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Source Reduction Tips in the Office

What is Source Reduction?
Eliminating waste before it is created. It involves the design, manufacture, purchase, or use of materials and products to reduce the amount or toxicity of what is thrown away. Best of all, practicing Source Reduction can save you money!
Source Reduction Tips to Save You Money
Save money by saving paper:
  • Make two-sided copies
  • Test the copier before making long runs
  • Post a list of paper-saving tips at each copy machine
  • Circulate one copy of a memo rather than issue one to every member of the department
  • Update memo distribution lists periodically
  • Place announcements on bulletin boards, rather then sending individual memos
  • Use the back of old letterhead and memos for copies of drafts and internal documents
  • Use the backs of old envelopes for phone messages
  • Use the telephone instead of fax, where appropriate
  • Eliminate fax cover sheets by using stick-on notes instead of cover pages
  • Use E-mail and voice mail instead of memos.
  • Reduce the size of business forms
  • Send bills and invoices in reversible "two-use" envelopes
  • Only use targeted direct mailings
  • Do your document composing, editing, and proofing on-screen; then view before printing
  • Make reports and other documents available on-line
  • Use a central filing system
What purchasing agents can do:
  • Buy only what you need
  • Request reduced packaging from your suppliers.  Include requirements in bid specifications and contracts
  • Give a price preference for those items that meet source-reduced guidelines
  • Implement an inventory management system to control waste
  • Purchase supplies in reusable containers
Eliminate disposable items and reuse things where possible:
  • Consider replacing towel dispensers with hot air hand dryers in rest rooms
  • Consider using retread tires on fleet autos
  • Rent infrequently used tools and audio/visual equipment
  • Practice preventive maintenance on office equipment to prolong life
  • Use refillable toner cartridges
  • Buy refillable pens, mechanical pencils, and tape dispensers (and reusable calendars)
  • Buy sturdy office supplies and equipment (staplers, scissors, etc.)
  • Donate furniture and equipment that are no longer needed
  • Reupholster office furnishings instead of discarding
  • In the cafeteria, use reusable table settings glassware, ceramic mugs, table linen, napkins, etc.
  • Shred waste paper and use it for packing material
  • Use rechargeable batteries where possible
Contact the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works, Recycling Division for more information at (410) 222-7951.
  • EPA, Waste Prevention Pays Off, (EPA/530-K-92-004), (800) 424-9346
  • EPA, Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste, (EPA/530-K-92-004), (800) 424-9346
  • EPA, Reusable News, quarterly newsletter, (800) 424-9346



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Anne Arundel County, Maryland. 44 Calvert Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21401 | Tele: (410) 222-7000