Whether you work in a small office or in a large retail store, a recycling program can make a huge impact. Many workplaces have recycling bins available to employees and customers, but oftentimes just providing a bin is not enough. Education, encouragement, and incentives are required to see success.
Form a recycling committee
Find a willing group of employees who are invested in waste prevention and recycling to form a committee. This committee will be in charge of setting up and monitoring the use of the collection systems as well as pitching ideas for incentive and education programs. Make sure that adequate time is delegated for this team to come up with plenty of ideas, and to execute those ideas in order to ensure the success of the entire program.
Having a group of employees who are responsible for the office’s waste prevention helps to make those employees, and others, feel obligated to participate. Since the program is being run by their coworkers and friends, they’re more likely to willingly participate. Having employees come up with ideas will give you a better chance at figuring out what your office or business’s actual needs are.
Come up with a plan
If your office or business doesn’t already have recycling pick up or drop off set up, look into your local recycling companies for business programs. LePage & Sons offers a variety of options for commercial trash and recycling services. You can check out our commercial services page here. Remember, not all businesses need the same services, so make sure to assess your needs. Think about what recyclable items are commonly used in your office. Make a list of these items and determine what category they fall into. Then, you can determine how many different recycling bins you will need.
If you do already have recycling services in place, call your provider to see what programs they may be able to offer you and clarify what products they pick up and how often. You’ll also want to check to see if they have a drop-off service available for larger recyclable items like electronics or batteries.
Put in place training programs for janitorial staff to ensure that your program is executed properly. Make sure that any employee who may be responsible for waste management duties is informed of new processes. Making a poster or graphic to place in a common area detailing these processes may helpful.
Execute the plan
Now it’s time to take action! Create signage or posters that are easy to read and accurately show how to use the recycling bins. Use big and colorful images to catch your colleagues’ eyes. Make any wording large and concise. No one wants to stand in front of a trash and recycling bin for very long.
Also, note that a centralized location for trash and recycling encourages people to participate. Just make sure you have enough bins for the size of your company and that they are in a visible and easy-to-access location where all the bins can be grouped together. If you don’t have a location that is large enough for all the bins to be grouped together, consider putting relevant bins next to hotspot locations. For example, paper bins near the copier, plastic and aluminum bins in the kitchen or break room, and cardboard bins near the mailroom.
Encourage other types of eco-friendly initiatives. Promoting a paperless workplace can cut down on a lot of paper waste. Look into what options there are for your company to go paperless. You can also purchase recycled paper to use for internal communications. There are lots of other recycled products available such as paper cups, utensils, paper towels, and many others.
Once you’ve set up your recycling bins and put up your posters, you might think your job is done. But, the most important part is still to come. You need to continue to promote and encourage your recycling program. Studies have shown that friendly workplace competition can motivate employees.
Suggest using weekly recycling challenges. Some examples of these are: “which department can use the least amount of paper?”, or “who is the top recycler?”. These competitions should have desirable rewards like; leaving an hour early, a work from home day, or a gift card. Initiatives like these can help those who are already participating to feel recognized and appreciated and encourage those who were not previously participating to get involved.
Set monthly targets that change each month and get increasingly more difficult as time goes on. These goals should be attainable and specific in order to keep people interested. You can dedicate one month to a particular type of recycling that you’ve noticed your office has struggled with, or set a numerical goal to increase your recycling percentage. Make everyone in your company aware of these goals by promoting them internally. Once the goal is reached, celebrate!
Office recycling programs can seem daunting, especially when you work in a larger office. But, by breaking the program down into steps, delegating the work to a committee, and continuing to promote your ideas, you can achieve great success. People are excited to participate in a program created by their colleagues when those colleagues are excited about it too. Make it fun, and keep pushing your ideas!
If your company needs help planning and executing a recycling program or needs questions answered, call LePage & Sons today – 763-757-7100! Or head to our contact page to submit a service request form!