Placing bins throughout the wokplace encourages regular recycling.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as much as 90 percent of work-related waste is paper, making it recyclable. Starting a workplace recycling program takes initiative, organization and education. Preparing and launching a program take time, but after the program is in place, your workplace can significantly reduce its waste output, lower its carbon footprint and even generate a small amount of income for your company.
Items you will need:
- Recycle bins
- List of approved recyclables
Step 1: Select an employee to serve as the recycling program’s coordinator. This person should be self-motivated and organized and have a passion for programs that support a healthy environment. The program coordinator takes the lead on educating employees about the new program and organizing the collection and hauling of recyclables. Workplace recycling initiatives function best when upper management supports the program and makes it a companywide effort.
Step 2: Tour the office and identify which waste items are recyclable. Make note of the materials that employees are throwing in the trashcans. You’ll likely find a wide variety of paper products, aluminum cans, glass and cardboard. Compare the list of items you’d like to recycle with a list of allowable recyclable items from your local waste management company. Ink cartridges and computers might not be recyclable through your waste management company, but you can easily research other businesses, such as office supply stores, that might offer ink and computer recycling services.
Step 3: Set out collection bins in strategic locations. According to the EPA, the average employee produces 2 lbs. of waste paper per day. Given this fact, you should place paper recycling bins at each employee’s desk as well as near the copier to encourage participation in the paper portion of your recycling program. In the lunchroom, place separate bins for paper, cardboard, aluminum and glass. Any durable bin can serve as a recycling bin. Label each bin clearly so employees do not accidentally mix materials.
Step 4: Distribute recycling guidelines to all employees. Try to keep things simple in order to encourage participation. Let employees know where bins are located and which items need to be cleaned prior to being placed in the bins. You can also post the guidelines above each bin for easy reference.
Determine dates each month to haul your recyclables or to have them picked up. The program coordinator should choose employees who can help load and haul recycling to the local waste management recycling center. Take advantage of any cash-for-recyclables offers. Large companies can contract with independent hauling services to have their recycling picked up.
- Encourage participation in your recycling program by letting employees know how much waste is being recycled monthly. People like to see the impact of their efforts.
- Redistribute the recycling guidelines quarterly to keep them fresh in everyone’s mind. Email the guidelines to reduce paper waste.
- Communicate clearly with your company’s janitorial staff about the recycling program’s efforts. This helps to ensure that items in recycling bins are not being collected with regular office trash as the janitorial staff cleans.
Article excerpted from http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/