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For business owners and managers

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Waste could cost businesses between five and 20 times more than they realise. Costs include materials, revenue, labour, energy and liability risks if waste management is not correctly handled.

Becoming a more environmentally-friendly business through better waste reduction does more than save money. It can also improve staff morale and make business more attractive to potential employees. Linking recognition and staff rewards to waste reduction can keep staff happy and save money.

Lead by example and your business will gain respect.


This means avoiding waste in the first place and taking a 'big picture' approach to waste minimisation. Waste reduction needs to be part of your business philosophy and staff should be encouraged and rewarded in their wastewise efforts.

Tips to get you started

Buy green

Green purchasing means choosing products less damaging to our environment and human health. Green products can be categorised by:

This means recycled products will become cheaper and more readily available. You are recycling effectively and closing the loop if you buy recycled products.

Green buying tips

The New South Wales (NSW) Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water have some useful resources on purchasing and using office equipment more sustainably.


When you can't avoid waste altogether, aim to reduce it by cutting back on quantities and changing simple habits to make the most of your equipment and consumables.

Reducing tips


Reusing materials ensures you get double the value. Before you throw away something - even before you seek to recycle it - think if it could be used again in the same way, or for some other purpose.

Reusing tips


Recycling means turning valuable materials or resources into the same thing, or something else that is useful. Depending on the workplace, recycling can be done at the desk or via centralised bins.

Be wary of contaminating recyclables as this will spoil the recycling effort. Contamination means putting anything in recycling bins which does not belong there – refer to the Waste reduction resources web page.

Recycling tips

Note: Recycled paper is not suitable for long-term records (that need to be kept for at least ten years) or for documents destined for archives. The Queensland State Archives has a Guide to Paper Selection to cover various uses.

Want more information?

The NSW Department of Environment and Conservation has developed a comprehensive guide for building managers regarding waste reduction in office buildings.

Develop a green purchasing policy and make informed purchasing decisions – research and prioritise supplies and equipment with high use, reuse and 'end of life' recycling potential.

Related information

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