In the modern workplace, an office recycling program is viewed more as a necessity than a frill. More and more people are concerned about maintaining an environmentally friendly environment, and recycling is a simple step toward a greener workspace. How do you bring this very important practice into your building? Here are the five steps to incorporating office recycling.
Step 1: Assess Your Building’s Output
Before you jump into office recycling, conduct a waste audit for your facility. In the typical workplace, 90% of office materials are recyclable. That said, it’s challenging to track and organize the materials for recycling. It’s smart to take a look at what’s being tossed and choose the two or three most commonly disposed items for recycling. Consider the following:
- How much general waste is being generated throughout the building?
- Are the businesses throwing away a great deal of paper every day?
- Are there a lot of plastic water bottles and aluminum cans thrown away in their trash cans at the end of the day?
- Are you equipped to collect recyclable items such as batteries or toner cartridges?
A thorough assessment of your building’s current output would help you be able to make a plan to incorporate office recycling. You’ll know how many cans you’ll need to provide as well as whether you’ll need more receptacles for paper, plastic, or aluminum.
Be sure to talk to your janitorial service about office recycling as well. If they have clients who have already introduced recycling in their buildings, they can be a valuable resource. You’ll also want to notify them that you’re considering the program. After all, it will potentially involve more time and effort on their part, so they should be in the loop from the start. Be mindful of the fact that this could mean an adjustment in their monthly price.
Additionally, you should get a feel for the level of enthusiasm from the people who work in the building. Are they willing to put forth a little extra effort to sort the products, or should you stick to one high-volume recyclable product?
Step 2: Get Buy-In from Management
If you don’t have support from the managers of the offices housed in your facility, your office recycling program is dead before it even gets started. If the high-ranking people in the building are on board, they’ll encourage everyone who works for them to follow suit, perhaps even creating an incentive program for participants. They’ll also have to sign off on the potential additional cost for the extra effort your janitorial service will be putting forth.
Step 3: Gather the Materials for Your Office Recycling Program
Sure, you could just put out some recycling bins and hope for the best, but if you want a truly effective office recycling program, you need to set yourself up for success.
Before you set out the bins, circulate a flier notifying people who work in your facility that you’re starting an office recycling program. Give a detailed breakdown of what product goes in each bin so there will be no confusion when the bins are dropped off.
Hang brightly colored posters encouraging workers to recycle, again detailing which products go in each bin. (You can get resources from Keep America Beautiful to help your cause.) Be sure that the bins are clearly labeled and, if possible, make them different colors to further eliminate confusion.
Step 4: Strategically Place the Bins
Once you’ve got the bins, it’s time to decide where they should be placed. Put some thought into where they’ll be most effective. Some good spots include:
- Office copy rooms
- Break rooms
Be sure that you hang detailed instructions over the bins so everyone understands what materials go where. Create a detailed list of Do’s and Don’ts so everyone will know for sure what’s okay to put in each bin. This will save you time in the long run— less fishing plastic water bottles from the paper bin and vice versa.
Step 5: Inform Your Janitorial Service of the Office Recycling Program Start Date
As mentioned above, your janitorial service must be kept abreast of any potential changes to their service. If they’re not aware that you’ve implemented an office recycling program, they won’t know where or how to dispose of the waste they collect. Your janitorial service is in charge of emptying bins, and if they’re not notified, all your carefully sorted waste will be tossed in the garbage after all. Your program will only succeed if EVERYONE is on the same page, so be sure that you’ve communicated what’s being recycled and where to put the recyclables.
The best way to implement a really effective and successful recycling program is to prepare all parties for a positive outcome. A great janitorial service will be willing and able to help you maintain a greener facility, whether it’s by participating in your recycling program or by using environmentally friendly products that contain no harmful chemicals.
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