Office Spring Cleaning – 9 Things You Should Recycle Or Reuse. Maintaining a clean workspace is crucial for a healthy mind and body. As you tidy up your office, remember that only some pieces of clutter or junk need to end up in the wastebasket. Consider these steps, and you’ll feel good knowing you’ve cleaned your workspace without adding to the landfill.
Depending on your office type, all kinds of paper waste can build up: misprinted documents, memos, briefs, and entire pitch decks. The list is endless. But one thing, we don’t have an infinite supply of our trees, so doing your part in reducing waste is essential.
The first step is to, of course, recycle paper whenever possible. But did you know that the EPA estimates that only 68% of recycled paper waste is recycled yearly? If you can reuse paper in your office environment before sending it to be recycled, you’d be increasing its life cycle significantly.
The next time you see a stack of paper in the recycling bin, consider reusing it as scrap and be sure that once it’s reached the end of its usefulness, it does end up in recycling.
Has your office had a recent upgrade? New desks and chairs are great, and you might be excited never to see the old stuff again, but before tossing it, consider donating it to a charitable organization.
Several fantastic not-for-profit groups in Singapore would be happy to take your used furniture and pass it along to those in need, including HOME (the Humanitarian Organization of Migrant Economics), which helps provide migrant families with shelter and furnishings.
Is the old printer always on the fritz, and the boss has finally decided to replace it? Perhaps you’d like to toss the old one from a fifth-story window and watch it shatter on the pavement. That sounds cathartic, but consider donating your old electronics to charity before you do.
We live in a high-waste culture, especially concerning the turnover rate of our electronics. That computer, printer, or phone may seem old to you, but odds are there’s someone in need of just such an item. If you decide something isn’t worth refurbishing or donating, recycle it properly. Check online with Singapore’s National Environment Agency for an eWaste location nearest you.
This may seem obvious, but ensure to complete this crucial step: Wash your containers before recycling them! Much of what we put into recycling ends up in landfill because it’s contaminated by food or other waste products. Could you give everything a good rinse before chucking it in the blue bin to make sure it makes its way back into circulation to be used again?
Who will want a used stapler or hole puncher? Well, you may be surprised. Many charitable and non-profit organizations run on donations and charity and can’t afford to buy new office supplies. Look for ways to donate old supplies to NPOs directly or bring your used supplies to second-hand stores where they can have a second life.
Some studies show that the average worker may use up to 150 water bottles annually. In many places, water bottles are recyclable, but we know from research that less than 10% of plastic waste globally is recycled. Step up in your office this year and encourage others to do the same by bringing a reusable water bottle to work. And if you don’t like the taste of tap water, talk to your employer and see if you can spearhead an office water cooler program.
Many offices have switched from the old drip coffee pot to the faster single-cup coffee maker. Many of these models use proprietary pods that only work in their machines and end up creating an excessive amount of waste.
But for most devices, reusable pods can be found in stores or online. Switch to the reusable pods that get cleaned out and refilled after each use. One study put the amount of global waste from coffee pods at 576,000 metric tons. So do your part and switch to reusable.
Food waste accounts for a significant portion of all office waste. You may think this is unavoidable; you can’t recycle chicken bones!
But talk to your coworkers and see if you can organize with other offices in your area to get a compost program going. Go online, as there are several compost groups and organizations throughout Singapore that would be glad to provide you with more information and help you in your green initiative.
All modern offices run on electronics, and many of our everyday products are battery-operated: your wireless mouse, smoke detector, old laptop, or cellphone. You make think that tossing a little thing like a battery in the trash is no big deal, but a little bit adds up, and discarding these hazardous materials can be dangerously corrosive.
In Singapore, batteries can be disposed of anywhere eWaste is accepted. In many cases, the battery is broken down, its harmful chemicals drained off, the lead and plastic separated, and these materials can be melted down and used to make new batteries.
As you take stock and look around your office, consider other ways to reduce waste. And where waste is unavoidable, consider ways to make the least negative environmental impact.
Most of us are indeed swamped by deadlines, projects, meetings, and emails at work, but taking just a little time to consider your role in your office environment and the environment at large can have a huge net positive impact on you, your coworkers, and the world around you.