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9 Tips for Recycling for Small Businesses

November 19, 2013

If your business deals with hazardous waste disposal issues, you may also generate non-hazardous waste. Non-hazardous waste is relatively uncomplicated handling, but there’s always room for improvement – and recycling for small businesses, “room for improvement” often translates to significant savings.

One of the simplest and most cost-efficient waste reduction strategies to achieve environmental sustainability (and savings) within the small business setting needs to be addressed: waste management solutions and recycling. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 75% of solid waste thrown away is recyclable.

To thrive with small business recycling, all you need to do is to implement an efficient collection and management plan. It’s not a demanding undertaking; you only need a little organization and planning.

Check out these quick small business recycling tips to boost your success:

  1. Make a business-wide commitment to waste reduction strategies. It’s much more likely that your business will succeed at recycling if every member is committed, and this commitment is especially important for top-level management. Top-level employees should do their best to set a strong example.

  2. To start, take a simple visual inventory of the materials your business throws away. Remember that steel, aluminum, glass, cardboard, paper, plastics, and colored plastic containers are all recyclable.

  3. Perform a thorough waste audit process. Knowing what is in your waste stream is essential in designing your collection and management program. A waste audit will help you accomplish this by allowing you to determine what part of your waste stream is eligible for recycling – including the type, value, and amount. Some items may even be required to be recycled under your state’s waste disposal regulations.

  4. Choose the types of paper you want to collect. Once you’ve evaluated the types of paper present in your waste stream and found out what kinds are accepted by local recycling programs, determine the types of paper you want to collect. It’s wise to focus your efforts on the higher value papers and those that make up the bulk of your waste paper stream.

  5. Designate a recycling supervisor. A reliable and dedicated recycling supervisor can be crucial to success. Luckily, the time required to do the job well is minimal, and the brunt occurs in the program’s beginning stages. Once your recycling program implementation has been established and is operational, it should be mostly self-sustaining.

  6. Provide employees with the necessary recycling containers for small businesses. Be sure to place containers in areas where paper is generated, such as near copying machines and printers.

  7. Educate your employees about sustainable waste disposal. Institute a thorough educational campaign for recycling to prepare employees for participation. Offer orientation sessions, distribute informational materials, and explain the goals and methods you’d like to implement.

  8. Provide incentives for recycling efforts. Rewarding employees for their recycling efforts and successes makes it more likely that they will continue the same behaviors.

  9. Practice good maintenance of recycling programs. Monitor progress and be consistent. If you discover a problem or run into issues, deal with them promptly. Preparing and providing the necessary follow-up informational materials is an excellent way to work things out with employees.

For more information, visit the SBA website, which provides resources and guidance for small businesses on various topics, including waste management and recycling: SBA.

Hazardous Waste Experts can provide competent, knowledgeable assistance with handling your material and helping you manage your hazardous materials in a safe, compliant, and low-cost way.  For information on recycling hazardous waste or hazardous waste removal, contact us today or call 877.200.2029.

Disposal of hazardous waste doesn’t have to be painful.