7 Best Ideas to Reduce Office Waste | Reducing Waste Generation

7 Best Ideas to Reduce Office Waste | Reducing Waste Generation

The growing population and the businesses have a positive impact on the economy in terms of GDP and other financial growth. But this development also has a diverse effect on the environment. The generation and improper disposal of wastes from these sectors are massive. Many governments are creating awareness on waste management in their country's work culture. Yet it seems insufficient and the amount of waste we produce at work is extremely high.

According to the World Bank, at this rate of waste generation, global wastes could go up by 70 per cent by 2050. This organization urges immediate actions, otherwise, it could be a severe threat to humanity. “Proper management of wastes can reduce its impact”, say analysts. Hence, we as individuals and teams can start the initiative from our offices to regulate the usage and disposal of wastes. Here are some steps and ideas on how to reduce office waste:

7 Simple Ways to Reduce Office Waste

  1. Create a Paperless Work Environment
  2. Use Reusable Coffee Mugs
  3. Avoid Bottled Water
  4. Limit Paper Usage by Printing Smarter
  5. Encourage Employees to bring Lunch from Home
  6. Reuse Files, Folders, Parcel and Packing Materials
  7. Work Closely with Vendors and Suppliers in Reducing Waste


Create a Paperless Work Environment

Paper Wastes are ranked to be the largest waste that an office or a business generates. It has been identified that 50% of the office wastes turn out to be papers. Reports say that around 85 million tonnes of paper waste are created every year in America alone. The numbers are shocking. What can we do to reduce paper waste?

  • Switch to Computerized Billings and E-Invoices instead of papers.
  • Start maintaining records digitally and practice online transfer of files through cloud or email wherever possible.
  • Any corrections or edits can be done before printing the documents.
  • Encourage using Laptops or Tablets for taking notes in meetings.
  • Use both sides of the paper and any misprinted papers can be used as scratch papers.

Going Paperless

Use Reusable Coffee Mugs

The disposable coffee cups form to be the second-largest waste generator in offices. Statistics show that around 16 billion coffee cups are being dumped around the world every year. Therefore the paper cups can be replaced with reusable mugs and glasses. Every employee can have their own coffee mugs or the office can provide them with reusable ones. Encouraging employees to use such long-lasting items and creating awareness to avoid taking coffee/tea in any disposable cups helps to drastically reduce office waste.

Avoid Bottled Water

Plastic water bottles wastes
Plastic water bottles wastes

Do you know that the number of plastic water bottles sold around the world in a year stands around half a trillion? You heard it right and the numbers are whopping high. Not even 20 per cent of the thrown water bottles are recycled. The rest of them are getting dumped in the ocean or in some landfill sites. What can be done to reduce this?

You can set up filtered drinking water stations throughout the office which reduces the need for your employees to buy bottled water. You can also provide your employees with reusable quality drinking water containers or bottles. This even becomes handy for them during work and can be refilled during their leisure.

Reducing Plastic Waste

Limit Paper Usage by Printing Smarter

We have earlier seen some alternates for the paper on possible occasions. But in certain cases or for certain companies, usage or printing of paper becomes unavoidable. For such cases, you can implement some smarter ways to minimize the wastages.

  • Margin settings can be adjusted as per need. Standard margins might occupy more spaces thus providing less area for the information. You can reduce it to preserve paper.
  • Print on both sides of the paper.
  • Print only if it is needed. You can encourage your employees to use the ‘Print Selection’ function to select only the required pages instead of printing the entire file.

Encourage Employees to bring Lunch from Home

Does bringing lunch from home reduce waste? Yes, it does because employees buying or ordering food daily generate waste in the form of food packages. Such a small creation of waste from each of us daily can pile up several tonnes of garbage every year. A simple initiative of taking lunch from home every day in reusable containers helps us in reducing office waste. Offices too can provide some basic facilities like an induction stove for heating foods and other essential plates and dishes for employees. This can be an encouraging step towards achieving the long-term goal of waste reduction.

How to Create a Zero Waste Business Strategy (4 Steps)
Many businesses are opting for a Zero waste business strategy as it is beneficial for the environment. So, Here’s how you can Create a Zero Waste Business strategy.

Reuse Files, Folders, Parcel and Packing Materials

The use of files and folders can be made in a planned and organized way. Instead of taking a new file or folder every time for storing data, the existing ones can be labelled and renamed while replacing the contents. Some creative ideas can also be followed to make the reuse of files interesting. Limiting the throwing of files after single use reduces office waste to a great extent.

Reuse of parcels and packing materials can be another best way to minimize office waste. After taking the contents out, you can preserve the packing boxes or envelopes for future use to send parcels to your clients. This way the quantity of waste that gets out of the office can be brought down.

Work Closely with Vendors and Suppliers in Reducing Waste

Another way the waste gets generated in the office is through parcels or material sent by suppliers. The number of orders we place and the way of packing can be a major factor for the waste pile up. You can communicate with your suppliers regarding your goals on waste reduction and get the products delivered accordingly. Right from coffee powder or stationery for the office to raw materials for your manufacturing, purchasing in bulk could always reduce waste generation. Ask the suppliers to take back the packaging after delivery or provide recyclable pack-ups. You can also make this work with your clients and encourage them to follow suit.

If you'd like to find out more about commercial waste removal head over to WM Waste Management Services

Successful Cleantech Startups And Their Attainments In India - StartupTalky
India offers a healthy start-up ecosystem for ventures in the clean tech area. Service provider support for startups has seen a steady rise with the ecosystem.


Avoiding waste completely in offices may not be possible as every business is unique and has different requirements. One business may require a lot of printing or packing whereas the other has an option to avoid it. So the goal can always be to minimize waste generation to the maximum possible extent. These were the best 7 ideas on how to reduce office waste which you can implement in your premises and achieve success in waste reduction.


What are the most common waste types in the office?

Common Office Wastes include:

  • Paper Waste
  • Food Waste
  • Food Packaging Waste
  • Parcel packing waste
  • Plastic Bottles

How can we reduce office waste?

Here are some simple ways to follow to reduce office waste:

  • Create a Paperless Work Environment
  • Use Reusable Coffee Mugs
  • Avoid Bottled Water
  • Limit Paper Usage by Printing Smarter
  • Encourage Employees to bring Lunch from Home
  • Reuse Files, Folders, Parcel and Packing Materials
  • Work Closely with Vendors and Suppliers in Reducing Waste

What is the best method of waste management?

Recycling is one of the best method of waste management.

Must have tools for startups - Recommended by StartupTalky

Read more