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Facts about office waste

Office Waste Facts

Millions of people head to an office every day for work in the UK. Up to 45% of waste is produced at work with everything from high-rise city centre offices to those in business parks on the edge of town making a significant contribution.

According to recent research, around 70% of office waste is recyclable. Sadly, lots are thrown away with general waste and can end up in landfill. This includes high volumes of paper as well as old electronic equipment (like computers and broken printers) and even food waste from lunches and office kitchen activities.

Get greater insight into how much rubbish offices generate around the country and why having a strong recycling plan in place is important with these office waste facts and statistics.

What causes office waste?

Many activities produce waste in offices every day, such as food scraps and packaging thrown away from lunches and paper waste from printing. Other waste types are created less frequently like computers and IT equipment when they need replacing. Much of this is unavoidable but there are ways to reduce waste in offices.

The main causes of office waste can be explained by each of the main waste types:

  • Paper waste – used printed paper documents, posters, and leaflets
  • Packaging waste – cardboard boxes and wrap from deliveries and plastic drink bottles from office staff
  • Electronic waste – old computers being updated and replacing broken printers, photocopiers, and kitchen appliances
  • Printer ink and cartridges – empty printer and toner cartridges and waste ink
  • Confidential waste – documents for destruction containing private and sensitive data
  • Food waste – leftover food from catered office parties and events
  • Old furniture – any broken furniture or chairs, desks, and tables being replaced as part of an office refurbishment
How to reduce office waste

How much waste does an office produce?

The amount of waste an office produces depends on its size, industry, and its waste management plan. It’s estimated that the average office waste per employee is 2kg of waste every day. This includes paper, packaging, food scraps, coffee cups, and general waste. However, this varies between different offices.

Office waste statistics

There’s been a shift to hybrid working in recent years, but many workers still head into offices daily. In the UK there are 5.6 million private sector businesses and many of these have their own offices. Each one produces a wide array and varying volumes of waste.

Get a top-level view of how much rubbish is generated with these office waste statistics:

  • The average office waste per employee is about 2kg of waste each day
  • In total the average office worker generates about 500kg of waste annually
  • On average every office worker throws away 156 plastic bottles in a year
  • Every day an office employee uses about 900g of paper-based products
  • It’s estimated that office staff get through 500 coffee cups a year with many of these disposable cups
  • Between 20 and 30% of all waste produced by office staff is food waste (not including wrappers and packaging)
  • In the USA it’s estimated that 45% of office paper ends up in landfill sites
  • A huge 76% of people admit to printing non-work related documents in their office
empty desk in an office.

Office paper waste facts

There’s been a noticeable decline in printing within offices as we transition to a more digital world, which means less paper is wasted. However, offices are still a big source of waste paper due to printing, photocopying, storing documents, packaging materials, and general daily work. Find out more with these office paper waste facts and stats:

  • Around 70% of the total waste created by offices is paper
  • An average office uses 50 sheets of paper a day through unnecessary printing
  • 30% of printed papers in offices are never picked up
  • About 75% of sheets used in offices end up in the paper recycling bin
  • Office workers get through around 10,000 sheets of A4 paper every year
  • One sheet of A4 paper requires five litres of water to produce, which means about 50,000 litres are used by office workers annually just for paper
  • Offices in the USA get through around 12 trillion sheets of paper annually
  • Almost half of all paper documents are thrown away within 24 hours of being printed
  • And nearly a third of documents printed in offices never get collected
Read more paper waste facts

How should I get rid of office waste?

Any type of rubbish produced in offices is commercial waste and must be removed safely and legally by licensed waste carriers. It’s vital you have an effective recycling and waste management plan in place with the right type and sizes of bins to separate and store rubbish properly.

At Business Waste we can provide a wide range of free bins for your office. There are no delivery or rental charges, you just pay for collection. Then you can arrange removals on a regular daily, weekly, or fortnightly basis to suit your schedule. Office waste is recycled, recovered, and kept away from landfill where possible.

Book waste collection from your office anywhere in the UK today. Get a free quote for office waste collection – call 0800 211 8390 or contact us online. One of our friendly and expert team can help if you have any questions about getting rid of your office waste.

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