Moving towards a zero waste, sustainable lifestyle begins at home. But you should also think about reducing waste at your workplace. The problems our world faces can seem overwhelming. But the truth is that there are plenty of things that we can do as individuals to make sure that we are part of the solution – at home, at work, and wherever we go.
Start a Conversation – Keep Waste Reduction on the Agenda
One of the most important things that we can all do is keep waste in people's minds. Simply having conversations at work about waste problems can help encourage others to move in the same direction as you. The biggest changes can often begin with the simplest of chats. Often, simply discussing what you yourself are doing can inspire others to positive change.
Think About How You Get To Work
Your waste reduction strategy should begin before you even get into work. When you take a petrol or diesel vehicle on the road, you're not only burning fossil fuels – you're also creating plastic dust as the tires rub on the road surface. The more you can do to reduce your mileage the better. Walk to work, cycle, take public transport, or consider a car share scheme to reduce the number of vehicles on the road.
Explore Home Working Options
Another way that you might be able to reduce mileage is by exploring the possibility of working from home – if not all the time then perhaps one or two days a week. Home working can also be efficient, and reduce the power required to run a central office space. If your office manager or business is reluctant – consider creating a proposal that shows how much energy (and money) could potentially be saved by allowing home working.
Pack Your Own Lunch
Taking your own lunch to work with you is a great way to reduce packaging waste. You can bring it along wrapped in eco-friendly containers, and beeswax wraps.
Always Use Reusable, Zero Waste Products
If you are buying coffee, snacks or lunch out and about, make sure you always have your reusable, zero waste products with you. Make sure you have a reusable water bottle, reusable mug, reusable take out container and reusable bag with you every day.
Recycle and Compost Waste
If your workplace does not have recycling containers, try to lobby bosses to make sure you get some. Better yet, get them to set up a compost system for food waste too. The compost might even be used to 'green' your workspace – perhaps even set up an urban garden somewhere on site.
Be Energy Wise at Work
Make sure lights, heating, computers etc. are not switched on when they don't need to be. If you can, try to lobby your company to switch to a green, renewable energy supplier. Even if you cannot do this, you can do little things to reduce energy waste in your workplace.
Move Towards Paperless Systems
Never print anything off unless you really need to. Paper waste can be a big problem in many workplaces, and often it is easily preventable. Switch to online systems instead, and when you do use paper, make sure it is from sustainable sources, and is recycled after use.
Help Prevent Water Waste
Don't run taps while washing up in your workplace kitchen, or use a lot of water when washing your hands. Try to ensure that when any new toilet facilities are installed, these are low flow. If you don't have much power in that regard, simply work to encourage an environment of sustainable water use.
Choosing and Washing Work Wear or Uniforms
Finally, think about what you wear for work. If you wear a uniform, you might not be able to decide what you wear. But you can talk to your company about more eco-friendly clothing made from natural materials. If you choose your own work clothes, avoid synthetics and opt for clothing that is as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible. Wash clothes on low heat, and air dry. Consider installing a bag in your washing machine to catch the microfibres if you must wash synthetic fabrics.