Three small changes for a zero waste office

Celebrating one year of zero waste at Sustainalize Belgium.

In June 2018 we said goodbye to our garbage bins and tried to become “zero waste” at the Brussels office of Sustainalize. Why? We were curious to find out how hard it is to produce no waste at the office. And as it turns out, it isn’t.

To kick off the challenge, we had a look at the waste we were producing at the time. Because of the small size of our office this was not huge to begin with. Yet we noticed that this small amount of waste consisted mainly of single-use items, such as plastic or paper packaging of food and disposable coffee capsules. Things, as we discovered, that can easily be avoided.

We decided to get rid of our bins and made three small changes to our office habits. This was enough to almost entirely stop producing waste.

 

zero waste worms

Say hi to our office pets: worms

We adopted thousands of worms that are happy to turn our organics and cardboard into compost and juice. This in turn becomes food for our many office plants.

 

BYOC:
bring your own container

We used to go to a small supermarket nearby to get bread and different toppings for our shared lunch. Now once a week, we take our own containers to a local organic market that’s within 10 minutes walking distance of our office. Here they sell all sorts of delicious bread toppings without any packaging.

Zero waste - Bring your own containers

 

Zero waste - Reusable coffee capsule

Reusable coffee capsules:
what else?

We looked for possibilities to use the Nespresso machine we had, but without the aluminium waste it generated. The answer was quite simple: reusable coffee capsules. After a short learning curve we were able to turn ourselves into amateur baristas.

 

These changes may not sound very impressive, and that’s because they aren’t. Yet they enabled us to almost entirely avoid producing waste. Our small office does not have a huge impact, but by sharing our story and inspiring the many other small offices out there, we hope this impact will grow.

Any questions or want to share your own experience? Feel free to contact us or come by for some of our delicious reusable coffee capsule coffee!

Author: Johanna Haerens, consultant Sustainalize Belgium