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Did you know that UK businesses lose up to 4.5% of annual turnover every year through avoidable waste?  Reducing the amount of waste you create can save your business money through reduced purchasing and disposal costs and benefit the environment.

Visit the Waste and Resources Action Programme's Business Resource Efficiency Hub to find out how being efficient with your resources can reduce waste and save you money.

For more general information and sources of advice on making your business more sustainable please go to this webpage Greening your Business

Read on to find out how you can cut down your waste ...

 Waste Audits

A good starting point is to conduct a waste audit to show you the types and amounts of waste you are throwing away and associated costs.  This will serve as a baseline to measure performance and enable you to identify areas for improvement.

The following websites provide further advice on conducting a waste audit:

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Staff Involvement

For any waste minimisation scheme to work, staff involvement and training is essential. Training should ensure staff buy in and motivation by covering the reasons for reducing waste  and the way that staff can contribute, including any new policies and procedures.  Training should also cover an element of IT training to enable staff to reduce the amount of paper being used (e.g. by printing/photocopying on both sides, reducing the number of pages used etc.)

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Waste Reduction

By considering the items that are regularly thrown away, you can identify areas  where you can reduce waste.  The following are some suggestions to help get you started.


  • Print on both sides of the paper
  • Use smaller envelopes and reuse envelopes for internal mail
  • Only print what's necessary and try to minimise the number of pages used
  • Use whiteboards in preference to flip charts
  • Use notice boards or email in preference to circulars
  • Cut out junk mail by asking to be removed from mailing lists and make sure you keep your own mailing lists up to date


  • Buy non perishable items such as condiments in bulk
  • Avoid individually packed sachets and use reusable containers instead


  • Share items like stationery (e.g. hole punches) rather than issuing them individually
  • Purchase more durable longer lasting items such as long life lamps or rechargeable batteries
  • Ensure that things are well maintained and stored properly to extend their life
  • Only order what's needed

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Many items can be reused within the office or between departments and there are many reusable alternatives to disposables.  Alternatively items can be repaired or refurbished, or donated to other organisations instead of being thrown away.

Reusable Items

  • Choose reusable cups, glasses, crockery and cutlery in preference to paper or plastic disposable items
  • Use paper clips rather than staples
  • Use scrap paper rather than Post Its
  • Reuse items such as folders and punch pockets

Repair or Refurbish

  • Recondition or reupholster office furniture to prolong its life

Donate Items

  • Unwanted items can be donated to other departments or local charities
  • Good quality scrap items can be donated to the Children's Scrapstore.  For more information, please go to
  • Use websites such as Freecycle or Freegle to donate items free of charge.

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