Waste Management Program fact sheet
Division of Environmental Quality Director: Ed Galbraith
PUB2990
An office space showing a laptop, coffee cup, and various office supplies

No matter what type of job you have, there is always something you can do to make your office more environmentally friendly, including recycling, using eco-friendly materials and reducing waste. An environmentally friendly workplace means a healthier place to work. 

Commuting

Transportation accounts for a large chunk of all greenhouse gas emissions. If you live close to work, and the weather is nice, try biking or walking to the office rather than driving. If you live too far away to walk or bike, try using public transportation or ask co-workers who live near you if they would like to carpool. Some companies allow their employees to telecommute, or work from home, to complete assignments that do not require their physical presence in the office. All these options not only reduce the number of cars on the road, but save you money in the long run by cutting down on gas costs and wear and tear on your vehicle. 

Printing

While going completely paperless may not be possible, try to only print what you must. Print using the double-sided printing option on your printer. 

Recycling

There are plenty of items around your office that can be recycled, such as paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and ink cartridges. If your office does not provide recycling bins, ask if a recycling area can be created. If that is not possible, you can set aside recyclable items in your workspace and drop them off at a recycling bin later.  

Office Items

If possible, place real plants throughout your office and other indoor work areas to help filter the air and create a more peaceful and enjoyable environment. Use energy saving lights and LED light bulbs. Choose environmentally friendly office supplies, such as recycled paper and pencils. 

Celebrations

When holding small events to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions, use reusable plates, bowls and utensils. Use a reusable water bottle, coffee mug or thermos for your beverages. This alone cuts down on items that would be thrown away in our landfills. 

Meetings/Conferences

What makes a meeting environmentally friendly? It is planned and carried out in a way to minimize negative environmental impacts. The idea that eco-friendly meetings are more expensive is a myth. In fact, eco-friendly meetings are a good way to save money. Whether you are hosting, planning or supplying a meeting or large event, you can conserve resources and reduce your company's expenses by adopting just one environmentally responsible practice. 

Start with reducing and reusing:

  • Use online invitations or registration.
  • Use mailing labels with water based adhesives.
  • Use self-mailers for meeting materials.
  • Transportation
    • Minimize travel requirements. A shorter distance equals less environmental impact.
    • Encourage guest to use public transportation when possible, and provide incentives to guests in the form of free passes for buses, light rail, etc.
    • Schedule activities within walking distance of each other.
    • Look for fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly transportation if providing vehicles to attendees.
  • A typical five day conference with 2,500 attendees uses 62,500 plates, 87,500 napkins, 75,000 cups/glasses and 90,000 cans and bottles.
    • Use cloth napkins and tablecloths.
    • Use glass or ceramic coffee mugs instead of styrofoam or paper.
    • Use water coolers instead of bottled water. According to the Earth Policy Institute, 1.5 million barrels of oil are used yearly just in the production of plastic water bottles.
    • Serve locally grown or organic food if possible. (Locally grown is usually within 100 mile radius.)
    • Buy condiments in bulk.
  • Place exhibitor information on CD or online to cut down on handouts.
  • If documents do need to be printed, use at least 30 percent post-consumer recycled content paper (EPA standards) and look for vegetable oil-based ink.
  • Use reusable or recyclable signage.
  • Collect and reuse plastic nametag holders.

Follow up with recycling and composting:  

  • Provide recycling bins in public areas and private rooms.
  • Donate extra food and refreshments to local shelters or food banks. The MGM Grand in Las Vegas donates the food waste from all their restaurants and banquet facilities to a local hog farm, saving disposal costs for the MGM Grand and feed costs for the hog farmer.

For a list of additional tips, tools and resources to make environmentally responsible choices for meetings and events, visit EPA's Green Meetings

Renovations

As Missouri communities continue to grow, older buildings are being renovated or demolished. Demolition or renovation operations can create several different kinds of waste including clean fill, recovered materials, regulated wastes, hazardous waste and asbestos containing materials. Properly managing construction and demolition waste will prevent threats to human health and the environment. The department regulates demolition and renovation projects for institutional, commercial, public and industrial structures. For more information, visit Construction, Renovation and Demolition Waste.  


Nothing in this document may be used to implement any enforcement action or levy any penalty unless promulgated by rule under chapter 536 or authorized by statute.


For more information