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Put the focus on waste

May 15th, 2013 Category: Office Cleaning

The amount of commercial and industrial waste disposals has been rising at an alarming rate, which is why this year’s Green Office Week – running between 13th and 17th May 2013 – has designated Wednesday as waste day to encourage companies to consider their office practices.

According to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the national estimate in 2010 showed that total commercial and industrial waste arisings was 6.5 million tonnes in Scotland alone. Envirowise, a government-funded group that advises businesses on sustainability, found that bad waste practices are costing UK industry at least £15 billion each year, which is why implementing new procedures into the workplace could see both costs reduced and the company’s carbon footprint improved.

Martin Gibson, Envirowise programme director, told the Guardian: “Much of what we discard can be reduced or recycled, but the convenience of a bin right by your desk makes for a big temptation to throw away valuable resources.”

The government organisation says that approximately 70 per cent of office waste is recyclable, but on average only 7.5 per cent reaches a recycling facility. Some 80.6 million tonnes of printing and writing paper enters the waste stream each year in the UK – 24 per cent of total UK waste, figures show.

In order to tackle this escalating problem, Green Office Week organisers Avery have outlined five tips to cut down waste in business based on the three Rs: reduce; reuse; recycle. First of all, get colleagues to design a waste hierarchy pyramid and use the winning design to spread the word. Reuse old envelopes and packaging, or old folders and files. As a test, see if you can go the whole day without printing emails or documents. If it is absolutely necessary to print documents, check the settings on your printing device to ensure they operate with maximum efficiency, and consider using recycled paper and environmentally-friendly ink.

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