10 Ways to Reduce Waste in Office and Promote Sustainable Coworking

Chahna Baksani
Chahna Baksani
Chahna Baksani is the Social Media Manager as well as a Content Writer at The Address. If you ever happen to visit The Address' Ahmedabad offices, do not miss to stop by and say Hi to her.

Looking for ways to positively impact the environment right from your coworking space? How about making a headstart in initiatives that will help you reduce waste? 

Discover the steps to reduce office waste and transform your coworking space into a sustainable office space.

Our waste production is reaching alarming levels. A significant portion of which is hazardous to the planet. 

Shockingly, global waste production is projected to continue increasing until at least 2100, resulting in a staggering 11 million tons of trash generated daily. That’s equivalent to over a kilo of waste for each person on Earth every single day of the year. 

No wonder, radical changes are urgently needed to tackle this growing problem before it can spiral out of control. While many of us have already embraced eco-friendly habits at home, extending these practices to the workplace is equally important.

As sustainability and resource efficiency take center stage in office environments, we must carefully evaluate the generation of office waste and strive towards making the concept of zero waste a norm. Reducing office waste not only benefits the environment but also offers numerous advantages for your company and society as a whole.

Let’s explore the benefits of adopting a waste-efficient mindset. Moving ahead, we’ll also give you 10 ways to reduce waste at your coworking space.

Reasons to Reduce Waste In Coworking Spaces

Protect the Environment

Waste reduction and recycling has significant potential for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. It also conserves precious natural resources. By adopting eco-friendly practices to reduce office waste, you contribute to a cleaner and safer environment for yourself and future generations. 

Enhance Sustainability in the Workplace 

Boosting sustainability is paramount for sustainable coworking, and one of the critical aspects of this is efficiently managing waste, water, and energy. 

By doing so, you become part of the solution and make your coworking space a positive force in the eyes of the community. You also demonstrate corporate social responsibility, attract environmentally conscious individuals and businesses, boost member retention, and foster a sense of community among coworkers.

Reduce Expenditure and Save Money

Practicing resourcefulness with paper, energy, and water to reduce waste can lead to substantial financial savings. By being more mindful of office resources, you reduce operating costs and free up funds to focus on business growth.

Save Space

Offices heavily relying on paper consumption typically require significant room for filing cabinets, printers, and other traditional office equipment. The initiative to reduce office waste brings about an often overlooked yet highly beneficial outcome: it helps in better space management

Yet, you don’t need a dedicated team to implement eco-friendly practices and reduce waste in your coworking space. There are simple and cost-effective measures that you can quickly adopt. Read on to find out how. 

Curious about how we do our bit as a Premium coworking space provider? Get a sight of our sustainability practices right here.

10 Practical Ways to Reduce Office Waste and Boost Sustainability in the Workplace

Office waste comes in different forms. To reduce waste effectively, it’s crucial to address them all. The main culprits are –

  • Paper
  • Food
  • Plastic
  • E-waste

Let’s explore the solutions to tackle each of them. 

1. Go Paperless

Using less paper in the first place has a greater impact than relying solely on recycling efforts. For businesses where paper is not absolutely irreplaceable to their operations, it can be swiftly replaced with digital alternatives. 

And in this digital age, there’s no reason to create additional paper waste when you have electronic devices and tools within arm’s reach. Encourage your team to:

  • Opt for digital communication channels like emails and messaging platforms, reducing the need for printing. For instance, use Google Docs and Dropbox for free and convenient alternatives to write, edit, collaborate, sync, and share files online.
  • Utilize online collaboration and project management tools to streamline workflows and minimize paper-based processes.
  • Embrace digital signatures and online documentation, eliminating the need for excessive printing and storage of paperwork.

2. Cut Down on Paper Usage

While going entirely paperless may only be feasible for some coworking spaces, several strategies can help reduce waste. Implementing some simple practices can enable you to reduce office waste generated by the mindless use of paper while still maintaining necessary documentation and communication. 

  • Encourage double-sided printing to maximize paper utilization.
  • Even better, make it easy for everyone to reduce office waste paper bins by default setting your printers to print on both sides of the paper automatically.
  • Print only when necessary and encourage digital reading and note-taking.
  • Utilize print preview options to minimize printing errors and waste.
  • Don’t throw away failed prints. Give them a second life as scrap paper.
  • Place a dedicated bin next to the printer to dispose of failed print jobs and single-sided paper. 
  • Encourage members to repurpose these sheets as scrap paper for notes or brainstorming. Or cut the scraps into smaller rectangles to make handy scratch pads. 

3. Reduce Plastic Waste

We produce over 350 million metric tons of plastic waste annually. Without policy changes, this amount is projected to triple to one billion metric tons by 2060. However, improved recycling could reduce it to less than 700 million metric tons. 

Coworking spaces can do their bit in this ambitious goal to reduce plastic usage as follow:

  • Get rid of single-use plastic items such as water bottles, cutlery, and packaging.
  • To reduce paper cups, provide reusable water bottles and mugs for coworkers, reducing reliance on disposable options.
  • Offer alternatives to plastic utensils and plates, such as reusable or biodegradable foodware.
  • Aim to manage and recycle plastic waste more effectively instead of chucking it in general office waste. Keep designated areas for plastic disposal.
  • Ban bottled water and install water stations throughout your coworking space. 

