Have you noticed that your workplace could be doing a better job of managing their waste and recyclables? If you have spotted pop bottles in the garbage, wasted copy paper at your office, or cardboard boxes stuffed in the dumpster, there are steps you can take to help your workplace to recycle these materials. The same applies in workplaces other than offices. Retail stores, restaurants, manufacturing facilities and even hospitals and municipalities all generate a lot of waste, much of which can be recycled. Many larger businesses are even finding that, with the right program and equipment in place, recycling can be profitable for them.
You can help to start or improve your workplace’s recycling program:
Find a recycling champion – This person may very well be you, depending on the size of your business. Larger workplaces may need a recycling coordinator or recycling program manager. Whoever heads up your corporate recycling program should be a person who is a good communicator and can follow thru on plans of action. One of the first tasks will be to convince the boss on how and why the company needs to promote recycling and educate their staff on the best green business practices. With the upper management’s buy-in, you are ready to take the next steps to a greener workplace.
Determine materials to be recycled – Depending on the size and nature of your workplace, you may want to start small by recycling cardboard, paper, aluminum, and plastic at first, and gradually work your way up to other materials. Other items that may be used and recycled frequently at your workplace include ink cartridges, scrap metal, electronics and e-waste, etc.
Determine how recyclables will be collected and hauled – Depending on your area, you may or may not be able to co-mingle different recyclables in one bin. Make sure to clearly label all bins so that staff knows where to put different materials. If you consistently have a large amount of recyclables, it may be cost-efficient to purchase a baler to manage your own recyclables. For instance, grocery stores and other retail stores with shipments coming in daily could greatly benefit from investing in a vertical baler. Next, choose a pick up provider or drop off the recyclables yourself based on how much materials or bales you are generating. Small-scale and commercial haulers/recyclers are available in many areas to meet your needs.
Educate and Evaluate – You and others involved in the company’s recycling initiative will have to continually educate the management and staff about not just the recycling program, but also the value of the 3 R’s of Sustainability overall – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. As the recycling program evolves, look for additional ways that it can be improved or simplified. Share your successes with your staff, customers, and community so they understand the difference it has made and can contribute to its success.
Have you been part of starting or upgrading your company’s recycling program? What challenges did you run into? What other tips would you add to make a company-wide recycling program successful?