Helping The Missouri Recycling Association Reduce Waste in The Workplace


Last week Office Essentials was honored to present at the Missouri Recycling Association’s annual conference on the topic of reducing waste in the workplace. We were part of a panel led by Jean Ponzi who presented waste minimization best practices from several St. Louis Green Business Challenge companies – including us.

It’s a topic near and dear to our hearts here at OE as we believe reducing waste from the entire procurement cycle not only makes sense from a green standpoint but a business one as well.

The presentation went over our SmartChoice program, in which we work with our customers to analyze the entire procurement cycle from order placement to end of product life. In practice, this is quite an involved process, but when we present it to an audience that may or may not work with us, we break it down into tips they can take back and hold their own vendors more accountable.

Here’s what it looks like when we go through SmartChoice with a customer:

Rethink the procurement process


It’s quite a detailed process when companies work with us to analyze everything: — from how and what they order, to how it’s delivered, to what it’s delivered in, to how it’s paid for and finally, what happens to the product at the end of its life cycle — they quickly find they save lots of time, costs and carbon.

Here are the key takeaways from the presentation

  • Product Selection: Challenge your vendors to help you slim down the products you use into a standards list.
  • Cost & Product Savings: Minimize paper and toner usage by encouraging employees to “think before they print.” Sounds obvious, right? But did you know 2,000 pages per worker per year go straight from the printer into the recycle bin?
  • Technology: Consider reducing paper usage by implementing Managed Print Services or way of storing documents other than by hard copy – this can reduce paper and toner expense anywhere from 15% – 30%.
  • Packing & Shipping: Ask your vendors if they would be interested in taking back the boxes and packing material they use in delivering your goods – we do.
  • Deliveries: Buy from as few sources as possible and have a designated day of the week for deliveries, and institute a no-idling policy at your dock.
  • Customer Care: Work with vendors who are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals by continuously reviewing your efforts to reduce waste and working with your employees to promote good habits!
  • End of Life Product Management: Recycle! If you can’t, have a “store” in your office for employees to browse through unneeded supplies to find what they need before reordering, or find a local non-profit or charitable organization to donate gently used office supplies and furniture! BONUS = Tax Write Off!

We were honored to be able to present the program to the Missouri Recycling Association. If you’d like to see it for yourself, or if you have any questions you can email us anytime.

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Greg Bussmann
About Greg Bussmann 318 Articles
Greg Bussmann is a Marketing Specialist at Office Essentials. He is a lifelong, proud St. Louisan, a technology enthusiast, and father to four teenage daughters. He spends his spare time providing rides, chaperoning dates and trying to keep track of his credit cards. He also enjoys watching the St. Louis Cardinals when it's his turn to use the remote. Email Greg anytime.