Waste management is an essential system for the environment and human health. Simply put, waste management involves all activities, such as collecting, transporting, and disposing of waste materials. Waste includes all solid wastes that are considered to be recyclable materials.
The world produces 2.01 billion tons of solid waste in a year. As such, waste problem is a pressing global issue. Unfortunately, as the world’s population increases, so do our waste products.
The goal of waste management is to reduce and eliminate the effect of waste accumulation on the environment and human health. It also aims to elevate the quality of life and aid in economic development.
Waste management must be practiced not only in our homes but in our workplaces as well. Offices generate a lot of waste materials on a day to day basis. In fact, for an office to operate, it inevitably produces waste in the form of paper, plastic, and other materials.
Different Types of Office Waste
Before knowing the various waste management methods, it is vital to know the kinds of waste that you generate in your office.
· Paper Products
Paper products are an essential office staple. That is, each company generates reams of paper used in printing memos, notes, letters, inventories, and others.
We cannot deny that the use of plastic bottles, food containers, or plastic bags make our lives more convenient. However, it is also alarming that every hour, Americans throw 2.5 million plastic bottles. It adds up to the waste material that pollutes our land and oceans.
Aluminum cans are also common waste materials in offices. Containing mostly food or soft drinks, aluminum cans add up to unnecessary waste.
· Food Waste
On a normal day, a person usually throws some amount of food, whether it is leftover scraps or uneaten food. You might think that this does not contribute significantly to waste. Unfortunately, 40% percent of uneaten food ends up in U.S landfills.
· Office Equipment
Offices usually upgrade and use equipment such as desktop computers, printers, fax machines, toner cartridges, electronic gadgets, and even furniture regularly. In the process, old equipment pile up and add to waste materials.
· Other Wastes
These other wastes include Styrofoam, disposable utensils, rubber, and glass.
Waste Management Tips for Office Employees and Managers
Did you know that managing your office waste can have a positive impact on our already deteriorating environment? Here are effective ways to reduce your office waste.
1. When possible, buy second hand.
Instead of buying brand new all the time, consider buying second-hand furniture, kitchen and pantry appliances, and equipment like fax machines and copier machines. Recycle your outdated machines instead of throwing them away.
2. Buy high-quality computers.
In buying high-quality computers, you can be sure that you will use them for a longer time, and they will not get obsolete quickly. You can also consider using more energy-efficient laptops.
3. Reduce paper waste.
To automatically reduce your use of paper, set your printer to print on both sides. Similarly, when making copies, set your copier machine to copy on both sides.
In choosing the kind of paper to use, you can think of buying “greener” paper options such as those made in organic materials. Menawhile, for your old documents, shred and reuse them as alternative packing material.
When buying equipment or receiving delivery, always reuse boxes. Boxes are great for storage.
Instead of always printing letters and memos, consider sending them through email. Also, you can upload important manuals and office documents online, so you don’t need to print them for each employer.
4. Make a compost for food scraps.
Select an area where you can have a compost bin for your office. Compost is a natural recycling system composed of organic, decomposing material. If your company has an outdoor space, you can have a compost pile. However, if you only have an indoor space, you can use a vermicomposter or worm bin, or a tumbler. Choose the most convenient composting system for your office, and encourage your employees to participate in your composting project.
5. Encourage your employees to use reusable items.
Inform your employees about the benefits of reusable items and the impact it can have on your collective waste management effort.
6. Have a recycling bin.
If it is inevitable to use disposable materials such as plastics, at least have an office recycling bin where you can keep your recyclable wastes. Have a concrete plan on how you can recycle these materials.
7. Provide filtered or purified water.
It can lessen the consumption of bottled water. Encourage employees to have their own reusable cup or mug.
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