Tips for Setting Up a Zero-Waste Office

Have you heard of the zero-waste movement? Are you interested in making more environmentally friendly changes in your own office? Check out our top tips for setting up a zero-waste office!

First, let’s take a look at the origins of the zero-waste movement.

Who Started the Zero-Waste Movement?

With all of the information out there, it might be hard to discern when the zero waste movement started. Better yet, you might be asking who started the zero waste movement.

It seems that recycling and reusing practices are almost as old as human history itself. However, in the 1970s a more serious investment in being more eco-conscious began. Earth Day’s first appearance was in 1970.

By the end of the 1990s, the first legislation was introduced.

After that, each decade has its viral movement. In the 2000’s it was the Zero Waste International Alliance.

In 2010, Bea Johnson was featured in the New York Times for her zero waste work, and in 2013 she published her book on the topic. She is often credited with starting the zero waste movement through her blog Zero Waste Home.

The most recent zero-waste proponent that many people know is Lauren Singer. She is a follower of Bea Johnson and has her zero-waste storefront selling only zero-waste products.

Top Tips for Setting Up a Zero Waste Office

  • Use less paper
  • Establish visible composting and recycling bins
  • Use recyclable products
  • Donate or sell any old electronic products
  • Use eco-friendly office supplies
  • Install a Terracycle Box

Use Less Paper

One thing you can do immediately is to use less paper. Email office notes as much as possible or take e-notes during meetings on an iPad. Making your carbon footprint smaller is one of the best ways to make your office more eco-friendly. It costs nothing, and it is quick and easy.

Establish Visible Composting and Recycling Bins

Establishing visible composting bins in the staff kitchen or recycling bins throughout the office is another great way to implement zero-waste habits. The composting bins aren’t too expensive or difficult to get generally.

If you are the boss of an office space, you can take things into your own hands and set this up. If you are not the boss of an office, bring this up at the next staff meeting, and maybe some people will chip in to the idea.

Use Recyclable Products

One less conventional way to implement zero-waste habits in your office is to invest in recyclable or recycled products. There are many furniture pieces made from recycled products or with recyclable materials on the market like Sellex.

You can also purchase recycled products like pens, pencils, paper, clipboards, and more online. It is also helpful to avoid throwing away items like paper clips and avoid using staples or other single-use products when there is a multi-use product available. We will cover more on that later.

Donate or Sell Any Old Electronic Products

If you need a new computer or television, do not dispose of the old products once you get the new ones. Instead, donate them to other offices or sell them online on a marketplace. Online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace draw large crowds due to the low prices and convenient pickup options.

Instead of throwing them out to be disposed of in a landfill, do your part to help up-and-coming offices or people looking for an affordable electronic item.

Use Eco-Friendly Office Supplies

Eco-friendly and zero-waste supplies are available more often now than a couple of decades ago when the zero-waste movement started. You might think these supplies would be expensive, but this is not always the case. Businesses like Earth Hero, Sellex, OfficeDepot, and more offer products made from recyclable materials for an affordable price.

Install a Terracycle

Installing a Terracycle box is another easy way to encourage zero-waste actions in your office. These boxes cost about $140, and they are helpful to those who need to dispose of single-use products like rubber bands, empty tape dispensers, and more. You can recycle any non-electronic office tool in these boxes.

The process is simple: order the box, place it in your office, and ship it back to Terracycle, where they will dispose of it.

The price includes:

  • the box
  • a prepaid return label
  • processing and recycling of all materials in the box
  • customer support from our team of experts.


We’re sure you want all the information about zero-waste office supplies, so we prepared this FAQ section with extra details.

Where Can I Find Zero-Waste Office Supplies?

There are many zero-waste office supplies on the market available at stores like OfficeMax.

However, some companies sell these supplies specifically, like Earth Hero. Earth Hero has an assortment of office supplies like pens, papers, sticky notes, pencils, scissors, and even a computer mouse.

Should I Buy All New Materials or Use the Materials I Already Have Even if They are Not Zero-Waste Compliant?

One of the basic tenets of zero-waste is to use up what you have before making a complete lifestyle switch. Use what you have, even if it is not compliant with zero-waste philosophies.

Gradually throw out your plastic or single-use products, then replace them with zero-waste alternatives. Over time, you will have an entire office of zero-waste supplies.

For instance, if you have plastic pens in your office use them until the ink runs dry before buying zero-waste pens.

Is Keeping a Zero-Waste Office Difficult?

It might be difficult at first, but if everyone in your office is on board, you should be able to make progress.

Consider holding meetings to inform everyone of the things you would like to implement and let them add feedback, so everyone has a say in the way the office is trying to change.


So, are you ready to take the jump and make an impact on the office? Follow our tips for setting up a zero-waste office and reap the rewards.

Zero-waste is a lifestyle that takes a lot of commitment, both on the individual level and professional level. It is not immediately attainable. It demands a consistent commitment to the movement. So think about starting today.


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