How to Recycle Hazardous Office Supplies

published Dec 20, 2015
2 min read


The rapid economic development and staggering rates of consumption put a serious strain on the environment. Offices are not only about tons of paper, and without sophisticated products like computer networks, printers and electronic equipment, it would be impossible to imagine the operations. They are manufactured using natural materials, but also altered with various other elements like plastics and acids. So, when something goes wrong, or an appliance breaks down, problems arise not only for the office administrator but for the nature as well.

  • The milestone of green office practices is a paper recycling program. This material is responsible for a bulk of office waste, and it ends up in landfill every day. It is possible to supplement the paper use by going digital, but that does not address the root of the problem. If the office manager is unaware of how to proceed with the program, bear in mind that there are a lot of great online resources that provide guidance and tips. Also, it is advisable to put glass, plastic and paper waste in separate bins to make the recycling process easier.
  • Keeping with the energy efficiency trends is on the roll and many offices feature fluorescent light bulbs.  Durable and cost-effective, they still have limited lifespan. Moreover, they also have a small amount of mercury, which is a peril to both the ecosystem and humans. Other materials like glass and metal, however, can be reused, making it all the more important to keep the bulbs on your recycling radar. Hardware stores and other retailers often sport in-store recycling of bulbs, so make good use of it.


  • Make an effort to reuse elaborate components such as printer ink and toner cartridges. For recycling and refilling, many companies turn to local (re) manufacturers that offer collection bins and services. There are also DIY refill kits available, although the cost-effectiveness of this is up for a debate. Regardless, reuse approach is excellent because it means that no new plastic is created. It is, however, not possible to do this an indefinite number of times, so other practices should be in place as well. One of them is recycling cartridges when they reach an end of their life.
  • With the surge of computing technologies, electronic hardware is quickly made obsolete. A great deal of discarded monitors and computers is found in landfills, and it seems that people are not used to recycling the high-tech waste. This is a burning issue since that way arsenic, beryllium, lead and other toxics are leaked into the ground. Furthermore, e-waste has a certain amount of silver, gold, and other valuable materials that can be recycled. Thus, dispose of high-tech waste using the services of a trusted recycler who minimizes pollution and health risks.
  • Do not overlook the batteries as well. One of the ways to gather and recycle them is to introduce a battery recycling box, but it would be also wise to check the local collection service. The similar recipe works for old cell phones that often end in god forgotten places to collect dust or worse. The level of damage to the environment is not proportional to their size, as mobile devices contain nickel, cobalt, and plastics, among other harmful substances. As an alternative, get to know drop-off locations or return some components like mobile batteries to phone outlets and retails.


Raising the bar

To tackle the challenges of modern business, embrace the reduce-reuse-recycle philosophy. Recycling the office waste prevents toxins from entering the environment, while reusing something multiple times enables us to cut the operational costs and further reduce the impact on the ecosystem. Make good use of local options for recycling office supplies and implement recycling best practices. This does not come naturally to most people, which is why raising the recycling awareness in the workplace is of the utmost importance.