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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover


Reducing consumption of materials is an important step in reducing an organisation’s carbon footprint because the amount of energy used to manufacture items that may only be used once is high. Plus increased resource efficiency can deliver financial savings, support a positive work culture where resources are valued and encourage innovation. 

Photo credit: James Lee


Create a sustainability strategy

Create a sustainability strategy and put it into action. Zero Waste Scotland’s Green Office Guide covers a variety of actions. The City of Westminster has a brilliant guide on why and how organisations should implement a sustainability strategy. You can read the full guide here.

Here are some tips to get started on:


  • single-use plastics
  • virgin materials
  • food waste


  • refillable printer cartridges
  • reuse packaging
  • donate old office furniture to charity


Speak to your waste contractor about additional materials they could collect from your premises for recycling.  

Consider purchasing only post-consumer recycled goods (products discarded after use by consumers and then recycled) as they have a far smaller carbon footprint.


Send food waste to an anaerobic digester where it will be converted to energy and compost.

Support a Circular Economy


Currently we make, use and then throw away. In a circular economy, materials are kept in circulation and regenerated for new uses to avoid waste. Organisations play an important role in the move towards a circular economy. Designing your products and services using circular economy principles could increase your competitiveness and enhance your resource efficiencies.  

Resource flow in a circular economy. Diagram from University of Exeter


Choose circular products

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is a globally recognized measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy. You can use the Cradle to Cradle product register to choose certified products and materials here.

Design for the circular economy

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has a selection of resources for those who want to learn about, apply, and contribute to a circular economy. View the resources here.

Reduce Food Waste with Guardians of Grub


At the moment, 1.1 million tonnes of food is thrown away by the hospitality and service sector every year. This costs the industry £3.2 billion, and what’s more, 75% of the discarded food is good enough to eat. The environmental cost of food waste is extremely high. Emissions from food waste are nearly as high as the total emissions of countries such as China and the U.S. Guardians of Grub provide resources to help businesses and organisations target and measure food waste, before taking action to reduce it.


Their Operational Resources Pack includes:

  • Business case presentation
  • 6 ways to save food poster
  • Bin labels
  • 7 day tracking sheet
  • food tracking calculator
  • tracking calculator guide
  • summary checklist
  • food waste reduction action plan
  • menu planning slides
  • food waste FAQ’s

Running Events: Plastic Free North Devon’s advice for reducing waste


Whether you’re an experienced event organiser, or are looking to set up your very first event, you can never overestimate the amount of waste that a group of people can make!

Single-use plastic makes up the majority of event waste which, if not managed correctly, will either end up in landfill or the ocean.


Plastic-Free North Devon has created a helpful article explaining what you can do as an events organiser to reduce single-use plastic waste at public events. Their resources include:

  • A list of easy and useful Top Tips for cutting back on plastic waste
  • Plastic-Free sports event toolkit
  • General Events Guidance pack

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