Tips for reducing waste in the office

Tips for reducing waste in the office

The Builder has outgrown his current home office and is on the lookout for a new space. I am very excited for him knowing his hard work is paying off. Not only will he be able to unplug properly outside work hours, we also get the lounge room back. With his impending move I began to think about ways to reduce waste when setting up an office.

Here are my sustainable tips for reducing waste in the office:

Second hand furniture

If you are moving into a workspace void of furniture skip the trip to Ikea. Instead fill your new space with second hand furniture. Scope out thrift stores near your office for great bargains and find interesting individual pieces. There is also a variety of sharing websites that have free stuff.

Go digital with Adobe PDF

Instead of printing off documents to mark up changes, scan and send back why not do it all digitally. Most computer programs have the feature to convert documents to PDF. With Adobe Acrobat Pro users can mark-up PDFs with ease by adding comments. This will save reams of paper and space in your office. I am currently doing a course and instead of printing out the course material I have decided to use Adobe Acrobat Pro to mark-up with my notes.

Refillable pens

Offices go through so many pens with the usual reason being that the ink has become dry or simply ran out. The whole pen is thrown away when really it is one item that needs replacing – the cartridge. Did you know that you can refill pens? It is not a new concept. The inexpensive pens we use every day have been around since the late 1940s. Prior to that people wrote with pens that were refilled. These still exist and are worth the investment. Goodkind pens offer refillable options that come in brass and not  non recyclable plastic! Companies like Auspen offer a variety of refillable solutions for your office needs too. Don’t forget non-toxic pencils are a great option too.

Tips for reducing waste in the office

Ink cartridge refill

Pens are not the only item in the office that can be refilled. Printer ink cartridges can be refilled easily. Drop them off at a Cartridge World or similar, and pick up recently refilled ones. You will save on packaging and money.

Use a sustainable font

Changing your go to font can save ink which means less time and money spent refilling your ink cartridge. Ryman Eco sustainable font has been designed in a way that when printed would save 33% more ink than the office go to font Times New Roman. The beautifully designed font is eligible to read at any size plus the font is free to download.

Sort your bins

An office can generate streams of different waste that when inspected closely can be recycled or even composted. Instead of having a single bin and/or recycling bin under each desk put a bin for landfill, different types of recyclables and compost in one area of the office. Sharing bins in an office helps accountability with what is being thrown where, rather than sneaking waste into bins under desks. Plus it gives the worker an excuse to get up and stretch those legs and arms.

Swap your post-it notes for scraps of paper

While post-it notes come in a variety of colours to suite your space and mood remember there are other waste saving alternatives. Envelopes, the bottom of a letter, or an old print off can be used to write to do lists or jot down that phone number. Cut them to size and put them into a spot on your desk for easy reach.

Buy kind paper, use both sides and print black and white

You are not truly recycling unless you buy recycled and this includes paper. 1 tonne of recycled paper could save up to 17 virgin trees. Look on the paper packaging to make sure it is from post-consumer (recycled) paper and if in doubt call their hotline. Don’t forget to look for Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) or Processed Chlorine Free (PCF) too. Ecocern supplies post-consumer and bleach free paper.

Printing on both sides will also reduce waste as will only printing in black and white. Printing colour means more ink cartridges need to be refilled.

Keep your office kitchen package free

Buy food like tea, coffee, and sugar in bulk and store in glass containers for easy access. Also choose metal cutlery and ceramic dishes from thrift stores. Think about cleaning products like dish washing liquid that can be bought in bulk too.

If you have any tips for reducing waste in an office, add them in the comments below. If you found these tips helpful please share.


  1. Katie Redfern7/24/2014

    My parents print both sides, black and white and then shred and compost the paper.

    1. Perfect for composting. Wouldn't it be great it that is what everyone did?

  2. Great! I am going to make some changes in my office! Thank you for sharing such an interesting tips! It is really important to reuse and recycle! Best regards!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Opal. Hope it all goes well.

  3. Hey Erin,

    I downloaded RymanEco, but I can't seem to print with it. Have you had similar issues?

    p.s. love your blog!

    1. Hi, I've had no problems with printing with this font. You could contact the company Ryman or Monotype Type Director Dan Rhatigan. They might be of more help. Otherwise I know Century Gothic is a standard font that uses less ink that other fonts.


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