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WASTE WATCHERS BLOG

Helping businesses improve their waste diversion & recycling efforts, one post at a time!

The Facts: Office Workers & Their Waste Generation

From 10,000 sheets of office paper to 500 disposable coffee cups, the average office worker generates a substantial amount of waste every year. Considering the majority of our days are spent in the office, it’s very important to focus on recycling there! Read on to find out how much waste the average office worker generates.

This article was originally published June 2019 and has been updated. The concept of working a 9-to-5 office job often evokes memories of spending more waking hours at your place of business than in your own home. Inevitably, in being more active at work, the average American office worker generated a substantial amount of waste—from 10,000 sheets of office paper to 500 “disposable” coffee cups. When the COVID-19 pandemic sent many workers home, all of our wasteful behaviors followed us to the kitchen, couch, and bedroom. But now, as the economy reopens and companies like Google and Goldman Sachs act as bellwethers leading the nation back to their second homes, the time has arrived to reset how offices think about waste and recycling. With sustainability, efficiency, and employee well-being top of mind, we discuss five materials responsible for the disproportionate waste generation in the office setting, as well as ongoing considerations for a zero-waste future. Let's dive deeper into just how much waste is created in the office...

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'Tis the Season for Recycling Cardboard

During the holiday season, Americans produce an additional one million tons of waste each week! We put together a resource that will help you reduce your waste this holiday season.

  I think most of us can admit that we’ve collectively experienced a strange year, to put it mildly. And as 2020 draws closer to its end, there seems to be a sense of relief that has settled in for many as we wade into the gift-giving season. However, if you’ve read any of RoadRunner’s recent blogs, wishing you a “green” holiday or sharing sustainability tips to encourage more eco-friendly habits during upcoming festivities, you may have picked up that this time of year is responsible for a significant increase in waste generation (see below). Moreover, the average holiday waste figure above is based on data from previous years when much of the world wasn’t living through a global pandemic—An ongoing event that has shifted the way many households live, how businesses operate, and the type of waste we all create.  With this in mind, we wanted to talk about a material that most businesses and households are probably quite familiar with, more so now than ever before: Cardboard!  Given that many of us are working—or, at the very least—shopping from home, we’re likely well aware of how cardboard makes its way into our space, in the form of online orders, takeout meals, ongoing deliveries, office shipments, and more. In an effort to not only educate, but also motivate you, to recycle your cardboard appropriately, we put together an infographic called: Cardboard Recycling 101 to share some interesting facts, explain the lifecycle of this material, and, most importantly, encourage people to reuse, recycle, or upcycle it this holiday season and into the new year.

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Why It's Important To Break Down Cardboard Waste

Are you aware of the consequences that arise from not breaking down your cardboard for disposal? In this blog post, we've assembled a helpful resource that details why 'breaking it down' is important, how properly doing so could create a revenue source for businesses, as well as the best practices to leverage for your cardboard waste.

  In the United States and the European Union alone, around 80 percent of all products sold are packaged in cardboard. However, a shocking 850 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are thrown away annually in the United States. Even more surprising is that the EPA estimates that paper and cardboard materials represent the largest component of municipal solid waste.  If you're a business owner or manager, chances are you generate a lot of cardboard waste, and you understand the importance of recycling this material. But, are you aware of the consequences—especially in added costs—that arise from not breaking down your cardboard for disposal? In this blog post, we've assembled a helpful resource that details why 'breaking it down' is important, how properly doing so could create a revenue source for businesses, as well as the best practices to leverage for your cardboard waste.  Let us know what you think in the comment section below and feel free to share any of our resources from this post on social media if you found it helpful!

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Opening Up About the Environmental Friendliness of Packaging Materials

Product packaging requires a significant amount of raw materials, and now more than ever, we need to prioritize using efficient and sustainable packaging materials. In this post, we take a deep dive into the packaging industry to determine the eco-friendliness of common packaging materials and what major brands are doing to minimize their environmental impact.

From food wrappers, to Amazon boxes, to drink bottles, to toothpaste tubes, most of us don't realize the extent to which product packaging is built into our everyday lives. Product packaging requires a significant amount of raw materials, and now more than ever, we need to prioritize using efficient and sustainable packaging materials. In this post, we take a deep dive into the packaging industry to determine the eco-friendliness of common packaging materials and what major brands are doing to minimize their environmental impact. Continue reading to learn more!

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The Life Cycle Of Recyclables

In this post, we wanted to focus on the 'full picture' of recycling, so we created an infographic that details the series of events that occur during the life cycle of your recyclable materials - from generation, to consumption, to turning the recyclables back into new products.

  If you're a frequent reader of our blog, you know we like to include interesting recycling tidbits in our posts, like the fact that you can recycle an aluminum can, and after only 60 days, it will be back on a store shelf. Or for every ton of mixed paper that is recycled, 17 trees are saved. In this post, we wanted to focus on the 'full picture' of recycling, so we created an infographic that details the series of events that occur during the life cycle of your recyclable materials - from generation, to consumption, to turning the recyclables back into new products. Let us know what you think in the comments below and please share with your colleagues who would be interested in learning more about this!

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manufacturing: recycling challenges & opportunities

We created this post to help you understand the unique challenges involved with recycling in the manufacturing industry and what you can do to streamline your operations, increase diversion from landfill, and control costs.

  Manufacturing businesses in the United States generate an estimated 7.6 billion tons of waste every year. Simply put, waste & recycling for manufacturers should not follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Developing systems for managing the wide-range and high volume of waste materials can be rather challenging. We created this post to help you understand the unique challenges involved with recycling in the manufacturing industry and what you can do to streamline your operations, increase diversion from landfill, and control costs.

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The Lives of Recyclables

Have you ever wondered what happens to your materials after they have been tossed in the recycling bin? After collection, each material is set on its own path to become a new product. Learn about the recyclables’ journey from the recycling bin back to the shelf.

  Have you ever wondered what happens to your materials after they have been tossed in the recycling bin? After collection, each material is set on its own path to become a new product. Some materials can cycle through the process indefinitely, while others can only be recycled a few times before they lose their quality. Continue reading to learn about the recyclables' journey from the recycling bin back to the shelf.  

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Streamlined Solutions for Supermarkets

Every year, the United States throws out nearly 133 billion pounds of food, and supermarkets throw out around 10% of it. Learn how smarter collection systems can ensure the grocery industries materials are recycled efficiently.

  Every year, the United States throws out nearly 133 billion pounds of food, and supermarkets throw out around 10% of it. When businesses in the grocery industry don't have efficient recycling programs in place, their food waste becomes heavy and expensive to throw away as trash and can contaminate other materials when they're mixed together. In our post, we will uncover why the grocery industry sends significant amounts of recyclable and compostable materials to landfill, and identify how smarter collection systems can ensure their materials are recycled efficiently and correctly.

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What Do Your Recyclables Become?

In our post, we discuss what happens to your materials after you toss them in your recycling bin! Check out the many uses your recycled materials have.

  Have you thought about what the materials you use every day were in a previous life? The fleece jacket you’re wearing right now may have been made with recycled plastic from water bottles. Or, the tissues next to your desk may be made from recycled computer paper. On past blog posts, we’ve focused a lot on how, why and what to recycle, but below we discuss what happens to your materials after you toss them in your recycling bin! Continue reading to learn the many uses your recycled materials have.

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TOOLS & GUIDES - NEW!

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Learn how our custom recycling system can work for your business
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Find out what items cause recyclable contamination issues
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Learn about common waste invoice charges and how to avoid them
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A step-by-step guide to conducting your own waste audit
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