Have you ever thought about how much paper we use in day to day life? According to research by ORS, “the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year”.
To put that into context, that’s an average of four boxes of paper per year, each box costing around £10, which means roughly £40 of paper is used every year by people working in offices across the UK.
If you think that statistic is high, consider the fact that on average, 6800 of the original 10,000 sheets used are wasted – and often, aren’t recycled properly.
That’s two-thirds of paper being wasted per person, per year.
Or, more simply £6.80 of paper waste for every £10 spent.
So, how can we stop this?
- Firstly, ensure your office has correctly labelled recycling bins – clear instruction never goes amiss.
- Each time you receive an email, consider if it really is necessary to print.
- Try printing double-sided where possible – especially when printing large documents.
- Go digital. If you’re in a small meeting, with only a few people present, provide your reports on tablets or around a laptop.
Another big source of office waste is printer cartridges.
It’s estimated that 65 million ink and toner cartridges are sold in the UK every year and that 85% of them are simply discarded or sent to landfill; where it can take up to 1,000 years for them to fully decompose.
Throwing them away in the trash also adds unnecessary toxins and pollutants into the local environment.
How can you recycle a printer cartridge?
- You can donate them. There are lots of charities asking for donation of ink cartridges.
- Invest in some refillable ink cartridges.
- Some supermarkets have specific areas where you can recycle ink cartridges along with batteries and light bulbs.
- Some ink cartridge manufacturers ask for used cartridges to be returned for a discount to be provided on future orders.
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)
Whilst sat at your desk, have a think about the electrical goods in the room:
IT equipment; computers and laptops, keyboards, telephones, mobile phones, maybe a TV screen? There are electrical appliances to consider too: kettles, mini-fridges, lights, headphones and more. The list can go on. Have you ever considered what happens to your electrical waste when you purchase new models?
The United Nations University carried out a study, that concluded 43 million tons of electronic waste alone, was generated in 2016.
The Telegraph states that in context, “On average, each Briton throws away between 20 and 25kg of e-waste each year”. Most of this waste ends up as landfill, putting both people and animals at risk of harm.
How Can You Safely Dispose WEEE?
- AT GD, we operate safe waste transfer stations that are licensed to accept and process both hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Here we recycle 98% of all waste processed.
- Don’t buy new tech just for the sake of it. Yes, we all want the newest phones, laptops and desktops, but ask yourself if it’s necessary. If so, research how to safely dispose of your used models!
When your pen runs out of ink, you throw it in the bin. It makes sense, right? But when you look a bit closer, that leads to a huge amount of waste that could instead be recycled! The market leader in the stationery industry, BIC pen manufacturers, sells 8.76 billion items each year.
Even though BIC proudly state that ‘The BIC Cristal® ballpoint pen that writes for more than 1.2 miles (2 km)’, once they’re finished they’re likely to be thrown out, instead of recycled. That’s a lot of plastic to end up as landfill.
Let’s recycle pens properly:
- Collect all broken/unusable pens and send them in bulk to recyclers.
- Or, buy biodegradable eco-friendly writing utensils.
Recycling in the office is a simple and effective solution for disposing waste, and it can save companies a considerable amount of money in doing so.