Methods of Paper Waste Reduction in the Environmental Sector

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2014-04-25

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Abstract

TRC Environmental Corporation is an environmental consulting firm located in northern New Jersey. While TRC offers services in many different disciplines within the environmental sector, sustainable business practices are not employed. TRC’s solid waste streams exit the office unaccounted for: few are aware of how much paper we consume, how much garbage we create, how much water we use, and how much energy is spent all in the name of doing business. Many employees, however, are resistant to change the way they use paper as they are concerned it may affect the way we as a company are able to conduct business.

This master’s project is broken into three areas: causes of paper waste, individual behavior contributing to paper waste and willingness to participate in a paper reduction program and finally administrative and technology solutions that can help reduce Milburn's paper waste. A 2-week study was conducted in which the paper that was left behind at each printer was weighed at the conclusion of each work day. The results of this study helped determine how much paper is truly wasted and not put into reports, reused as scrap or recycled. After it was determined how much paper was being wasted throughout the office, an electronic survey was distributed throughout the Millburn office with questions that were aimed at determining how “green” Millburn employees are and their willingness to participate in a paper waste reduction program.

A 61% participation rate was achieved. Finally, a literature review was conducted to gather possible administrative and technology solutions to aid the office in reducing the paper waste streams identified. Results of the study indicate that if TRC Millburn reduced the amount of paper we used, clients would still receive the same caliber of excellence to which they have become accustomed. There are many paper waste reduction solutions available that can be employed in the office with little to no disruption of the employees’ routine. As TRC moves office spaces, many of the strategies suggested in this project will be employed in the new office.

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Rillen, Kristen (2014). Methods of Paper Waste Reduction in the Environmental Sector. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8529.


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