When I worked in an office my typical work day looked a little something like this… I walked to work and picked up a coffee along the way. I’d pop out at lunch time to buy a meal deal. And then in the middle of the afternoon, I’d take a quick break to grab another coffee. That meant at least 2 coffee cups per day would head to landfill. And my meal deal would include a pile of packaging that couldn’t go in the recycling. In terms of a zero waste lifestyle, I was breaking So. Many. Rules.
As much as I did try to recycle in the office, reducing is always better than recycling. And yes, I know that I could have taken a lunch with me and asked for my coffee in a reusable cup! But that kind of prep requires levels of organisation that I just do not possess. Since quitting my job, I discovered an interesting side perk. Working from home makes it far easier to adopt a zero waste lifestyle!
A company called Cleaning Services Group recently got in touch to share this fascinating infographic about the Zero-Waste Retail Revolution. In their words:
“According to Bepakt, there are now around 150 packaging-free markets around the world. Our infographic investigates how these “zero-waste” stores aim to make consumers be more mindful of the environmental impact of their shopping habits. The graphic outlines the many business benefits of going zero-waste and also offers some practical tips to help retailers get started on their own zero-waste journey today.”
This really got me thinking about how freelancers and work from home heroes can help to lead a zero waste lifestyle. After all, we have literally no excuses! Below the infographic, I share some of the ways I’ve managed to cut down on my waste since working from home…
No more printing
Have you ever been in one of those pointless meetings where everyone gets a print out of the meeting points, and then at the end of the meeting the exact same document is emailed around? That is a thing of the past now that I’m in charge! Since discovering DocuSign, I don’t even need to print out contracts and NDAs anymore. The only paper I use is a notepad made from recycled paper. And sticky notes have been replaced by a white board.
No food packaging waste
When I’m working from home, I make my lunch every day rather than taking a packed lunch or buying a meal deal. This cuts down on waste packaging, but I’m trying to take this further. I try to buy loose fruit and veg as much as possible – I use these bags – and I try to buy things like rice, beans and pulses in bulk rather than the small bags or tins you find at the supermarket.
No more food waste
When you’re working in a big office, you can’t really hog a lot of space in the fridge. This means that if you can’t finish your lunch at lunch time, it has nowhere to go but in the bin. This is no longer an issue as I almost always enjoy my lunch at home now and leftovers can be stored in a reusable tupperware.
No coffee cups
Working from home means that I no longer get my coffee fix on my walk to work. Instead, I grind my own coffee beans and make a big pot every morning. If I do go out for coffee, I’ll take it in a mug rather than a to-go cup because I actually have the time to sit down and enjoy it!
Fewer trips to the store
When I was working in an office, grocery shopping was nearly always something I did on my way home from work. And wouldn’t you know I literally always forgot to bring bags. Now, it’s something I can find the time to do during the day, which means I can bring bags from home and cut down on waste.
No more bottled water
This was an issue specific to my workplace, but the water from the tap was always a little strange. The pipes in the building were really old and sometimes you’d find dirt floating in your drink. So, I started buying around four big bottles of water every week. Not ideal for the planet, and nowhere near a zero waste lifestyle. Now, I can safely drink from the tap and I don’t have to lug giant bottles of water around!