Recycling in the workplace is a great way to get all employees involved in doing something for the greater good. A good program encourages teamwork and provides a sense of satisfaction. Fortunately, starting a program is quite simple and inexpensive. In fact, in some locations it is possible to earn a bit of money from recycling materials. This can help offset the costs of implementing a program.
The first step in implementing a recycling program is to designate one or two employees to oversee it. Ideally, you’ll want to choose employees who are already passionate about environmental causes. You want someone will be enthusiastic about not only developing a program, but seeing it through and making improvements when necessary.
Next, it is important to assess the waste produced in your workplace. Is the bulk of the waste paper? Do you find people throwing away a lot of plastic, cardboard, glass or other items? Once you have an idea of the potential recyclables being thrown away; it will be easier to plan out the best locations for recycling bins.
Contact your local waste management company and ask for a list of allowable recyclables. Once you have the list, begin placing receptacles at various convenient locations. Good ideas include a paper recycling bin near photocopiers and other office equipment. Place plastic and glass receptacles in lunch rooms or break areas. Once you have recycling bins placed; ensure all employees are familiar with the locations of the bins.
In some instances, it is important to rinse items before they can be picked up. If bottles or cans need to be rinsed first, be sure to place this notice above the receptacles. A collection area near sinks is also a good idea. Notices explaining policies and where different items can be recycled will make it easier for employees to participate.
Next, you will need to pick dates each month to haul recyclables to the local waste management recycling center, or make arrangements to have them picked up. Some companies offer cash for recyclables, so be sure to take advantage of those opportunities if they arise. You can also contract with an independent service to have recycling picked up if your local waste management service doesn’t provide that option.
There are some items like printer ink cartridges, florescent lighting, CFL bulbs and electronic equipment that have to be recycled via specialty services. Your local waste management company should have that information on hand. If these services are available locally, be sure to take advantage of them. Electronics have taken up a great deal of space in landfills and these are items that will never biodegrade. It is important to recycle them whenever possible.
Other ideas for increasing participation are incentives and competitions. Give prizes to the department that recycles the most or have a friendly competition between local businesses.
Going green with recycling and other programs are a great way to gain positive PR for your business. Many people are more inclined to support companies they know are working to operate ethically and consciously.