How to Set Up an Office Recycling Program
Every office generates waste, from paper to electronics. Most of these items can be recycled, and focusing on your recycling is a great way to make sure your business has a positive impact on the community. While occasional clean-outs can help your recycling efforts, you can get a more consistent effort from
1. Start a Team
Getting some allies is the first step in any organization-wide effort. You don’t have to have monthly meetings or make up a nickname for your group. Instead, keeping it casual and focused on the recycling efforts is best and will help you attract more support. Email your potential allies about your plans, about how you’ll assess recycling needs, and about a collection schedule.
You’ll definitely want to get management and janitorial staff involved, as both will be key to your success.
2. Find Your Weaknesses
With your teammates, assess how your business is doing on the recycling front and how you can improve. Things to consider include:
- Recycling bins: Sometimes people choose not to recycle because they don’t have access to bins. Assess your current bin layout and how convenient it is to use them. Adding more in the right spots can dramatically increase how much your office recycles.
- Recycling materials: What kind of materials could your office recycle? Paper products, plastic containers, ink cartridges and lunch containers are all typical options. Offices also generate a lot of e-waste that could be recycled. Then, depending on what your office does, you may have niche waste on-hand that can also be recycled.
- Recycling awareness: Are your co-workers and staff aware of what they could be recycling? You can run an awareness campaign to alert your staff to the benefits of recycling and what they could recycle.
- Regular collection: When the recycling bins get full, people will start throwing recyclables into the garbage. Regular collection is a key part of a successful recycling program. You may need your janitorial team to increase collection, your team could do the recycling, or you could have an outside company pick up the recycling.
3. Measure Results
Once you start up your recycling program, it’s important to track your progress. Weigh every item that your office recycles and, if possible, the items that you throw out. With consistent effort, you will hopefully see an increase in recycling and a decrease in the trash. These are great statistics to share with your team and the whole company so that people know that their efforts are making a difference or so that they are more motivated to contribute.
4. Work with the Professionals
Has your office gathered a lot of materials that need to be recycled in a special location? Or does your team have furniture, shelving, chairs, and other items that could be recycled but that no one has time for? Contact the professionals to arrange for them to do the leg-work of your recycling program for you.
5. Re-Assess Yearly
Businesses change. They use new materials, bring in new equipment, and make other changes that change their recycling needs. Even if you find it’s no longer necessary to weigh your recycling, you may want to re-assess your workplace’s recycling plan every year to keep it going strong.