Here are some increasingly popular ways to reduce waste and save money for many businesses and organizations:
- Use solar-powered calculators and battery rechargers. Solar-powered calculators eliminate the need for batteries. Solar-powered rechargers use sunlight, not electricity, to recharge batteries.
- Use reusable calendars. Hard-surfaced, perpetual calendars can be wiped clean and reused year after year. By using water-based markers, you can avoid petroleum-based markers.
- Use bulletin boards. Rather than routing memos, post information on bulletin boards or use e-mail.
- Use refillable pens, pencils and tape dispensers. According to the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, Americans throw out 1.6 billion single-use pens each year. Refillable pens and mechanical pencils often don't cost more over the long term, and their use prevents unnecessary waste.
- Use two-way envelopes. If your office conducts a large amount of regular correspondence with other facilities, use two-way envelopes. These envelopes can be sent back and forth dozens of times before being recycled. Also, for billing, use convenient send-and-return envelopes. They look like standard envelopes, but after a slight twist they can be used again.
- Get the most out of your office paper. Buy paper with a percentage of recycled post-consumer content. Reuse single-sided paper. Place a box next to the photocopier for stacking single-sided photocopy paper "waste". Cut paper by using a paper cutter and bind together with binding glue to make "waste" paper into notepads. The glue is not absolutely necessary. Employees can stack quarter sheets beside their phone for notepaper. To save paper, remember to print on both sides.
- Reuse file folders and binders. Applying new labels extends the usefulness of file folders and binders.
- Refurbish office furniture and equipment. Many organizations and businesses are reusing office furniture instead of buying new furniture. Some office furniture retail businesses may have a maintenance person that is specialized in repairing used office furniture.
- Computers, printers and copiers are also repairable. There are retail businesses that recondition/repair and then sell them.
- Change to cotton towel dispensers or automatic hand dryers. Instead of having paper towel dispensers, change to either cotton towel dispensers or automatic hand dryers to reduce waste, create tidier restrooms and save money.
- In the employees break room create a space for employees to keep their reusable mugs instead of having available single-use cups. This creates less waste and saves money for the business or organization.
- Reuse printer toner cartridges. Re-manufactured cartridges can cut costs 50% yearly. Some printer toner re-manufacturers use higher-quality replacement parts than those that are originally installed. Otter Tail County sponsors a printer cartridge recycling program for Deskjet printers. Here is how to participate:
- There are free special mailing bags available from the Otter Tail County Solid Waste Department for Deskjet cartridges. Postage is free.