Why We Nixed Our Home Office Trash Can

We're all about making do with less and being resourceful and we've been challenged to put what we preach into practice when it comes to the waste we produce while working. The trash can is a common fixture in many home offices (unless there are photos taken of course) and we decided to launch an experiment in living without one in our home office and see where it would take us...

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We were so happy with the results of our experiment that we've decided to kick the home office trash can to the curb, permanently. Why did we decide to bid adieu to our office trash can?

Work life without the home office trash can

  1. Awareness: When we had a handy little trash receptacle to throw papers and such away in we were much less aware of how much we were throwing out. Having a smaller trash can helps, but having no trash can really ups the awareness on just how much trash we produce in a work day. Knowing how much trash we made while working was the first step in getting us to reduce our trash creating habits.

  2. Reuse: Many of the papers that came out of the printer (you know the ones that have only a few lines printed on them) used to quickly make their way to the trash, but now because we don't want to walk to the kitchen to throw them out, we are more apt to use the blank side for notes and sketches. Granted, we should have been doing this all along and it's slightly pathetic that it took laziness to get us to start reusing more paper.

  3. Breaks: By not having the trash can in the home office where it is convenient, we now have to get up and walk over to another room to throw trash away. We have a tendency when we're working on a project to stay glued to our seat for long durations, which is so not the best thing. We know this is not healthy and having to get up to throw rubbish away helps remind us to take stretching breaks. The closest trash can is in the kitchen and we've since moved it closer to the fridge to remind us to drink water.

  4. Recycle: Our goal when we had the trash bin in the home office was to empty it out and separate the recycling before throwing the contents in outside bins. However, due to absentmindedness, we would often forget to separate the recyclables from the office trash bin, and that is not something we want to forget. Now that the closest trash bin is in the kitchen right alongside the recycling bins, we don't throw items that can be recycled into the trash.

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Can you live without a trash can in your home office?

(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)