Mark Penny, Commercial Manager of J & B Recycling

Member Article

Go Green In The Workplace

WHEN it comes to managing your waste, it’s just as important to adopt an eco-friendly approach to the workplace as it is to recycle your papers, cans and glass at home.

North-East waste management firm J & B Recycling has issued its own guidance for making offices and business premises more environmentally friendly.

Many businesses underestimate how much waste costs them – and it could be as high as 4 per cent of their turnover.

For the true cost is not limited to the charges businesses pay for waste to be disposed of. It also includes wasted raw materials, energy and labour and inefficiencies, which can be many times more than the cost of disposal. In some cases, it could cost more to throw something away than to purchase it in the first place.

Fortunately, there has been a cultural shift in the way people think about the resources they use and how they can be disposed of efficiently and in a way that will minimise damage to the environment.

We all know about switching off lights and computer terminals when they are not in use, and what can and can’t be recycled and which box to put it in.

But offices and businesses can and should be doing far more to make workplaces more environmentally friendly.

The first thing to do is to think about all the waste your office or workplace could be producing. It’s not just limited the stuff you throw away and could also constitute over production, by producing more materials and products than you need; how those goods are transported or moved; holding unnecessary stock in stores; not using the skills of your employees effectively; delays and idling time and wasting energy, by leaving lights and electrical equipment on when not in use.

By thinking smartly about all of your processes to prevent waste and improve resource efficiency, any business whatever the size or sector can draw real cost savings from reduced raw material and waste disposal costs.

A waste audit is a good idea and could be as simple as taking a walk around your office and asking the following questions:

  • Do you monitor the paper use and waste from printers and photocopiers?
  • Do you encourage people to ‘think before you print’?
  • Have employees been properly trained on the use of IT equipment or do they learn as they go?
  • Do you log printer and copier problems and look for common causes?
  • Do you have recycling points established around the office and do staff know ‘what goes where’?

At J & B Recycling we work with many of our customers to determine how much waste they are producing and how they can cut down. We have even been invited in by some clients – including software giant Sage UK – to advise and educate their staff about ways of making the workplace more eco-friendly.

Motivating staff and the people who visit facilities to be more environmentally minded can be a challenge. But because most people now recycle at home, many have probably got the “green message” and should be able to transfer this to the workplace.

Remember the success of any measures you undertake to reduce environmental impact will depend greatly on the commitment of those involved.

Ways to motivate your staff include:

  • Develop a rewards scheme to encourage improved resource efficiency and waste reduction
  • Appoint a ‘green champion’ to co-ordinate your cost-saving efforts.
  • Train your staff in good practice by including relevant issues in induction briefings and carry out refresher training ever year.

The greatest savings can only be achieved with the full commitment of staff throughout your business. By ensuring that employees are able to participate and feel some degree of ownership for cost-saving initiatives, you will maximise the effectiveness of the programme.

And always convert waste to a 12-month figure. Wasting £1 a day doesn’t seem much whereas wasting £365 does! You will find that as soon as you put a figure on things, you start asking the right questions to save money.

For more information about energy saving measures in the office or workplace, visit

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Publicity Seekers PR .

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