Zero Waste Office: 7 Suggestions for a Sustainable Business Life

An office worker generates approximately 1 kg of office waste per day, consisting of paper, plastic, and food scraps. Switching to a zero waste system in the office not only helps the environment but can also reduce the company’s costs in waste management.

Simple yet effective changes can assist in implementing Zero Waste policies, enhancing environmental awareness culture, and boosting business productivity. In this article, we’ll share tips on developing a waste-free office policy and increasing efficiency in your workplace.

Contents

  1. Why Should We Switch to a Zero Waste Office?
  2. 7 Suggestions for Zero Waste in the Office

Why Should We Switch to a Zero Waste Office?

Implementing Zero Waste in the office can increase efficiency and productivity in the workplace, as well as contributing to the environment:

  • Environmental Protection: A zero waste office helps consume less natural resources and reduce waste. This protects the environment by reducing the amount of waste and its negative impact on the environment.
  • Cost Savings: Waste reduction strategies can reduce costs for the business. At the same time, utilizing waste through recycling and recovery can provide a source of income.
  • Reputation and Customer Attractiveness: Zero waste practices demonstrate the business’s environmental awareness and commitment to sustainability. This strengthens the reputation of the business, providing a valuable opportunity to attract environmentally friendly and conscious customers and clients.
  • Legal Compliance: In some regions, zero waste practices may become legal requirements. By adopting zero waste policies, the business complies with legal regulations.
  • Employee Satisfaction: Environmentally friendly practices can help employees feel better at work and contribute to the company culture. A sustainability-focused work environment can increase employee engagement and satisfaction.

7 Suggestions for Zero Waste in the Office

  1. Papers Out, Digitalization In

One of the easiest ways to reduce waste in the office is to reduce paper use.is to reduce. Encourage those who try to share documents digitally rather than printing them. This both saves paper and reduces the need for physical storage space.

It is important to adopt a paperless policy to reduce paper usage. Encourage employees to engage in digital transformation processes such as using electronic signatures, storing files digitally, and electronically transmitting invoices and receipts. Digitalization speeds up business processes and facilitates access to information for everyone in the office.

If You Must Use Paper,

  • Use a smaller font
  • Fit more text by narrowing margins in documents
  • Do not use cover sheets on faxes. Instead, use an adhesive label on the first page of faxes.
  • Buy products in bulk to minimize packaging
  • Set computers and copiers to print automatically, double-sided
  • Remove duplicate names and outdated entries from mailing lists
  • Reuse envelopes by placing a label on the old address
  • Reuse file folders and shipping boxes
  • Shred newspapers and reuse them for packaging
  1. Get Recycling Bins and Reduce Disposable Products

Install designated recycling bins for paper, plastic, glass and other recyclable materials.Place these boxes with labels in easily accessible places in the office.

To further reduce plastic waste, encourage employees to bring reusable water bottles and coffee mugs. Make it easy for employees to fill their bottles and mugs by providing filtered water stations and coffee machines. Reduce the use of single-use plastic products (plastic forks, straws, cups, etc.).

  1. Review Your Packaging and Purchasing Preferences

An important way to reduce packaging waste in the office is to encourage sustainable purchasing practices. Prioritize suppliers and vendors that offer minimal or recyclable packaging. Opt for bulk buying and products made from recycled materials to reduce individual packaging.

By making sustainable purchasing choices, you can minimize the amount of waste entering your office and contribute to a circular economy.

  1. Use Eco-Friendly Office Supplies

There are many sustainable substitutes for common plastic office supplies, such as plastic-bound colored pencils.

You can use reusable paper clips or push pins instead of metal ones. A bucket of plastic pens can be replaced with a refillable fountain pen or a box of wooden pens. You can also switch from plastic cellophane tape to paper tape that contains soluble materials.

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  1. Consider Joining WWF Turkey’s Green Office Diploma Program

With the Green Office-Green Transformation program that WWF Turkey has been running since 2011, institutions are encouraged to make environmentally friendly choices.

The program aims to reduce the impact of offices on nature, and WWF officials provide guidance on natural resource use, waste management and purchasing processes.

For detailed information: Green Office Diploma Program

  1. Turn Off Electronic Devices

Forming a habit of switching off your desk lamp, devices, and desktop computer will result in substantial energy savings over time. With everyone in the office on board, the savings and benefits will escalate further. 

Ensure to unplug devices like printers when not in use, as they still draw power even when idle.

  1. Make Sustainability a Habit in Your Employees with ecordingApp

ecordingApp is a mobile application that allows you to earn ecoPoints when you take steps against the global climate crisis by performing tasks that benefit the world. With these points, you can meet your own needs and contribute to the environmental needs of the world.

ecordingApp was designed as a tool that empowers brands and institutions to combat the global climate crisis. In this way, you can ensure that your employees acquire sustainable living habits in their daily lives and get closer to your company’s sustainability goals.

