workplace-mainRecycling in the workplace can save a business money and also make for a happier team. It’s just as important as recycling at home because nearly half the waste generated in the U.S. happens at businesses and other non-residential locations. Below are just a few of many steps you can take to reduce waste in the workplace:

calrecycleGet educated! Read up on How to Start an Office Recycling Program from Inc. magazine or the Top 20 Tips to Reduce Waste in the Workplace from You can also explore CalRecycle’s extensive resources, including Information for Coordinators of Waste Reduction and Recycling Programs and Business Waste Reduction.

glasses mugs shelfReplace disposable cups with reusable mugs and glasses. If an employee has one beverage a day, switching to a reusable mug or glass can save more than 200 cups from being thrown away per person each year.

nrdcPurchase only 100 percent recycled paper and as many other recycled or green office supplies as possible. Even better, implement policies to reduce overall paper usage. The NRDC’s Green Your Office offers resources for making this happen. Through simple changes like defaulting to double-sided printing and reusing scrap paper, one EPA office cut paper usage by 30 percent, saving $49,000 a year.

food waste compostImplement an organics recycling program for all food scraps, even if your business is not specifically required to under the Commercial Organics Recycling Law (AB 1826). To get started, read these guides by Green Action Centre and Sustainable America.

recycle cartridgesPlace recycling bins in prominent locations for printer cartridges, batteries and e-waste. You can also order a free recycling bin for CRV beverage containers from CalRecycle. Consider labeling each bin appropriately to ensure that only what you accept for recycling ends up inside. Check out these labels from CalRecycle and Recycle Across America.

terracycle zero wasteGet a TerraCycle® Zero Waste Box for your office supplies, printer cartridges or break room. You can also check out the full range of Zero Waste Boxes to see if your business disposes of any items that TerraCycle recycles.

junkmailGet your business off of mailing lists. To request removal from Dun & Bradstreet’s huge list, call 1-800-234-3867 or send an email to

filesHost a Friday File Fling. Have office workers purge file boxes and folders to recycle unneeded documents. In Australia, one day each November is dedicated to file flinging, but you may choose to host your event any time of the year.

energy promptUse prompt cards to encourage positive behavior in the workplace. Try using these friendly reminders to get employees to turn their computers off at night. Download free prompts from Recycle Reminders or order free stickers from Universal Eco-Symbol.

trafficCut down on employee miles with these tips on How to Make a Trip-Reduction Program Successful by HRO Today.

food industry organizationsIs your workplace part of the food and restaurant industry? Save money and food at the same time. Get connected with charities you can donate unwanted food to via Waste No FoodFood Cowboy or Full Harvest. Simplify the process with a platform such as Spoiler Alert, which helps maximize the ROI of food donation and recovery programs, or the app Copia, which streamlines everything from requesting surplus food pickups to tracking tax deductions.

solar panels turbineIf you want to go beyond recycling to achieve a green and sustainable workplace, you can receive national and local government incentives. Find out more from the Department of Energy and If your workplace partners with Staples, take advantage of their sustainably-minded resources, such as recycling programs and eco-friendly office supplies and furniture.

Share informational and motivational infographics such as this with others in your workplace:

Going Green at the Office

Did You Know?

Some of the top contaminants found in office recycling bins include:
• copy paper wrappers
• hanging file folders with metal bars
• food waste & sandwich wrappers
• non-paper envelopes (e.g. Tyvek)
• sheets of peel & stick labels
• rubber bands
• restroom waste (paper towels, tissues)