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Giveaway or Sell

Charity and nearly new shops, jumble sales and community schemes are good places to donate or sell second hand clothes, toys and furniture.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle at work

Some local councils are able to offer a recycling service to businesses. Some may have a charge, however, some may offer a collection free of charge. Contact your local council to find out what services are provided.

Here are some ideas for your business, based on the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.


Packaging is something we come across every day. Work with your suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging they use, which you end up paying to throw away. Some suppliers will take back packaging for reuse, and some might be able to provide 'multi-trip' packaging that they can send your goods in again and again. If you cannot manage either of these, buy goods that are in recyclable packaging and make sure you recycle it.

Magazines, journals and junk mail create a lot of waste in many offices. Return unwanted mail back to the sender with a label stating that you do not wish to receive any further correspondence of this type. Circulate magazines and journals within your office so that you don't have to receive multiple copies of the same thing.

Paper is probably the biggest source of waste in most offices. There are lots of ways to reduce paper consumption in a typical office, for example; maximise the use of electronic media; always do double-sided printing where your printer or photocopier will allow; avoid printed memos and don't print out your emails for filing.

Refreshments and catering waste can also be thrown away in your offices. Ensure that vending machines allow the use of china mugs rather than plastic vending cups and avoid buying disposable catering products such as sugar sachets and paper plates. Confirm the numbers of people attending meetings and do not over-order supplies.

Cleaning materials packaging waste can be reduced if you bulk buy concentrated solutions which can be diluted.


Before throwing packaging away, see if you can find another use for it such as using boxes for storage or archiving.

There are many opportunities to reuse 'waste' paper. If it has only been printed on one side, keep it and use the other side for printing out draft copies of reports and other documents. If you keep a box for storing this paper at the side of your printer or photocopier, you will get into the habit of using it. Paper used on one side can also be cut up and stapled together to make note-pads.

Reuse envelopes for distributing internal mail.

Once a year, conduct a stationery audit at your desk or office area. You will be surprised how much you find. Any surplus items can be returned to your office stores for someone else to use.


Whilst reducing and reusing waste will cut both purchase and disposal costs, recycling will lower your disposal costs. Many common waste items found in offices can be recycled and as recycling options grow due to legislative and technological progress, the list of possibilities is increasing all the time.

Typically, you will be able to find recycling opportunities for:

Paper (of various types and grades) and cardboard

Plastic cups


Toner and printer cartridges

Drinks cans and tin foil


Glass and plastic bottles


Useful links

Recycle Now - Start Recycling at Work

WRAP - Recycle at Work

NetRegs - Reduce, Reuse & Recycle your Business Waste


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