Workplace waste: It’s time to sort it out

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(Originally published in the March 2012 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal - Going Green feature)

Workplaces are busy and we often forget to manage our waste, even though it’s both our responsibility and the law in Nova Scotia.

Creating a simple sorting set-up in any business is surprisingly easy and will drastically reduce what’s going to landfills. In Nova Scotia, we’re leaders in waste reduction at home but we still have lots of room for improvement at work.

Check out these tips to make 
your workplace “greener”:

• Sorting: Use clearly identified bins to separate organics, paper, recyclables (including plastics), refundables and garbage. There are many different kinds of multi-stream sorting units you can purchase or you can simply ensure there are individual bags or bins for each. Take turns in your workplace managing the waste sorting to ensure it gets done properly or ask for a volunteer to champion the task.


: Ensure bins are in a central area or that there are mini-bins in any place food is consumed or prepared. If your workplace has an area where an inside or outside compost could be set up, vermi-composting can make for an interesting and fun office project. Vermicomposting involves utilizing worms to create a mixture of decomposing food waste or bedding materials.

• Paper
: Create a “paperless” workplace. Store documents on a central server instead of filing paper copies, but be sure to have a backup plan. If you must print, do so on both sides of the piece of paper; this will save half the amount of paper instantly.


Recyclables: Many plastics can be recycled in Nova Scotia. Refer to your local sorting guide and recycle as much as possible. Look for ways that plastic containers can be reduced or reused, rather than recycled right away.

• Refundables: Collect refundable beverage containers and use the refund to support social functions at work or to assist a local charity. Refundables do not need to be sorted by type of container.

• Garbage: If your waste collection requires a hauler, see if other businesses around you want to combine services so you can share in the cost. When following your region’s sorting guide, you’ll be amazed how little waste your business will generate.


Learn more…

Every municipality has waste reduction educators who provide free consultations on how to reduce your waste.
 To locate one near you or for more ideas on how to reduce workplace waste and “sort it out”, visit 
You can also share your “green” workplace tips at

*Read more "Going Green" feature stories at:

Organizations: Nova Scotia Business Journal

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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