Biz Spotlights

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Reuse at Work: A Simple and Cost Saving Approach to Workplace Sustainability


It can be tough for businesses to implement sustainability initiatives when they may require changes to processes, added expenditures, or additional work for your staff. Fortunately, there is an extremely low-effort way for you to green your businessand it actually saves money! The cost of office supplies for new and current employees can add up, but by simply adding a reuse space or program at your business, you can keep items that are still in working condition from being tossed or placed in long-term storage. Not only does this save the environment through waste reduction, but it saves your business on the bottom line. Being able to keep good supplies in circulation can definitely reduce the amount of new supplies that you need to purchase. Read on for tips on how to run a successful reuse campaign at your office.


Make sure that all employees are made aware of the new reuse program and how it works. Utilize existing communication channels to get the word out you could post information on an intranet system, workplace social media, bulletin boards, or simply send an email. Feel free to make this a part of your employee engagement. Make using the program, and the communication about it, fun and interesting. You can even give the program a catchy name or acronym. One reuse program at University of Vermont is called OSCAR (Office Supply Collection and Reuse) and University of Oregon's program is called ROSE (Reusable Office Supply Exchange). Naming can help people remember the program and increase their likelihood of acceptance.


Do your best to pick a place that is convenient and comfortable to access. If the supplies are kept at a site that is too far away or not temperature controlled, that could create barriers to utilization. Make the space as inviting as possible to encourage visits.

Design & Organization

It helps if you can provide some type of organization system for the supplies. Doing so will help keep things looking tidy and help ensure that items can be found quickly and easily. This organization system can be as simple as placing a few labels on drawers or shelves and leaving out some rubber bands or cable ties to help prevent the tangling of any corded/wired items. Having a few small containers or magnets out for the smaller items like staples, binder clips and paper clips is another great way to keep things looking neat and orderly.

Write it into Processes

If you have staff members who are responsible for ordering items for new and current employees, make it a part of their process to shop the reuse area first. It's a simple step that helps make use of the program a regular habit – and keeps the cost of new supplies down.

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