Cost-cutting is the name of the game during tough economic times, and one of the best cost-cutting strategies is to reduce waste. It frees up cash and generates measurable environmental benefits.
You may have already taken the first steps toward a more efficient office: turning off lights when rooms aren’t in use, switching to more efficient light bulbs and making minor adjustments to office-supply purchases.
Four more strategies for tightening belts and looking like the office hero:
1. Move from paper to electronic communications. Example: Verizon saved more than $8 million in paper and administrative costs by moving 3 million customers to a paperless-billing system. And it saved another $2.7 million by moving its payroll, training and HR systems online.
2. Squeeze more efficiency out of the paper you do use. Example: The Department of Public Works in Clifton, N.J., uses scrap paper as fax paper before recycling. As a result, the department saves $400 in paper costs annually.
3. Replace paper cups with mugs. Example: Genzyme Corp., a biotechnology company, distributed reusable ceramic mugs to employees, which significantly reduced (by 80%) the weight of its paper cup waste and lowered its landfill fees.
4. Redesign products or packaging. Example: In 2004, Limited Brands created new design standards for its merchandise boxes, which kept about 87 tons of cardboard from being discarded as waste and saved the company $215,000 in purchasing costs.
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