4. Reduce Food Waste

Another effective way to reduce waste in coworking spaces is to have a thoughtful approach to food and beverage management. 

  • Encourage mindful consumption by promoting portion control and urging coworkers to take only what they can finish.
  • Analyze the food consumption patterns to identify food items that are consistently underutilized and remove them from the menu. 
  • Consider partnering with local food banks to redirect the surplus food rather than discarding it. 
  • Educate coworkers about the environmental and social impact of food waste to foster a sense of responsibility. 
  • Recycle food scraps and reduce waste in your coworking space with a composting station. Donate the nutrient-rich compost to local farms, diverting food waste from landfills and promoting a circular economy.

5. Think About Your Electronic Waste

E-waste is an escalating global crisis, with a massive 50 million tons generated annually. It means discarding 1000 laptops every second. Clearly, responsible e-waste management is crucial to raise sustainability in the workplace.

  • Encourage coworkers to extend the lifespan of their electronics by practicing proper maintenance and repair. 
  • Regularly update software, implement virus protection measures, and promptly address minor issues. 
  • Partner with certified recycling facilities that complies with all e-waste legislation at the state and local level.
  • Before sending faulty items for recycling, send them to an IT refurbisher. To maximize their potential rather than prematurely disposed of.  
  • Create a designated storage room for employees to deposit old office supplies for items to be repurposed. 

6. Implement Energy Efficiency Measures

Energy consumption contributes to both environmental impact and operating costs. Implementing energy efficiency measures can address both concerns. These measures reduce energy waste and lower electricity bills, benefiting both the environment and coworking space operations.

  • Utilize energy-efficient lighting solutions, such as LED bulbs, which consume less electricity and have a longer lifespan.
  • Install motion sensors in shared areas to ensure lights are only active when needed.
  • Promote power management practices, such as turning off electronics when not in use and utilizing energy-saving settings on computers.

7. Set up Waste Sorting and Recycling systems

Proper waste sorting and recycling systems are essential to minimize landfill waste and maximize resource recovery. Consider the following steps for more competent office waste management :

  • Set up designated waste stations with labeled bins for paper, plastics, and other recyclable materials.
  • Educate coworkers about the importance of waste sorting and provide training on proper disposal methods.
  • Regularly share recycling updates and tips to reinforce the recycling culture in the coworking space.
  • Promote effective office waste management by placing trash and recycling bins in one convenient location. That way, you make recycling as effortless as throwing something away and reduce office waste.
  • Minimizes any confusion with clear and visible signages. Also, maintain color consistency. For instance, blue for recycling, green for composting, and black for trash.

Image Source: Officeproblemssolved

8. Encourage Sustainable Commuting

Sustainable commuting greatly contributes to reducing traffic congestion, air pollution, and carbon emissions. Coworking space should promote sustainable commuting options among coworkers and help reduce the environmental impact of daily transportation. Consider these initiatives:

  • Promote alternative transportation methods, such as carpooling and ridesharing programs, to reduce single-occupancy vehicle use.
  • Install bike racks and provide incentives for cycling, encouraging coworkers to choose eco-friendly transportation.
  • Support the use of public transit by providing information on routes, schedules, and any available corporate discounts.

9. Engage Employees in Sustainability Initiatives

Engaging employees in sustainability initiatives fosters a sense of ownership and a culture of sustainability. Some ways to involve coworkers:

  • Launch your recycling program with a kick-off event and a formal announcement. Rope in senior leaders to communicate the program’s goals, significance, and implementation strategy. 
  • Organize fun challenges such as litterless lunches to motivate coworkers to adopt sustainable practices.
  • Recognize and reward them for their sustainable efforts and share success stories to inspire others.

10. Partner with Sustainable Suppliers and Vendors 

Sustainable suppliers and vendors help maintain a sustainable ecosystem within the coworking space. Coworking spaces can align their values with their procurement practices by partnering with them. Consider the following steps:

  • Select environmentally conscious partners that prioritize sustainable practices and offer eco-friendly products or services.
  • Request sustainable packaging and delivery methods to reduce waste and its detrimental impact on the environment. 
  • Support local and fair trade businesses, contributing to the local economy and promoting ethical practices.

Reducing waste and promoting sustainability in the workplace is not just an ethical responsibility. It’s also a practical approach to business operations. 

But what does that mean exactly? Sustainability in the workplace promotes ecological balance by minimizing the depletion of natural resources. It’s not just about the building’s design; it’s about what goes on inside those walls that genuinely matters. 

While practices mentioned above are a fantastic way to get started, you don’t have to implement all these changes at once. Start small, gradually incorporate more, and keep the ball rolling. 

While you are at it, The Address provides the ideal coworking space to support your green initiatives.

At The Address, a diverse community of startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers, small businesses, and large corporations come together to work in a collaborative space. By sharing costs and opting for a flexible office environment, they save money and reduce their environmental impact. 

These adaptable and sustainable offices are shaping the greener future of work. You can discover our offerings at locations across Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, and Indore. Join us today and experience the benefits of a truly sustainable office. Schedule a tour now and experience firsthand!