If you look around a typical working office, you’ll notice a mass of stationery, paperwork and technology. What you most likely won’t consider is how these supplies are made from a huge amount of unsustainable materials, which isn’t doing the environment any favours.

With the importance of ‘saving the planet’ being constantly advertised by researchers and activist groups, it’s still easy to forget how much damage is caused by the mass of plastic and paper used and discarded in an office – here’s some options to consider to reduce office waste.

Writing Tools

It’s easy to overlook the huge amount of pens that pass through an office in a week, but plastic-coated ball-point pens run out, and get thrown away. Those job-lot orders sent to your office building only last so long, only to be replaced with another box full. Opting for refillable pens is a great way to cut plastic waste; simply refueling the ink in the same plastic outing seems like something small, but if everyone in an office switched to refillables, the change in waste would be a significant one.

Refillable ball-point, whiteboard pens and highlighters – and the ink refills - are available to buy in bulk.

Save the Trees

Going paperless is the ideal solution to cutting down on paper usage and waste, and many offices operate everything digitally to ‘do their bit’, as well as reducing clutter. Only having crucial paperwork, like for note-making for example, is a way to condense and prioritise; storing past documents and files on digital storage like the Cloud will keep record of anything you may need to refer back to in the future, without the need for endless rows of filing cabinets.

The paper that has to be present in the office, e.g. copies of documents to be signed, annotated or simply for the ease of having a physical copy, switch to eco-friendly recycled types. What springs to mind is thin, grainy and scratchy paper of a dull colour when it comes to 100% recycled paper, but good quality, nice-to-write-on and even colourful eco-friendly paper is available to buy to supply the office with. 

As a side-note, while toilet/kitchen roll isn’t an ‘office supply’, they’ll be found in employee bathrooms and break areas and so choosing to opt for recycled variations will also be beneficial.

Get recycling

This one’s a given, but having a recycling station with dedicated bins for food, paper, plastics etc. will reduce the office’s carbon footprint a significant amount.

Recycle ink-cartridges from printers/copiers too – go for all-in-one devices to reduce electricity-use too. Of course, you want to print as little as possible (on your 100% recycled paper) but disposing of cartridges correctly is another easy way to recycle. 

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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