Step into sustainable living by having fun as a team while creating a zero waste office environment with ecordingApp.

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The Myths and Realities of Electric Cars: Are They Really Good for the Environment?

For the last decade, electric vehicles have been in vogue as a pivotal technology to reduce carbon emissions and oil use and combat climate change. With the worldwide stock of electric cars expected to rise to over 145 million by 2030, many car manufacturing companies such as Jaguar, Audi, GM and Mercedes have pledged to switch to fully electric car production within the next five to ten years. (1

At the same time, many countries, especially EU countries, are encouraging the purchase of electric vehicles. While this so-called “environmentally friendly” transport alternative is spreading day by day, everyone is questioning the same thing: How sustainable are electric vehicles really?

While experts generally agree that rechargeable vehicles are a more climate-friendly option than regular cars, they have some environmental impacts depending on how they are charged and manufactured. This article has prepared a guide to some of the biggest concerns and how they can be addressed.

Contents

A Quick Reminder: What is an Electric Car?

Plugging in their transport is a new concept for most people who are used to filling up fossil fuels to get from A to B. With a dashboard that looks like a giant smartphone, electric cars can seem like something from the future.

Yet their technology is not new. Like your average automatic transmission car, an electric vehicle starts with the ignition, accelerates with the accelerator and stops with the brake. The main difference from a petrol car is the design of its engine.

Electric vehicles run on batteries that need to be recharged periodically, using a charging station connected to the electrical power supply. This is familiar to many because it is the same way we charge our phones and computers.

Most electric vehicles use a lithium-ion battery with a relatively simple design. The engine of a comparable internal combustion engine vehicle has around 2,000 parts, while an electric vehicle engine has only 20 moving parts. 

What are the main differences between electric vehicles?

  • They work quietly.
  • They can accelerate more easily without gear shifts.
  • Extremely hot or cold weather can drain the charge faster than mild weather.

Environmental Impact: Electric vs. Petrol Car

The pollution caused by petrol vehicles is not limited to the exhaust from the tailpipes. The extraction of petrol, its refining into fuel and its transport to petrol stations also generates large amounts of carbon emissions and air pollution. 

Today, even though petrol car manufacturers have reduced CO2 emissions, the production process continues to have a negative impact on the environment.

On the other hand, producing electric car batteries also creates emissions. Due to the complex manufacturing process, an electric car can use twice as much energy during production as a petrol car, emitting more CO2.

Nevertheless, electric vehicles remain the cleanest option for transport, as the way they operate is much more sustainable overall. Due to their use of electricity as fuel, driving compensates for high production emissions. 

On average, an electric car produces half the carbon emissions of a petrol car over its lifetime and performs completely better in terms of sustainability.

When electric vehicles reach the end of their service life, the upcycled battery can be upcycled so that it can be reused many times. On the other hand, up to 90 per cent of battery materials can be recycled.

Electric cars alone are not a magic solution to address climate change. However, they are a valuable tool for reducing emissions from transport and a much more sustainable alternative to fossil-fuelled cars. 

Although their production and end-of-life have a negative impact on the environment, their carbon footprint is much lower than that of fossil-fuelled vehicles when their overall life cycle is taken into account.

With innovation in the sector advancing at a rapid pace, tomorrow’s electric vehicles are likely to widen the sustainability gap compared to today’s petrol vehicles.

A survey in Turkey shows consumer interest in electric and hybrid vehicles is growing rapidly. Compared to last year, the rate of consumers who say the next vehicle they will buy will be hybrid or electric has increased to 27%. 

Moreover, with the entry of Tesla, the leading electric vehicle manufacturer, and TOGG, a locally produced electric vehicle, into the Turkish market, 29% of consumers say they will definitely buy an electric or hybrid vehicle in the future. In comparison, this rate rises to 90% when the price offer is attractive. 

Let’s Summarise the Pros and Cons of Electric Cars

Cons

  • Entirely electric vehicles work thanks to the lithium batteries inside them. However, the production of these lithium batteries can cause excess carbon emissions. 
  • Most electric vehicle batteries are produced in China, South Korea and Japan. These are economies where carbon utilisation in electricity generation (rather than renewable sources) is generally quite high.
  • One of the most important disadvantages of electric vehicles compared to petrol-powered vehicles is their short range when fully charged. Therefore, vehicles with ordinary internal combustion engines are currently better for long-distance journeys.

Pros

  • Electric vehicles emit no CO2 from the tailpipe when they are in operation. This means an enormous reduction in emissions: Driving an electric vehicle saves an average of 1.5 million grams of CO2 per year. (2
  • Electric cars produce no emissions during use, which means they do not contribute to air pollution. This is especially important in cities where air pollution levels can be dangerously high.
  • Electric vehicles use less energy because they have fewer parts and feature regenerative braking, a system that retains energy during braking and is more resistant to wear and tear than conventional brake discs.
  • Another significant advantage of electric vehicles is that they do not need to be filled with gas or petrol, which are becoming increasingly expensive. Unlike gas-powered cars, electric vehicles contain two to three times fewer engine fluids such as oil, transmission fuel and coolants that must be changed regularly. This dramatically reduces fuel, repair and maintenance costs.
  • Electric cars run very quietly, which significantly reduces noise pollution.

