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Image ©Emily Hagopian

Zero Waste at Work

Reducing waste is an important goal that should be integrated at home and at work!

There are many ways to help reduce waste in your workspace. Below are some of our favorite tips to start your path to implementing zero waste practices at work.

Also, be sure to check out our Zero Waste At Home page for additional resources that can be incorporated both at home and at work.

Go Paperless

The easiest way to reduce paper waste is not to create it in the first place. Elect to have invoices, statements, newsletters and other documents sent electronically instead of mailed. Save documents digitally instead of maintaining physical documentation.

Set Up Sorting Systems

To reduce landfill waste created at your business, ensure that you set up a sorting system that allows employees and customers to easily separate their waste into recycling, compost, and trash. Note that setting up a waste sorting system is now also the law for businesses; to learn more, visit the Legislation section of our website.

  • Create a waste “station”

    Create a waste “station” with all options located together: trash, recycling, and compost. Ensuring all options are located directly next to each other is key to making waste sorting convenient.

  • Color-Code Bins

    Grey/black for landfill, blue for recycling, and green for compost. Consistent color-coding will reduce confusion.

  • Add Signage

    Add signage and posters to clearly label each bin. Need signage? Visit the Posters & Signage page.

  • Educate Employees

    Make sure everyone knows how to use the waste station to sort their waste.

Woman reading newspaper and eating lunch.
Image ©Emily Hagopian

Centralize Waste Sorting in Offices

A woman places her tea bag in the compost container at her office recycling station
Image ©Emily Hagopian

Consider removing bins from individual desks and create centralized sorting stations with signage. This simple solution has multiple benefits:

  • Help everyone in the office sort more accurately – studies have shown that people are more likely to sort correctly when they make a dedicated trip to dispose of their waste at a centralized waste station. For more details on what goes where, refer to the Who Is My Hauler page;

  • Decrease time spent collecting waste from multiple locations within the office; • Reduce waste associated with lining multiple individual bins;

  • Increase opportunities for workers to get in more “steps” and take breaks from sitting at their desks.

Replace Single-use Foodware

Make the change and start using reusable foodware products. This can include replacing disposable plates, glasses, mugs, flatware and other foodware with reusable items that do not need to be landfilled.

For retail food businesses, using reusables for dine-in is now required under the Marin County Reusable Foodware Ordinance.

Don’t have a space to wash your reusables at the office? No problem, encourage employees to “Pack-in, Pack-Out”. For offices, this means encouraging employees to bring their own reusables to work and take them home for cleaning.

ZWM Campaign Graphic: reusable utensil and napkin and a plastic set of to-go utensils
ZWM Campaign: A reusable lemonade glass & a red disposable cup

Reuse Office Supplies

Two tan pieces of scrap paper held together by a paperclip

There are many ways to reuse and repurpose office supplies; here are some of our favorites:

  • If printing is required, opt for double-sided.

  • Use extra paper as scrap paper, lining for the bottom of your compost bin or as packing material.

  • Have extra supplies? Set up an office supply swap for employees to exchange items instead of buying new ones.

Looking for more helpful tips? Check out the County of Marin Green Business Program.

Green Commute

When possible, encourage employees to drive less by riding a bike, scooter or taking public transportation and help reduce the carbon footprint of your business.

Get Your Business on the Path to Zero Waste


Schedule time with staff to discuss ways to reduce waste at the office. Check out the EPA Sustainable Materials Management site for helpful tips for more responsible supply sourcing and waste management strategies.


Have something that can’t be placed in your curbside bin? Find out how to reuse, donate, drop-off for recycling, or safely dispose of just about anything.
Refer to our Recycling Guide for more details.

Green Business Program

Looking for a way to be a green champion and incorporate more sustainable business practices? Look no further than the Marin Green Business Program. This voluntary program helps local businesses become certified as part of the California Green Business Network.

California Green Business Network: Marin County Logo