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Recycling Office Waste

Recycling Office Waste

The benefits of recycling office waste have been widely touted: it reduces clutter; it saves money; it feels great to be involved; and – most important of all – it helps protect the environment. As a large and thriving office, admittedly, we do create a lot of rubbish. While we try our best to reduce waste entirely (following the rule: think before you print), we’re fastidious about recycling the office waste we do produce.

At Nature’s Best, we make a conscious effort to carefully recycle all office paper, mixed paper (leaflets, newspapers, envelopes, and magazines), cardboard, confidential papers, shredded paper, plastic bottles, printer cartridges, and electrical equipment. We’ve even removed individual desk bins to overcome the temptation and convenience of simply throwing away precious resources. Instead, we have well-placed recycling containers around the office to increase the capture of appropriate materials. All staff members, especially new employees, are informed about our recycling scheme to aid commitment and motivation. 

Of course, at the heart of recycling is the altruistic act of supporting the environment. Let’s not forget, landfill sites are teeming with waste. And they’re only set to increase exponentially. Not only do landfills pollute water and soil, but they also release gasses that harm the environment. Recycling office waste means we can divert rubbish away from these sites. To put this into perspective: recycling one ton of paper can save three cubic yards of landfill space.

Recycling saves valuable raw materials, such as metals, oil, and forests, too. As it stands, our ever-increasing levels of consumption conspire to damage the environment and local communities on a global scale. Extracting raw materials is an insidious business for a number of reasons: it causes worldwide habitat loss – producing paper and cardboard risks ancient woodlands, for instance – and it demands a near herculean amount of energy. Indeed, virgin raw materials require refinement and treating – a process that emits inordinate amounts of polluting chemicals.

Though recycling still utilises energy, it curbs overall greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling wastepaper will save three-times as much energy as it takes to produce it. According to the government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), recycling paper, cardboard, plastics, and aluminium saves the UK between 10-15 million tons of CO2 (1). This figure is promising; it highlights the tangible and measurable importance of recycling. But we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. This number needs to multiply. And it requires grassroots effort from offices, like us.

Finally, recycling introduces the notion of ‘green’ consciousness into the lives of our employees. It nudges them to think squarely about the far-reaching impact of their consumption and the waste they produce. Recycling in the office hopes to encourage staff members to make environmentally-conscious lifestyle decisions at home. Recycling fosters a cyclical way of living as opposed to a linear model. And if we’re ever going to cultivate a sustainable society and mitigate climate change, this transformation is essential.



References:

  1. Waste & Resources Action Programme. “Environmental benefits of recycling: An international review of life cycle comparisons for key materials in the UK recycling Sector”. Available online: www.wrap.org.uk/document.rm?id=2839



Bibliography:

  1. Friendsoftheearth.uk. Recycling. Why it’s important and how to do it. Available online: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/recycling.pdf [Accessed 28 Feb. 2019].

  2. Wrap.org.uk. Recycle at work. Available online: http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/A%20recycling%20guide%20for%20offices.pdf [Accessed 27 Feb. 2019].