It goes without saying that recycling makes sense for the environment as a whole, but it’s also a great way for your business to reduce waste and create a greener, more efficient work environment. While it’s easy to implement recycling for your business, just slapping an arrow symbol on a bin and yelling, “Go!” won’t yield the best results. Recycling success depends on participation, buoyed by ongoing education and coordination.
These six easy tips can help you create a simple, yet robust recycling program in your workplace.
Step 1: DIY OR CALL IN THE PROS.
Waste Management designs and implements recycling programs for businesses of all sizes, including providing educational materials. Call them to help get you started with a waste audit to learn how to manage your waste as responsibly and effectively as possible. Smart tip: As we said, recycling depends on participation. If your property or facility doesn’t currently have a recycling program in place, share this article with them and let them know you’re interested in responsible, business-friendly waste solutions.
Step 2: CHECK YOUR TRASH FOR WASTED GREEN.
The best way to know what and how much you could be recycling is to look at your current recycling practices. Chances are you’ll find that you go through a lot of recyclable items such as plastic containers, copy paper, newspapers, magazines, junk mail, cardboard, and aluminum soda cans. Moving them from your waste bin to a recycling bin, can dramatically reduce your solid waste volumes. Smart tip: Keep a lid on lunchroom waste by encouraging employees to use reusable containers, utensils, and coffee mugs instead of disposable ones.
Step 3: STAGE A “DO THIS, NOT THAT” RECYCLE CHALLENGE.
Food, liquids and plastic bags are the enemy of recycling and can contaminate an entire load, ruining your good efforts. Educate your employees on the basic do’s and don’ts of recycling. Then, test their knowledge by making a game of it. Hint: Mouse pads, half-empty water bottles, plastic sandwich bags and greasy pizza boxes are not recyclable. Smart tip: Give away prizes that encourage reuse and recycling like reusable water bottles, lunch bags and coffee mugs.
Step 4: RECYCLE YOUR WEIRD WASTE.
Everyday items such as fluorescent bulbs, CFLs, ballasts and batteries can be potentially toxic to the environment if not handled properly. But fear not, there are convenient recycling solutions like recycle-by-mail kits that help you deal with touchy waste responsibly, and can provide you with Recycling Certifications needed to verify your business is compliant with local, state and federal regulations.
Step 5: SPREAD THE BINS AROUND.
Look for opportunities to add recycling to your daily work routine. Put recycle bins at every workstation, including near printers, and in conference and break rooms. Office items such as manila folders and notepads are often overlooked as recyclable, but are. Smart tip: Instead of one big dumpster, consider two smaller ones – one for trash and one for recycling.
Step 6: INSPIRE YOUR PEOPLE TO GET INVOLVED.
Start a “Green Team” for employees, and find an energetic “Champion” in your staff to lead the effort, coordinate activities, and keep people informed about what can and can’t be recycled in your area. Smart tip: Let people know why recycling is important. For example, recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a laptop for three hours.