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Tips on Starting a Company-Wide Recycling Initiative

October 12, 2014

Carbon footprints, sustainability, a green way of thinking—these are all 21st century ideas that have now become household catchphrases. We all know that recyclables can cut your overall carbon footprint and increase efficiency. But for some companies, knowing what is and isn’t recyclable is still murky territory, even today.

According to the EPA, at an average workplace environment, up to 90% of the solid waste produced is recyclable. This percentage is no less than staggering, but it can easily be mitigated by implementing a simple yet effective recycling program for your business.

When starting a recycling system for your business, it’s best to think big, but start small. Choosing just one type of thrown-away recyclable to tackle, even if only at first, is a great way to begin. Paper is an easy choice and a good example, as one to two pounds each day are trashed instead of being recycled at an average company.

After you get everyone onboard with at least one type of recyclable, you can get more detailed by adding chip bags and candy wrappers, aluminum or plastic drink containers, ink cartridges, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), and even old cell phones (e-waste) to the list.

Successfully implementing a full recycling initiative will take the support of everyone on your team, and may include having an internal awareness campaign, or even a designated sustainability coordinator to consult (either from within the company or by hiring an expert from the outside). Going through what is and isn’t recyclable with your staff is crucial, especially if this is backed up by example from the top, such as the CEO of COO of your company.

You can choose to make your program as simple or elaborate as you would like. As a smaller company, you may prefer to have a few easily-identifiable recycling bins around the office. This might suit the needs of the office perfectly while also diminishing what ends up in the trash can.

But as a larger company, you may want to have a more in-depth program, including having e-waste recycling days for computers, monitors, and desktop printers, different bins for distinct types of recyclables, educational classes on good recycling practices, incentives for employees, or even in-office composting.

And if reducing waste overall is the main goal, then recycling can help achieve this in a few different ways:

  • Reusing old materials that might have been previously thought of as trash, like repairing office furniture, converting scrap paper into memo pads, or
  • Using refillable toner cartridges and by suggesting employees use non-disposable, washable beverage containers in the office, or
  • Donating old, but usable things around the office to charities, including electronics, chairs, and magazines may also be a way to minimize recyclables that might otherwise end up in the dumpster.

Need Help?

If your company’s waste issues have become unmanageable and standard recycling measures aren’t cutting down on your total waste, call Hazardous Waste Experts at 800-936-2311 or click here to email us.

Photo Credit: via Compfight cc

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