, and drop them at the post office for recycling or reuse.

  1. Old Batteries?

Where do you put them? In the bin? Noooo! There are battery retailers (google it), try save them up and recycle them.

  1. Video Conference / Skype

Do you really need to drive to that meeting? I’m the type of person who likes a quick phone call and email updates (don’t judge), time is precious! A meeting for me would have to be imperative, I am generally forced. I know others like to have lots of face to face meetings, (I’m not judging) but if you really don’t have to drive, Skype or video conferencing works perfectly. Actually, I do know a company who do all their potential recruitment first interviews via skype!

  1. Buy used furniture

This one is obvious isn’t it? Re-use, up-cycle. At least you wont have to spend hours putting flat pack furniture together!

  1. Unplug and switch off

If you are not using it, switch it off. Switching off saves money and energy too. When you accumulate all of these things together, it will amass to a great saving each month and year upon year. You will make a difference.

  1. Give your computer a NAP

Creating short energy breaks can cut energy use by up to 70 percent.

  1. Ban Screen savers

Screen savers don’t save energy…. They use it. If you need to put your screen into sleep mode, set it to blank!

  1. Smaller Monitors

Prime suspect with her gigantic computer screen is Ms Sharon Stevens, it towers the desk. However, her reason for such a large screen is because she often has to do split screens to cross-reference works. (mmmmm) But did you know that you can reduce your monitor’s consumption by up to 30% by using a 2 inch smaller screen!

  1. Filtered water – not bottles

NO MORE unnecessary plastic! Buy a filter jug and store it in the fridge….. Install a water filter system, anything, but not bottled water. One of my first jobs was at a water filter company, they do work! AquaCure PLC.

  1. Recycle pens

We found a great company website where they make it super easy to send your old pens to. So you think its only one pen, what if millions of people are throwing pens away every single day? It all adds up. Here’s the site: https://recyclenation.com/2015/10/how-to-recycle-pens/

  1. Move the bins away

A good stretch away from the desk, whilst having to walk to the bin will make you think about what you are throwing away. Label bins effectively for recycling purposes too. (Like we do at home)

  1. Electronics Recycle

Most electronics these days are recyclable! I sent my old mobiles to Envirophone and got some good money for them… bonus. Computers can be recycled for their parts. If your not using them and if you havnt used them for a long time, clear them out.

Removing the junk and things that we just don’t use any more from the office and at home has cleared my mind. Tim Ferris suggests it in his The 4-Hour Work Week book. I didn’t believe him at first when I read it, but it works. Less clutter, easier life.

Some interesting Facts taken from The Recycling Guide.org.uk

“UK households produced 30.5 million tonnes of waste in 2003/04, of which 17% was collected for recycling (source: defra.gov.uk). This figure is still quite low compared to some of our neighbouring EU countries, some recycling over 50% of their waste. There is still a great deal of waste which could be recycled that ends up in landfill sites which is harmful to the environment.

Recycling is an excellent way of saving energy and conserving the environment. Did you know that:

  • A recycled tin can would save enough energy to power a television for 3 hours.
  • 1 recycled glass bottle saves enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.
  • 1 recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours.
  • 70% less energy is required to recycle paper compared with making it from raw materials.

Some Interesting Facts

Up to 60% of the rubbish that ends up in the dustbin could be recycled.

The unreleased energy contained in the average dustbin each year could power a television for 5,000 hours.

The largest lake in the Britain could be filled with rubbish from the UK in 8 months.

On average, 16% of the money you spend on a product pays for the packaging, which ultimately ends up as rubbish.

As much as 50% of waste in the average dustbin could be composted.

Up to 80% of a vehicle can be recycled.

9 out of 10 people would recycle more if it were made easier.”

So, if everyone helped a little and really took the time to think about the amount of waste they produce and took an extra second or two to consider the consequences, we could really make a difference and save money overall.

Don’t be lazy people, do good, feel good!

>>Next up – 6 Time Management Tips for Better Business