5 Tips on Recycling Your Home and Office Supplies and Electronics

Save money by conserving and properly disposing of home and office supplies. We’ve all been there. You print out that report or memo and notice a misspelt word. You print it again just to realize you missed some commas. The third draft looks great, but later you decide on a better title. Finally, it’s perfect, but what about those spent ink cartridges and sheets of paper? Before you throw them away, consider that you could be costing yourself—and the environment. You probably already know that recycling can save landfill space. But did you know there could also be something in it for you?

Here are 5 tips for conserving resources while doing good:

1. Create a recycling program
a. Almost all types of office papers are recyclable. So is most plastic, aluminum and cardboard. Recycling at home can be quick and easy. Just separate your goods and drop them in the appropriate bins. Some cities allow food scraps in the yard waste bins, which ultimately is composted.
b. Find out if your office has a program. There are many organizations that can help you start or expand office recycling. According to a 2012 study found at https://recyclingatwork.org/benefits/, “employees who feel they can make an impact on social and environmental issues while on the job are twice as satisfied with work as those who don’t.”

• Don’t forget to update your website letting the public know about your efforts. You’ll receive national recognition as an industry leader.

2. Buy recycled products
a. Just recycling is great, but what about buying recycled products? They take less energy to make, and less resources overall compared to manufacturing entirely new products. This encourages manufacturers to create sustainable ways to make our everyday items. Search for eco-friendly companies and support local businesses.
b. Buy used or refurbished furniture and equipment for your home and office. You’ll save money and feel good that you kept all those items from the landfill. Also consider upgrading your existing equipment over buying it new.

• Keep an eye out for local and federal rebate programs for ‘green’ products.

3. Recycle office equipment
a. Did you know that computers can be recycled? So can cell phones, PDAs, pagers, chargers and rechargeable batteries. You might even be able to sell or donate your electronics or furniture to a worthy cause. See if a local business or chain will give you store credit toward a new device.
• Ensure you follow manufacturer specifications for wiping devices of personal and proprietary information.

4. Conserve paper
a. Find paperless ways to communicate, including email and sharing documents through the cloud. Save used paper for scrap, print double-sided and only print the pages you need. You’ll save money and conserve natural resources.

• Want to recycle items that aren’t typical recyclables? For a fee there are companies that will collect and disassemble your items into their recyclable components.

5. Recycle empty inkjet and toner cartridges
a. Not only are you saving on paper by printing less, you’ll also save more on ink. But when it’s time to finally replace those cartridges, recycle them through mail-back programs or local retailers. Some stores offer coupons or store credit, so shop around.

Recycling your home and office supplies can be simple and cost effective. Get your entire home and office involved, and watch morale improve. You’ll save money, save the environment, and maybe have some fun too.