Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
ORF Home > Environmental Protection > Waste Disposal > General Waste Minimization and Pollution Prevention Guidance

General Waste Minimization and Pollution Prevention Guidance

Use the available tips and tools to educate yourself on how to conduct your activities to minimize waste and prevent pollution.



  • Recycle!
  • Donate and purchase used furniture and electronics through the Property Utilization Branch External Site
  • Participate in Transhare  – Carpool, walk, bike, or use mass transit to commute
  • Telework – Share offices with someone who teleworks opposite days as you
  • Use stairs instead of the elevator
  • Set up work center where office supplies can be stored and used so every person does not need their own office supplies
  • Buy recycled office supplies
  • Participate in meetings via telephone or video conference
  • Extend life of computers to at least 4 years
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Remove trash cans from office areas to encourage more recycling 


  • Enable printer's duplex feature
  • Copy and print all materials double-sided 
  • Print with more than one page on a sheet
  • Use draft form when printing to use less ink 
  • Set fax machine to print confirmation sheet only when there is a problem
  • Disable printer test page feature
  • Minimize the number of hard copies and paper drafts
  • Keep mailing lists current
  • Make scratch pad from used paper
  • Reuse envelopes
  • Save documents on disks, CDs, etc. instead of making hard copies
  • Use laptop to take notes during meetings instead of notepad
  • Do not print emails
  • Shrink margins on documents to reduce the number of pages
  • Create virtual filing systems (eg. SharePoint, Shared Drive) for document distribution
  • Save training certificates to your computer as .pdf or .jpg files instead of printing
  • Use reusable/washable towels instead of paper towels 


  • Order merchandise with minimal packaging
  • Request deliveries be shipped in reusable returnable containers
  • Reuse foam “peanuts,” “bubble wrap,” and cardboard boxes 


  • Purchase office supplies and furniture that contain recycled and non-toxic content at GSA Advantage External Site
  • Order supplies by voice or electronic mail
  • Buy products that can be recycled in Montgomery County
  • Avoid ordering excess supplies that will never be used – establish an inventory
  • Buy in bulk to reduce excess packaging 

Lunch Breaks:

  • Use reusable plates, cups, and utensils
  • Bring lunch in a reusable lunch bag
  • Order food products in bulk and/or with minimal packaging
  • Take home extra food
  • Use unbleached coffee filters
  • Take home food scraps to compost at home
  • Use reusable personal coffee cups in the office

NIH Policy Manual PDF
NIH policy on waste minimization and management 

EPA Pollution Prevention Guideline External Site
EPA guidance on waste minimization, green purchasing, and recycling  

NIH Environmental Management System (NEMS) External Site
NIH Environmental Policy


This page was last updated on Dec 14, 2012