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How To Start A Recycling Program At Work

By on January 22, 2014

The time has come when all of us – individuals, businesses, and governments – have to work together for a cleaner environment. It’s no longer the responsibility of one group. We’ve to make a collective effort if we want this planet to survive.

Recycling at work is important. People spend a good part of their day at work and therefore generate large quantities of waste. Imagine if there’s no recycling program at work, all this waste will find its way into landfills or incinerators contaminating our soil, water, and air. Now that’s hardly desirable, right?

If you’re a business owner, you’ll be pleased to know that many enterprises around the country are working towards a cleaner, greener environment by implementing robust recycling programs. It’s part of their corporate social responsibility. It’s for you to decide if you want to join them or get left behind.

How To Start A Recycling Program At Work

Recycling at Work is Easy

Initiating a recycling program at work is easy or let’s say no more difficult than doing it at home. In fact, because there are so many people working in an organization, there’ll be a flurry of great ideas on what to do and how to do it. Here are a few simple things that can get you started on the road to recycling:

1. Form a Green Team:

The first step in starting a recycling program at work is to form a team, let’s call it “Team Green,” of people who are passionate about environment and committed to the cause. This team should ideally work under a leader, a recycling champion of sorts, to achieve clearly defined goals. Your goal could be to reduce the volume of trash produced, increase the number of items sent for recycling, or anything else. Members of the team should be able to work smoothly with the management, staff, and recyclers.

2. What to Recycle:

So far as what to recycle is concerned, it’s the same as individual households – paper, cardboard, plastic containers, glass bottles and jars, metal scrap, etc. Of course, businesses produce a lot more of certain types of waste such as paper and plastic. It may be a good idea to check your city’s recycling program for a comprehensive list of acceptable recyclables. It will give you a clear picture of what you can and cannot recycle. Set up recycling bins where they can be easily accessed. Clearly mark these bins with items that can be placed inside for recycling. Just remember the simple mantra – it should be as easy to recycle as it is to throw away trash.

3. Find a Local Recycling Company:

Before you get started, engage a local recycling service provider to work with you. Find out if your city administration offers recycling collection to businesses the same way they do to home owners. If not, you can find private haulers on the Yellow Pages or the Internet, who are willing to work with you. For example, if you are based in Memphis, Tennessee, Waste Connections is a good recycling company to work with as it offers commercial co-mingled recycling for businesses in the city. For your metal scrap or e-waste, you can work with specialized recyclers like SIMS Metal Management. They have facilities across the U.S. with a range of capabilities. For example, the SIMS Metal Management facility inRedwood City, CA buys and processes ferrous metal.

4. Schedule Pick-ups:

The recycling company you’re working with may offer flexible or fixed pick-up schedules. You need to work with them to come up with a schedule for the pick-up of your recyclables. Arrange a pick-up time that’s mutually convenient for you and the recycling company you’re working with and make sure you’re always ready for the scheduled pick-up.

5. Inform All the Employees:

The next step is to inform all the employees about your recycling program. There are several ways of communicating it. You can send an email to every employee telling them about the program. If you have an official newsletter or magazine, publish and promote the program on these platforms. You should also put up posters about your recycling program and place clear signs that lead people to the recycling bins you’ve set up.

6. Follow-up:

If you think once the program is up and running, you can sit back and relax, think again. You need to keep following up with the management as well as your colleagues to make sure there’s maximum participation. Keep a track of how the program is progressing vis-à-vis your goals.

7. Conduct Workshops:

As the team that’s been given the responsibility of running the recycling program, you should be able to train and educate your co-workers on the benefits as well as do’s and don’ts of recycling. Don’t start with the assumption that everyone is as informed on the subject as you are. You can also conduct workshops where you can brainstorm recycling strategies and exchange ideas with people outside the team.

With these seven simple steps, you can initiate and run a fairly successful recycling program at work and feel mighty good about it too. So, are you ready to take the plunge?

About Alice Aires