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Zero Waste
Zero Waste

Reduce & Reuse - Businesses


Clean Desk Furniture with laptop

Furniture & Electronics

  • Donate, exchange, or sell office furniture or electronic equipment to give items a second life. Visit here for the reuse directory.

  • Setting up a new office in DC? Consider purchasing pre-owned office furniture and equipment. DC Government makes surplus items available through an online auction. Visit here for DC Surplus Inventory.

screenshot of print screen

Reducing Paper Tips

  • Go paperless! Keep files digitally rather than printing your documents if possible.

  • Change default settings to double-sided printing.

  • Reuse the back-side of pages of misprints for notes.

  • Change the margins to fit more text and use less paper.

  • Use a stick-on label rather than a page cover sheet when faxing.

  • Reuse file folders and envelopes using stick-on labels.

  • Review documents onscreen rather than printing.


man with laptop and coffee mug

Lunch Time Reduction Tips

  • Do you have a sink or dishwasher in your office kitchenette? Consider having reusable plates, bowls, and utensils in the office.

  • Have a mug for tea or coffee instead of single-use cups.

  • Pack your lunch in reusable containers and lunch box.

  • Ask your caterer for group events to provide in bulk rather than individual portions (provide chip or cookie bags, condiments wrappers).

Dinner plate with mixed green salads and bread

Are You a Food Service Provider?

  • Review the Green DC Restaurant Action Manual for helpful tips (waste prevention starts at page 18).

  • Use reusable utensils, dishes, napkins for dine-in service. Learn about funding opportunities for making the transition from disposable to reusable food service ware here.

  • Follow the District’s disposable food service ware material requirements, more information here. Only include disposable utensils, condiment packets, and other small items in a customer’s order when specifically requested by the customer, as required by District law. For more information, visit here.

  • Donate extra food to food banks. Learn how your commercial food business can donate food legally and safely with our easy to read Food Donation Guide. For food donation and recovery options and resources, please visit Reuse DC’s Food Recovery page. 

  • Donate used appliances and equipment for resale or parts.

  • Buy products in bulk packaging to reduce materials that need to be recycled.

  • Provide water/drinks from taps instead of bottled water.

  • Charge $0.05 fee for each paper or plastic disposable carryout bag and remit bag fee collections to the Office of Tax and Revenue. Click here for more information.

Other helpful resources:

Construction Dump truck

Construction & Demolition

  • Preventing waste, reusing materials, and recycling waste at a construction/demolition (C&D) site can be accomplished with some pre-planning and by incorporating waste reduction into work practices.

  • Reusing materials is another way to reduce waste and lower your disposal costs. Many C&D materials can be salvaged and reused by you or by others. Markets for reusable materials are available through material exchanges or other local non-profit organizations.

File Folder with School supplies

Sustainable Purchasing

  • Set up a sustainable purchasing program for your office by establishing a policy and developing criteria for the purchase of Environmentally Preferable Products and Services (EPPS) including materials made from recycled content.

  • Learn more about DC Government's Sustainable Purchasing Program and review its sustainable products and services specifications here


Ladies at Freecycle event exchanging goods

Supply Swap

  • Embrace one of the key principles of sustainable consumption – Shop your own closet – by holding an office freecycle event.

  • Invite office colleagues to clean out office storage closets and de-clutter their workspaces by contributing unused or unwanted office supplies to the event.

  • Attendees “shop” the collection of items. When the event is over, celebrate your success by sharing the value of the items exchanged.

  • Donate unclaimed items. Visit here for the donate directory.

Man mowing lawn - grasscycling

Reduce Yard Waste

"Grasscycling" is the act of leaving your grass clippings on the lawn after you have mowed, resulting in a healthier lawn that saves you time and money. Learn More.