- By George Rebstrum
- Published 03/6/2012
When we think of recycling in the work place, the first thing that springs to mind is the amount of paper used in the average office. While many businesses have plans in place for their more obvious recycling needs, there are many other materials that are often over looked and just as essential for going Green when it comes to office waste materials.
With some useful advice on effective cardboard recycling using balers to tackling other types of waste such as electronics and batteries, the following guide will help you make a real difference in your office recycling scheme without too much bother.
Disposing of Light Bulbs and Batteries
Normal incandescent light bulbs can be thrown away with the standard office waste, as can the smaller halogen bulbs. In contrast, energy saving Compact Fluorescent Lamps (or CFLs) and fluorescent bulbs not only contain parts that can be reused, but they also hold small traces of harmful substances – for this reason they need to be disposed off responsibly.
Specialist collection services are available for just this situation, or alternatively you can dispose of them at certain local drop off points.
Similar facilities are available for taking care of your batteries. Be aware that if a battery is thrown away with standard waste, it is likely to end up at a landfill site. This is not only a waste of metal that could otherwise be returned to the production cycle, but it will also result in harmful chemicals such as lead, mercury or cadmium leaking into the ground, which leads to soil and water pollution that is harmful to humans and the environment as a whole.
Electronic Waste Recycling
As with batteries, disposing of electrical waste such as computers, monitors and mobile phones improperly is potentially very harmful to the environment due to the amount of dangerous chemicals found in these types of materials. There are also many salvageable parts in electronic devices that can either be reused or recycled, including small amounts of gold and silver.
A good way to stay Green with your electronics it to upgrade and maintain, rather than replace. For example, if a computer is becoming slow, a systems expert will probably be able to speed things back up with the use of maintenance software. In addition, adding more memory or a larger hard drive to a computer will also often get it back on track, meaning it will service you for that much longer before being relegated to the rubbish bin.
Another common mistake is to buy a new monitor when buying a new computer. Monitors are compatible from machine to machine and there is no need to replace a perfectly healthy one just because the replacement comes as part of a package.
When you do need to upgrade an electronic device, a great way to handle the problem is to pass it on to other companies or individuals. There are organisations in place that will collect and distribute computers to those who can make use of these old items. Some will even ship your obsolete equipment to other countries where such things can make a real difference to developing nations.
Cardboard Waste and Other Packaging
Packaging can be awkward to dispose of due to its ungainly volume. As well as larger deliveries arriving in cardboard boxes, there are the smaller items such as the packaging for food and drink, padded bags, boxes for ink cartridges and so on.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may well be dealing constantly with a large amount of boxed material. Not only does this increase your landfill costs (which are on the rise), it can take up alot of storage space in-between collections. The best solution to tackle this issue is to rent or buy a baler. By compacting your packaging waste into tidy, manageable bales, your business can save a significant amount, not to mention the space convenience.
It’s easy to forget that office waste items all add up to sizeable landfill and collection costs. Handling these waste streams effectively and responsibly can not only make a real difference to your company’s Green credentials, but also save a significant amount of money. From cardboard recycling using balers to reducing the amount of electrical waste that needs to be disposed of, the above guide shows that a little bit of conscientious effort can go a long way in making sure your organisation cuts costs and maintains an effectively eco-friendly policy.
About the Author : George Rebstrum is an independent consultant on cardboard recycling for businesses.