You may not be able to afford expensive improvements at home or work to help reduce the amount of waste that goes into the landfill but there are small steps you can take that over time will not only reduce the amount of trash you throw out, but may also save pennies around your home or office.
Here are some suggestions for ways to improve
1) Use reusable containers for water. Around the office you may have a water cooler which is great for generating cold, clean water. Often these are supplied with throwaway cups which are either Styrofoam, plastic or paper.
No one wants to drink after someone else, but you can reduce waste by using reusable cups and labeling them with the users’ names. The average person drinks 6-8 glasses of water a day. That’s a lot of single use cups. By labeling cups and being responsible for cleaning your own, you not only cut down on the amount trash generated but also save on cost of supplies you must reorder.
Or, if you use bottled water, consider rinsing the empty bottles out with hot water to sterilize them and refilling them. Again, if you are in a shared work space, labeling the bottles with the users’ name will help you keep track of your own containers.
2) Recycle water. If your home or work space uses a dehumidifier, reuse the water to water plants or do a preliminary wash out of basins or bins before you do the final wash.
3) Reuse label sheets. Often when running labels around the office you end up with multiple empty labels leftover. Create a file for these, then reuse them to mark file folders, label containers, mark storage cupboards, and even use them for labeling wrapped gifts.
4) Recycle packing materials. Office supplies and door-to-door shipments often come with any of the following: bubble wrap, packing peanuts, crumpled paper, air packers, and cardboard pieces, and plastic bags. If you don’t have for use for these yourself, check with local reuse centers. More and more cities have these now. You might also contact shipping stores like UPS or small companies you may know of that ship.
Artists and handmade artisans use these types of supplies for packing orders for customers. Check with artists you know to see if they can reuse the materials or if you don’t personally know an artist, see if your local artist guild or art organizations can put you in touch with someone.
5) Recycled is good. Upcycled is even better. Rethink the use of items before you decide it no longer has value. Depending on size, containers that items come packed in can be reused for everything to organizing supply closets, to holding pens and pencils.
Old plastic chair protectors that go under office chairs can be reused as weed prevention barriers around bushes, under decks, etc. Empty ink cartridges and cell phones can be turned into recycle programs such as planet green.com for income. Toner cartridges can be used as sapling tree guards. Paper can be cut into smaller squares and used a message paper.
Becoming more environmentally conscious takes practice and though it may take a little more effort on your part, the rewards are great as you influence others to do the same.