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VA Green Routine

Waste Reduction Tips

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  • Save and reuse office supplies such as binders, folders, and clips. See related fact (1)
  • Encourage reusable dishware at canteens and cafeterias.
  • Conserve paper by using signs in a central location instead of passing out flyers.
  • Create a temporary location for unused office supplies.
  • Where handouts for a meeting are necessary, email them to attendees to reduce the likelihood of excess printouts. See related fact (2)
  • Edit electronically, use projectors rather than handouts.
  • ALWAYS use double-sided printing and copying. See related fact (3)
  • Single-space documents when possible.
  • Share copies of internal publications and documents.
  • Post office announcements on bulletin boards.
  • Reuse or eliminate fax cover sheets.
  • Use reusable or two-way envelopes and mailing pouches.
  • Utilize internal email and web communication tools.
  • Use paperless technology such as a SharePoint meeting workspaces or website, LiveMeeting or video-telephone.
  • Save energy on lights and air conditioning by turning them off when not in use.
  • Use reusable coffee filters.
  • Where appropriate, save paper by setting printer margins to .75.
  • Keep a paper savings tray by every printer so employees can redeposit paper that has text only on one side (ex. non-sensitive fax printouts).
  • If printers have multiple paper trays, reserve one for the reuse of scrap paper that has text on one side.
  • When printing use the “shrink to fit” function where appropriate.
  • Proofread your work carefully before printing.
  • Save toner ink by printing “draft quality prints” which use less ink.
  • Try saving paper by using the reduction feature on your copier.
  • Remove your name from junk mail lists.
    Direct Mail’s — Do Not Mail List
  • Use reusable coffee mugs and lunch boxes.
  • Don’t fill an entire coffee kettle to make one cup.
  • Buy sugar, cream and other supplies in bulk containers, not individually wrapped.

Did you know…

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  1. …that every day, Maryland homes and businesses throw away 41 million pounds of solid waste? That is enough to make a wall (3’W x 6’W) that would go from Baltimore to Miami nearly 6 times.
    Maryland Department of the Environment, 2005
  2. …that the average U.S office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year?  The average American uses approximately one 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree in paper and wood products per year.
    EPA — Wastes - Resource Conservation - Common Wastes & Materials - Paper Recycling (citing Oregon Department of Environmental Quality & Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory)
  3. …that the average employee wastes 1.5 lbs of paper each day?
    Florida Department of Environmental Protection — Reduce Reuse and Recycle for National Clean Off Your Desk Day