Offices were traditionally a major source of paper waste, a pain that has been alleviated to some extent by technology. But waste ranging from unneeded print-outs to food and beverage containers still piles up in workplaces. The worst part: many offices do not have clear recycling policies. To help your workplace put those empty energy drink cans and coffee cups to better use, consider implementing an office recycling program (or improving your existing one). It’s easy, and it gets the whole company thinking about ways to reduce your environmental impact. Here are five helpful tips to turn recycling into second nature for your employees.
Tip #1: Have appropriate office recycling containers.
Without well-marked and conveniently-located recycling containers, employees may end up throwing recyclables in with the garbage. You can hardly blame them – during the course of a busy day, thinking about where to throw their trash is low on most employees’ priority lists. Fortunately, a variety of affordable recycling containers are available to encourage employees to put their refuse in the right place. Arwood Waste offers containers in sizes ranging from large-capacity bins for an entire office to under-desk sliders that allow you to equip each employee with a personalized recycling bin! With well-marked recycling containers placed at convenient intervals, it’s easy to remember to toss that cardboard coffee sleeve in the bright blue bin instead of the garbage container.
Tip #2: Use posters to explain recycling rules.
Recycling rules vary by location, and employees may not know what’s recyclable and what should be thrown away. Posting lists of recyclable materials in kitchen areas or printing kiosks will let employees know what’s okay to recycle (for example, aluminum cans, cardboard containers, and used printer paper) and what should be thrown in the trash (food waste, plastic wrap, etc.). Encourage employees to read the signs before chucking their lunch garbage or unwanted paper items. Before long, everyone will know the recycling rules by heart.
Tip #3: Regularly reinforce the office recycling program.
Regular communication is important in order for your recycling program to work. Notice some people breaking the rules? A gentle companywide reminder can reinforce the recycling policy and get everyone back on track. On the other hand, if you notice workers making a conscious effort to follow the program, praise everybody for their successful recycling efforts. Providing your staff with an estimate of how much trash they have saved from landfills is a big motivator.
Tip #4: Inform janitorial staff of the recycling program.
Your team may be dutifully following your recycling program, but if the custodial staff is not on board, everything may end up in the garbage after all. Be sure to inform your cleaning crew about the recycling program, and encourage them to follow it as well. If a recycling or disposal company will be in charge of collecting your bins, make sure the cleaning crew is aware of where to put the recyclables. Your program will only be 100% effective if all members of your company are on the same page.
Tip #5: Encourage employees to reuse.
Recycling is an excellent practice, but it doesn’t solve all problems. Ask employees to carry reusable water bottles that can be filled from a central water cooler, and suggest that they bring washable dishes and utensils instead of throw-away items. Also encourage workers to use both sides of a piece of paper before recycling it. If an item can be used several times before recycling it (for example, re-filling a disposable drink bottle), that can make a big difference over the course of a year. Get employees thinking about ways they can reduce waste overall while using best recycling practices to responsibly dispose of unavoidable waste. You’ll feel better about your company’s environmental impact – and your employees will feel good knowing they have done their part for a cleaner world.