Take Action: Recycling at Work

Although many of us are good about recycling at home, it can be harder to reduce waste at the office if the right systems aren't in place. There are a number of ways you can help get your workplace started down the road to recycling.

What is your office throwing away?

The typical workplace generates a variety of waste:

  • Paper: Did you get the memo? According to the EPA, the average U.S. office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year…about 4 million tons annually. Think we're gonna need a bigger file cabinet.
  • Cardboard: Boxes and folders make up another large part of the office waste stream. File those under "R" for recyclable!
  • Cans and bottles: Thirsty co-workers go through diet cola like it's going out of style, so naturally there tends to be a lot of aluminum cans and plastic bottles around. If your workplace just tosses the empties in the trash, the only thing getting a raise is the landfill's height.
  • Toner and inkjet cartridges: Many manufacturers make it easy to send back your empty cartridges for recycling.
  • Food waste: Break rooms and cafeterias are a big source of waste. Corporate composting or organic waste collection programs can help your company divert leftovers from the landfill.
  • Outdated electronics: These days, cutting-edge equipment quickly becomes obsolete. Recycling old TVs, computers and cell phones keeps dangerous materials from entering the environment.
  • Hazardous materials: Many workplaces keep paint, cleaners and other chemical products around the office. If improperly stored, those materials can pose a number of hazards to employee health.

Want to know what other office items can be recycled or reused? Search by material to see what else you can put in your recycling outbox.