It’s officially the New Year and that means a clean slate for 2018. Clean is the theme as efforts to lower our environmental impact are top of mind all over the planet. Everywhere people are posting and sharing their ambitious green resolutions for the year, but have you ever stopped to think about resolutions you can make as a community? Instead of setting resolutions for yourself in 2018, try setting them as a team for your office or business and work together to meet your recycling program goals. Not only can you reduce your carbon footprint, but by becoming more sustainable, you can save yourself and your business money.
Here are 11 sustainable resolutions you can use for your office:
1. Always Bring A Reusable Mug For Coffee And/Or Water
Ok, we know we can’t mess with our morning coffee at the office, but you can change the way you and your employees consume it. The average North American Office worker uses 500 disposable cups a year, and as a group they throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. Reduce your waste and prevent coffee cups and plastic bottles from filling up your waste and recycling streams by providing employees with their own reusable mug and water bottle. (You can even brand it like CleanRiver did for its staff).
2. Research A Local/Regional Recycling Grant Your Business Could Be Eligible For
When it comes to initial funding to start a recycling program, many businesses do not have the budget available. That’s why it’s important to look into start up grants that are available through your state or province. Whether it’s a government green grant for recycling businesses or other types of programs that are more generic, there is lots of money out there for the taking, you just have to do a little bit of research of which funding programs you may be eligible for. For simple steps to help you get started check out CleanRiver’s Ebook Recycling Grants: What Are They And How To Get Them and check out the website for a detailed list of many of the recycling grants available in North America.
3. Host An In-Office Clothing Swap As A Social Committee Event
For your next social committee event try a clothing swap, inviting all employees to participate. Avoid consumerism and the damage that the fashion industry has on the environment by participating in the swap for “new” clothing items. Bring any unwanted clothes, shoes, or accessories to the event and all items are fair game to trade, barter, and donate to fellow employees and breathe new life into your closet.
4. Start A Green Team To Help Run Your Recycling Program
Implementing a recycling program can be a daunting task for just one person. Recruit team members from different departments so you get everyone’s perspective on what a successful office recycling program looks like to them. Check out Use Lean To Get Green for the Lean Six Sigma to improve your organizations performance by systematically removing waste.
5. Conduct A First-Of-The-Year Waste Audit
Waste audits can be an eye-opening experience as they often identify wasteful practices that translate into soft dollar losses from a financial perspective. They can also highlight areas of hazard that Health & Safety need to beware. Get a clear understanding of your organization’s waste habits, streams, and areas of improvement to help set clear goals for the rest of the year. Use the Ebook: A How To Guide For Waste Audit Success to help you get started.
6. Launch Meatless Mondays At Your Office
A vegetarian or vegan diet does wonders for your health, waistline, and your wallet. But most importantly, minimizing your meat intake helps reduce greenhouse gases, water usage, and energy required for livestock and the fuel dependence needed to produce grain for livestock. Start simply by launching a Meatless Monday at your office. Send out recipes and promote the movement internally. Even try a potluck to get it started and encourage everyone to bring meatless meals, and if you have a cafeteria work with the kitchen to ensure a meatless menu.
7. Ban Single-Use Plastics
Single-use plastics are so 2016! It’s time to let go of bad habits and Choose to Refuse Single-Use Plastics. Start small at first within your office and try giving up water bottles or plastics bags for the month of January and then build from there. CleanRiver took the #StopSucking Challenge and made a commitment to stop using plastic straws.
8. Compost All Organics
As part of their waste management plans, many cities across Canada and the Unites States are enforcing the collection of organic waste in their recycling program goal to divert more waste from landfill. Organic waste is a valuable resource that can be composted to produce soil fertilizers to enhance soil quality and reduce soil erosion. The collection of organic waste considerably increases an organization’s diversion rate and can help you to reach zero waste. For example, collecting paper towels in your washroom can dramatically increase the amount of waste you divert from landfill.
- Food scraps
- Paper towels and napkins
- Coffee grinds & tea bags
- Cardboard sleeves from hot beverage cups
- Compostable plates and cutlery
9. Bring Zero-Waste Lunches To Work
Ditch the old brown bag lunch for a reusable lunch bag. Cloth grocery bags, mini coolers, and old school lunch boxes are all great options that can be reused for years. No need for plastic zip locks for your sandwich, use reusable plastic or glass containers to heat up your lunch.
10. Go Paper Free
Commit to reducing paper usage in your office internally and externally. Use electronic documents and double-sided printing whenever possible.
11. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
Most office waste generated by staff is recyclable. Simple and affordable recycling like the Mini Bin program are designed to make users think before they toss. By removing the standard size waste container and replacing it with a 1.5L Mini Bin, users develop pride in reducing the amount of landfill waste they generate and improving their recycling program.
This article was originally published on the CleanRiver Recycling Solutions blog.