How to start a recycling program at your office

This month, we are focused on helping you find ways to show some love to your environment. What better way to start than at your home-away-from-home?

Every year Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons to circle the equator 300 timesConsidering that the average person spends the better portion of his/her day at work, this means the majority of this garbage, 40 percent in fact, is being created at work.

Some employees may not recycle because their office does not have a recycling program in place. Does yours? If the answer is “no” then we have some ideas for you. Throw away your excuses instead of your trash! Take initiative and start a recycling program at your office.

1.) Get management support

Discuss the idea of starting a recycling program with upper management and get their approval and support. Explain to them why a recycling program would benefit the company. Recycling:

  • Saves money by decreasing trash pickup service
  • Achieves corporate sustainability goals
  • Reduces your company’s carbon footprint
  • Improves employee morale – everyone wants to “do the right thing”

2.) Pick a coordinator and have him/her establish a “Green Team”

Pick an employee who is enthusiastic about recycling to be the program coordinator Have the coordinator create a “Green Team,” made up of employees from all             departments. The team will help support the recycling initiative, encourage others to get involved and assist in making sure the program runs smoothly. Make sure to include the custodial staff in the “Green Team” and get their support.

3.) Pick materials to recycle

Determine what items usually become trash at your work place and then decide             which items to recycle. Common items are: paper, cardboard, cans and bottles, but don’t overlook pallets, packing material, computers and office equipment.

4.) Choose a recycling company

Based on the materials you are recycling, research a recycling company to use or you can use multiple companies if one vendor will not recycle all types of materials. Check out earth911.com to find a recycling company near your office.

5.) Set up recycling bins and guidelines

Place recycling bins and guidelines in convenient locations throughout the office. In the guidelines specify if materials need to be separated into different bins (i.e. paper, plastic or glass), what items cannot be recycled, etc.

6.) Determine how recycling will be hauled away

Decide if the recycling company will haul away the bins to be emptied or if someone from the company will have to take the bins to a recycling facility.

7.) Educate the employees

Create an orientation to explain the recycling program to employees and show them how easy it is. Continue to monitor the success and effectiveness of the program. Seek employee feedback and continue education throughout the life of the program.

8.) Provide Incentives/Rewards

Create incentives and rewards for employees who participate or who get other employees to participate. Try a competition between different departments or office floors or satellite offices in different cities.

10.) Promote other waste reduction ideas at your company

Encourage waste prevention, reusing materials and purchasing supplies made out of recycled material.

For more ways to reduce, reuse and recycle check out our blog post on: Fun Green Projects for the Whole Family. You can also check out the Direct Energy website for a list of energy efficiency tips that will help you show some love to the environment around your home!

Thanks flickr user epSos.de.