Home / Workplace Prevention

In Your Kitchen

  • Buy unbleached coffee filters. Or buy a reusable one.
  • Install a faucet aerator.
  • Make sure your dishwasher is full before running it.
  • Store food items in reusable containers.
  • Use cloth napkins and dishtowels instead of paper.
  • Use washable cloth rags instead of paper towels. Use washable dishes instead of paper plates.
  • Wash out and reuse freezer bags and aluminum foil.

In Your Laundry Room

  • Clean your clothes dryer’s lint trap after every load.
  • Give your dryer a vacation by hanging your clothes to dry.
  • If you have a baby, use cloth diapers instead of disposables.
  • Make your purchasing dollars count. When shopping for a washer and dryer, buy an energy-efficient, low-water model.
  • Turn down your water heater to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, especially during the summer.
  • Use a phosphate-free detergent.

All Around the House

  • Don’t let energy go out the window (or door). Make sure your rooms are well insulated and doors to the outside are not left standing open.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs.
  • Turn down the heat or air conditioning at night. Turn off lights and appliances when not in use; install sensors where appropriate.
  • Turn off lights and televisions when not in use.
  • Turn your thermostat up when you are out during the day.
  • Use non-mercury containing thermometers.

In Your Bathroom

  • Install low-flow showerheads.
  • Install a toilet dam to reduce the amount of water you flush away, or install a low-flush toilet.
  • Make your shower do double-duty. Hang clothes in the bathroom while showering to steam wrinkles out.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Use less water when brushing your teeth. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth.

At the Grocery Store

  • Buy eggs in cardboard cartons instead of plastic foam cartons.
  • Buy grocery items in bulk.
  • Buy items with less packaging.
  • Consolidate shopping outings; cut down on trips to pick up one forgotten item.
  • Look for less toxic alternatives to household cleaning products.
  • Purchase rechargeable batteries, reducing the amount of trash going into landfills.
  • Tote your goods in style. Use canvas bags to carry your groceries instead of plastic bags.
  • When possible, buy organic.

In Your Yard

  • Compost fruit and vegetable scraps.
  • Leave your grass clippings on the lawn.
  • Mulch your flowerbeds and shrubs.
  • Water your lawn in the early morning or in the evening.
  • Xeriscape and use water-saving native plants.

For Your Car

  • Buy a fuel-efficient car.
  • Combine errands into one trip.
  • Don’t top off your gas tank when filling up.
  • Drive smoothly and avoid jackrabbit starts that use up to 50% more gasoline than a smooth start.
  • If you change your oil at home, take it to a proper disposal facility. Dumping it on the ground is illegal.
  • Maintain the correct tire pressure and alignment. Low tire pressure can waste up to 5% of a tank of gas.

Waste Reduction Tips for the Workplace Paper Waste

  • Centralize files to reduce duplication.
  • Copy two-sided, when possible, and set laser printers for duplexing.
  • Optimize print runs for literature and letterhead to avoid outdated material.
  • Recycle cups for coffee and other beverages.
  • Recycle toner cartridges and printer materials.
  • Recycle your office paper.
  • Reuse scrap paper. Use both sides of paper for writing notes before recycling it, or donate it to childcare centers for craft projects.
  • Share magazine subscriptions and newspapers. Pass used magazines/newspapers on to schools, libraries, and retirement homes.
  • Use electronic mail or route slips for interoffice communication.
  • Use erasable marker boards or bulletin boards in common areas for office communication.
  • Use half-page memo forms, when possible, to reduce paper usage.
  • Use recycled-content paper for your copier, letterhead, business cards, forms, etc. Print the “chasing arrows” logo, signifying recycled-content, on the paper; your customers will notice and appreciate it.
  • Use reusable lunch containers instead of paper and plastic bags.
  • Whenever possible, select white paper for legal pads, phone message pads, promotional material, etc., instead of colored paper, which is not as recyclable. (Ask your supplier about the availability of unbleached paper.)

Office Supplies

  • Ask your suppliers to reduce their packaging.
  • Purchase refillable cartridge pens and mechanical pencils instead of disposable ones.
  • Recharge toner cartridges and reload printer ribbons.
  • Recover and reuse the window envelopes used for employee payroll checks.
  • Recycle cardboard boxes from shipments, or arrange for your supplier to reuse them.
  • Reuse folders and binders, or donate them to schools.
  • Use rechargeable batteries in beepers, flashlights, etc.

Durable Goods

  • Acquire a copier with a duplex function that copies on both sides of the paper.
  • Buy a plain paper fax machine instead of one that uses thermal fax paper, which is not as recyclable.
  • Donate used furnishings, carpet, equipment, production overruns or irregulars, or discontinued items to nonprofit organizations.
  • Instead of throwing away broken equipment, have it repaired. Or, you could sell or donate it to someone who can repair it or use it for parts.
  • Purchase high-quality, durable equipment with good service contracts.
  • Use ceramic or plastic mugs for employees’ drinks, instead of disposables.
  • Use recycled paper for the fax machine. Decrease the size of the cover sheets; use self-stick cover sheets; or, use a rubber stamp with message lines.