Waste Reduction & Recycling

Commonly used office supplies, such as paper products, printer toner and ink cartridges, pens and other plastic items, and bottled water can either be reduced in consumption and/or recycled with a little forethought and effort. Even food waste can be diverted form landfills and composted onsite. green|light companies can reduce the amount of waste they send to the landfill by implementing some of these strategies.  

See our Recycling Preferred Providers here.



  • Implement Comprehensive Recycling Program

Create and implement a written comprehensive recycling program and require employees to participate. This program must include recycling the following (at minimum): paper, aluminum, glass, cardboard, plastic, electronics, batteries, and fluorescent lamps. Also put in place signage reminding people to recycle. When disposing of furniture, attempt to recycle it or find a place for its reuse, such as Habitat for Humanity Restore.  Lastly, appoint a point person to oversee the program. An excellent resource is available on the EPA website. For more information about recycling electronics click here 


Complete two more tasks either from the options below or custom solutions for your business.

  • Use Ink Cartridge Refill System and/or Recycle Empty Cartridges

Have your ink cartridges refilled and reuse them. If you are unable to do this because of your cartridge type, properly recycle them in printer cartridge recycling bags. Big box stores like Office Depot and Staples offer coupons and discounts in exchange for your used cartridges. Some local municipal drop-off recycling centers accept ink cartridges. More information is available here.

Chattanooga Office Supply (COS) is a Preferred Provider for sustainable ink cartridge and toner services.  They provide a program called Managed Print Solutions (MPS) that can help you manage all of your printing services and reduce waste. You can visit the website below or call COS at (423) 624-0011 and ask for Ken Byrd.


  • Print Two Sided Documents

If your printer is capable of double sided printing, make it your official office policy to print two-sided whenever possible to reduce waste. If your printer is not capable of two-sided printing, consider doing a cost-benefit analysis of acquiring one that is versus paper savings over time.


  • Utilize Electronic Documents

Use of electronic documents can drastically reduce the amount of copy paper used in the office. Making electronic forms, like PDFs, is easily done with most word processor and spreadsheet software programs. Tutorials for creating these types of forms can be found here.


  • compost food waste or Sign the petition to bring Composting Food Waste to Chattanooga 

Composting is the natural breakdown of organic materials, such as leaves, grass, and plant based food scraps, by microorganisms that yields a fertile soil amendment. Used for gardening and in agriculture as a soil additive, compost can replace commercial fertilizers and prevent ozone damaging methane gases from being released when food waste goes to a traditional landfill.  No program currently exists in Chattanooga to pickup compostable material but many large corporations are ready and willing to compost if that service was available to them.  Fill in your companies information below to sign the petition to bring composting to town.  You will be kept in the loop with composting service updates.



  • Replace Paper Towels

Replace paper towels in restrooms by installing energy efficient hand dryers or providing cloth washable hand towels to significantly reduce waste and save energy in restrooms.  Check this link for an example of an eco hand dryer that contributes to LEED credits. 



It has been estimated that Americans throw away 25 billion styrofoam cups each year and use 2.5 million plastic beverage bottles each hour. A person who disposes of one coffee cup each day generates approximately 23 lbs. of waste a year. A popular idea is to provide a re-usable water bottle to all employees to encourage reduction of waste.  Consider asking one of your vendors if they have any “giveaway” water bottles you can distribute to your employees.