What is Refill and How Can It Contribute to the Planet?

Without radical action, the amount of plastic in the oceans is expected to triple by 2040. However, with a major transformational change, this amount can be reduced by 80 per cent. One of the most effective ways to reduce the use of plastic is to switch to refillable, reusable and refillable packaging.

In this article, we examine refill and reuse solutions and examine some of the conscious brands with refill products in Turkey.

Contents

What is Refillable Packaging?

Refillable packaging, or refill products, is a system that allows users to continue using a product without creating new waste. This means that instead of buying a new packaged product to replace the depleted contents, the existing one is refilled and used. This approach is both practical and sustainable and minimises the negative impact on the environment by reducing the waste and energy required to produce new packaging.

Why Refill?

Plastic pollution has become a very visible indicator of the damage we as humanity have caused to the planet we live on and to other living creatures on this planet. Most of us have surely encountered the sad images of plastic pollution in the oceans, seas, rivers and our natural environment.

Our small changes as individuals really do work. But we can’t do it alone, we need collective action. To indeed “turn off the tap” on plastic pollution, companies need to stop producing so much plastic and keep fossil fuels underground. 

Major brands, businesses and retailers must invest in reuse and refill systems instead of using single-use packaging to reduce plastic pollution.

  • For the Oceans

Worldwide, 8 – 12 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean annually. Every year, 100,000 marine mammals, turtles, and 1 million seabirds die from plastic pollution. (1)

Studies have shown that 90% of birds in the ocean have plastic in their stomachs. By choosing refill products, we can be part of the solution, not the problem.

  • For the Planet

Most plastics are petroleum products and their production requires energy. The plastics industry is therefore one of the sectors where urgent action is needed to tackle the climate crisis. Refilling offers the opportunity to move away from dependence on the fossil fuel economy. Giant companies that feed the world with fossil fuels for energy also supply plastic raw materials. To put a “stop” to the global climate crisis, we have to curb this plastic madness.

  • For Our Health

Plastic pollution is also a human health problem. Because microplastics are now circulating in our blood.

Plastic products contain chemical additives and these substances inevitably lead to serious health problems.

What is the Contribution of Refillable Packaging to the Planet?

According to a report for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, buying refills instead of new ones can reduce CO2 emissions by 70%, energy use by 65% and water use by 45%. (2

Refillable packaging forms part of the circular economy model, which encourages using, sharing, reusing, repairing and recycling materials and products for as long as possible.

The “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” campaign is an example of this model, as it encourages the reuse of materials and suggests recycling them when they can no longer be used.

Refill products are based on the idea of encouraging consumers to think about the use of natural resources. In this way, people are made more aware of the impact of their consumption habits on the environment.

This shift in consumer priorities is helping brands to think about how they can extend the life of their products and packaging, as well as their environmental impact.

Brands with Refillable Products 

  1. The Purest Solutions

The Purest Solutions Ecological Refill Packaging is a packaging alternative that enables products to be presented in an environmentally friendly way using refillable packaging. 

This type of packaging can be recycled without harming the environment, minimising the use of plastic waste. The Purest Solutions offers its customers the convenience of refilling their products, allowing them to consume 77% less plastic. 

These ecological replacement packs are designed to be able to fill the original pack twice and aim to reduce the amount of waste by taking measures against environmental impacts.

  1. Atelier Rebul

Adopting an environmentalist approach since its inception, Rebul has become part of an eco-friendly product movement by promoting the principles of ‘Refill/Reuse/Reduce’.

Cologne and ‘Signature Collection’ perfume bottles have designs that can be refilled in stores. In addition, liquid soaps offered in “Refill” packaging are produced using 78% less plastic than standard 250 ml packaging.

These new packs allow you to refill your favourite liquid soap, reuse existing bottles and reduce packaging waste.

  1. ebebek

ebebek encourages the recycling of plastic, glass and metal packaged products. With the Packaging Recycling Piggy Bank, everyone who shops at the Istanbul Bostancı store can contribute to nature and benefit from discounts.

In addition, with the Baby Me Detergent Filling Station, consumers can fill their empty bottles with detergent, fabric softener, pacifier bottle cleaner, and stain remover products from Baby Me, ebebek’s own brand.

  1. OMO 

Migros and OMO collaborated and launched the Refilling Unit. This unit aims to reduce plastic production and reduce the amount of plastic waste. 

This unit, located in the Ataşehir MMM Migros store, allows consumers to fill empty OMO Liquid Detergent bottles and buy products at more affordable prices. The pilot application aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste per year and this project aims to be extended to other stores.