Hi there. You’re on the UK site,
do you want to view

Simple Office Swaps to Produce Less Waste

Reduce Waste before it's a Problem

Whether your organisation is on the road to zero waste or just starting to become more sustainable, reducing waste in the workplace can reap many benefits. It can help you support other sustainable businesses, increase your landfill diversion, and even reduce costs. To get started, there are some simple swaps you can make around the workplace to waste less, some of which we’ve laid out below.

Abdalla m TEX Jzf8 Ki84 unsplash Reusable cups to keep stocked in the kitchen


Kitchens allow for a nice reprise from the office environment, a place to connect with your colleagues and enjoy a few screen-free moments throughout the day. It’s also often one of the most significant sources of waste within a workplace, from food wrappers to coffee cups and much more. While you can’t always control what enters the kitchen, as an organisation, there are things you can do to minimise waste created by your employees. These include:

  • Get your milk delivered in refillable glass bottles – many local companies are returning to this model. Search to see if there is a service in your area.
  • Replace paper towels with tea towels – ask your cleaning provider if they can launder them or if you work at a small organisation, enlist someone can take them home and throw them in the washing machine once a week to keep them clean.
  • Keep a collection of reusable containers for office lunches – some simple lunch containers of a small-to-medium size in the office will encourage your employees to avoid the single-use containers from restaurants.
  • Ask if caterers can use real dishes instead of disposable ones – many caterers are already able to provide this service. Still, it may not be the standard, so be sure to find caterers willing to adopt this practice to reduce waste when you have events in your workspace.
  • Stock up on plenty of silverware and dishes for everyone – most offices already have this, but if you currently don’t have supplies on hand, you can pick up some for cheap from Op Shops and keep it in the kitchen to help employees avoid bringing in single-use forks and knives.
  • Keep filter water readily available with glassware – whether from a cold water tap or filtered jugs in the fridge, this can help employees avoid single-use water bottles.
  • Use jars of sugar instead of sticks or bags – it’s often cheaper to buy sugar in large bags, and you can use it to fill up jars, so employees can grab a spoonful instead of using the single-use sachets of sugar.
  • Switch to loose leaf tea – tea bags are often lined with plastic, so consider switching to loose leaf tea and providing some reusable metal tea strainers. Bonus: your employees can decide the strength of their tea themselves.
  • Invest in good quality coffee (no instant coffee) – this will encourage your employees to drink at the office instead of getting a takeaway coffee. Additionally, you can ask your coffee supplier to use reusable bins instead of bags when delivering the beans.
  • On the topic of coffee – if possible, avoid machines that produce single-use waste like plastic or aluminium capsules. Opt instead for espresso machines, plungers/coffee presses, or machines with cleanable mesh filters.
  • Have a selection of keep cups and mugs for people to take for coffee – or make it part of a sustainability onboarding gift. While it’s great to have good coffee in the office, people will still probably get drinks out occasionally, whether it’s a speciality drink they love or they are heading to a meeting elsewhere. Having reusable cups on hand ensures they don’t have to waste the takeaway cups at the shop.
  • Provide a selection of common condiments like butter, soy sauce, and tomato sauce to avoid single-use servings of these items.
Arlington research k N k Vi Dch A0 unsplash


We spend 90% of our time sitting at our desks in the office. While we aren’t usually generating a ton of waste there, there are a few areas where we can work to minimise any waste created.

  • Refillable whiteboard markers and pens – most office supply stores should sell these. While there is some waste with the cartridges you replace, it is considerably less than regular pens and markers.
  • Recycled paper – keep a stash of misprints and scraps instead of post-it notes or notebooks, where possible.
  • Go paperless – if you still are using paper records, consider migrating them online and only using digital files moving forward. It can save you money in paper, printing, and storage costs while reducing the amount of paper waste you accumulate.
  • Swap bleached tissues for non-bleached – a small change that almost no one will notice, but it can help divert more from the landfill as non-bleached tissues are compostable in the organics bin.
  • Use paper envelopes without plastic windows – even reducing the small amount of plastic from the envelope can have an impact, especially if your business sends a lot of letters.
  • When shipping, minimise plastic packaging wherever possible – use card or paper mailers, use the smallest carrier available, use paper tape, and use paper packing materials instead of styrofoam packing peanuts to protect the products.
  • Switch to rechargeable mice and keyboards, or invest in rechargeable batteries for existing ones – while a bit pricey upfront, these batteries should last longer, and you won’t have to deal with e-waste every time the batteries die. Plus, you’ll save on costs over time.
  • When buying equipment – desks, monitors, chairs – see if you can buy the equipment used. Other businesses that may have closed or downsized may have discounted equipment, which leads to less waste and will help save you money in the long run.

You may not be able to make all these changes at once, but even a few swaps can significantly reduce waste. If you’re just starting, focus on the swaps that would make the most significant impact and work best for your organisation.

Want to learn more about Method bins?

Related Posts