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23 Ways to Reduce Office Waste

Last Updated on August 14, 2023 by Christian Ralph

If you’re looking to streamline the office’s output and cut workplace waste for monetary or environmental reasons, it needn’t compromise your workforce’s output. Here we explore 23 ways you can reduce office waste without reducing work quality or team spirit.


1. Go Duplex

Printing on both sides of paper can immediately cut paper usage and waste by half. At Printerland, we stock a great range of printers which include automatic double sided printing as standard – making sure even the least environmentally-minded people in the office are forced to print in duplex format.

2. Stay Solid

If you find that your office throws away a lot of empty printer ink cartridges, swapping your inkjet printer for a solid ink alternative could help you cut the waste. Using far less packaging than liquid ink alternatives, solid ink cartridges minimise packaging wastage. We stock a selection of solid inks, including these Xerox CMYK solid ink cartridges.

3. Encourage Print Preview

Reduce print mistakes and subsequent wasteful reprints by encouraging the widespread use of print preview. Whether you apply good cop or bad cop strategies is up to you.

4. Define Headed Paper Direction

If you print on pre-created headed or company paper, this often serves as another opportunity for wasted paper. Leave a clear indication above the printer as to the direction to load headed paper to remove the risk of printing over the company insignia.

5. Control Typeface and Type Size

It may seem like a negligible difference, but controlling fonts and type size can significantly reduce print costs in the long-term. Fonts such as Century Gothic are professional and quite conservative in the amount of ink they use – so set everyone’s default text accordingly and cut ink costs in the long term.

6. Minimise Printer Margins

Reduce the amount of wasted blank space on print outs by minimising printer margins. Make sure you can fit as much info as possible on the page and reap the rewards.

7. Print on Envelopes

Rather than using labels for envelopes, printing directly onto envelopes reduces waste immediately and effectively.

Other Ways to Save

8. Use Shredded Paper

Shredded paper makes great packing material in shipments. Just make sure you’re not sending delicate information which can be easily pieced together to the detriment of the company and your customers.

9. Precycle

Precycling takes the benefits of solid ink and applies it to a wider range of products. By selecting all office items based around minimising packaging – you can reduce waste. Everything from paper to staples can adhere to Precycling standards.

10. Only Use Recyclable Paper

reuse a box
Some types of paper such as glossy paper or goldenrod cannot be recycled. Prioritise recyclability when picking the new packs of paper – start by checking Printerland’s media selection,

11. Reuse Boxes

Don’t just throw out the boxes which house deliveries to the office, reuse these for your own deliveries – cutting costs and wastage.

12. Online Employee Handbooks

If we’re honest, employee and new-starter handbooks are often ignored – so don’t waste paper and ink by printing them out and storing and sharing them all online.

13. Promote Recycling

Simple paper recycling bins located alongside printers immediately promotes recycling – cutting wastage and increasing your green credentials.

14. Opt Out of Junk Mail

The Royal Mail Opt Out ensures that you won’t receive annoying and wasteful junk mail. Unaddressed mail will no longer be delivered to your office – meaning the waste paper baskets will no long be filled with takeaway menus.

15. …and Junk Faxes

Similarly if you are still using facsimile services, it is possible to opt out of junk faxes with the Facsimile Preference Service.

16. No Sticky Notes

Used or scrap pieces of paper are just as efficient as sticky notes when sharing nuggets of information with co-workers or setting yourself reminders – and serve as waste-reducing recyclables.

17. Set Up the Office Swap Shop

When a member of the team is finished with office supplies such as binders, envelopes and file folders – encourage them to offer them around to the rest of the office, reducing the need to buy replacements.

18. Sell Business Phones

Rather than chucking away the sales team’s business phones and laptops when they’re past their best, help them find a new home.

19. No More Disposable Wipes

Rather than wipe-once disposable cleaning products, encourage the cleaners to use multi-use cloths and other cleaning products. This is far less wasteful in the short term and the long term.

20. Buy Sugar, Salt and Pepper in Bulk

When stocking the office kitchen, buy long-lasting kitchen staples such as sugar, salt and pepper in large quantities rather than individual packets – reducing the amount of packaging and wasted paper.

21. E-Sign Contracts

Promote the use of e-signatures in deals and agreements – reducing the amount of paper used and subsequently filed away.

22. Recycle with Neighbouring Offices

If your office is relatively small – join forces with neighbouring offices when recycling. This will help reduce the trips made by the folks collecting the recycling.

23. Ask Vendors/Couriers to Keep the Packaging

It may be possible to request that vendors and couriers take all packaging back with them when receiving orders and delivery. The vendors and couriers may appreciate the opportunity to reuse their own packaging (particularly those with their own green aspirations) and you won’t have to worry about waste.

For a full range of printers, consumables and more – visit the Printerland homepage or give our dedicated sales team a call on 0800 840 1992.

Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: waferboard.