Odd Peak

Waste Generation: What Office Materials Usually End Up as Junk

Waste generation is a global problem that seems so hard to resolve. Every year, the municipal solid waste production reaches more than 2 billion metric tons and is expected to increase by 70% if necessary measures are not put in place. Despite the massive campaign of reuse-reduce-recycle, only 13.5% of current global waste generated is recycled, 5.5% is composted, and more than one-third is still being dumped or incinerated.

Offices are one of the sources of bulk junk. An average office worker produces at least 4.40 pounds of waste daily, from paper, food scraps, and plastics. Considering the time spent in the workplace, you would not choose to proceed with the computation of the volume of waste generated in the office. Learning how to minimize the use of office materials, and the proper disposal of the used items is a better way to start the challenge of waste reduction.

Paper and printed materials

Paper is a standard junk item produced in offices. It comprises 70% of the total office junk, and includes written communications, printing errors, bills, handouts, and packaging materials. On average, a worker uses at least 23 new sheets of paper, and about 2 pounds of paperboard products. Some businesses practice regular disposal of paper through junk removal Washington DC service providers but some fail to monitor the responsible usage of office supplies by employees. The result is a massive pile of paper which ends up as junk without considering it for reuse or recycling.

Electronic products

Since offices focus on the operations of businesses, they are equipped with electronic products to make their work fast. These items include computers, printers, employee biometric equipment, and projectors, to name a few. Due to heavy use or upgrades of technical requirements, this equipment is regularly replaced by new items. No wonder electronic waste accumulates 20 to 50 million metric tons a year. And sadly, these junk items are not waste at all since there are material recovery facilities that can make these e-waste items suitable for repurposing. But only 12.5% of these junk items are recycled.


Offices are also a significant contributor to the accumulation of plastic materials. Aside from the general use of bags and packaging in offices, the use of plastic bottles, at an average of 156 a year per person, also aggravates the waste generation situation. But since plastic is the most-controlled material in terms of lessening its use, some companies are making moves to minimize the production of single-use plastic. Workers are now encouraged to bring reusable bottles and cups to the office – a small step yet with a significant impact on reducing solid waste.

“Green business” is one of the active campaigns for waste reduction, and it includes offices. Although some companies actively participate in this global initiative, there are a few businesses that still lack an adequate response. Still, it is not too late to make a change.