Recycling at your place of business is not only good for the environment, but can improve your image to your customers.
Building an effective and successful recycling program is no sweat!
Step 1: Get Organized
Business waste and recycling programs succeed when employees and management are engaged, involved and committed.
Employees: Get management on board by showing how a waste reduction and recycling program can save your your company money, boost employee morale and save natural resources.
Management: Identify a ‘champion’ in your organization to lead the effort, coordinate activities, and keep people informed and engaged in the process.
Step 2: Look in the Bin
Recycling is tax exempt in Minnesota. Take a look in the trash bins around your office – you might be throwing away money!
This is not a time to shame employees or management, but rather, an opportunity to assess opportunities to improve.
Employees: Take a look at the trash and recycling bins around your office and take note of the following:
- Are they full?
- What’s in them? Are there recyclables in the trash and vice versa? How much of your garbage is food waste and soiled non-recyclable papers (like napkins and paper plates)?
- How often is your trash and/or recycling picked up?
Management: Review your trash and recycling service (waste hauler) statements or talk to them to evaluate:
- How much waste is your business generating?
- How much hoes your collection and disposal services cost?
- Where is your waste going and how is it managed?
Step 3: Reduce Waste
Waste reduction can lower costs in every are of your business – your break rooms to shipping.
Employees: A few simple changes can significantly reduce the amount of waste you create at work:
- Use both sides of a sheet of paper when printing and copying
- Use reusable dishware in break room and at your desk
- Use electronic documents whenever possible and print only what you need
- Buying supplies in bulk or economy sized packaging
- Purchasing or leasing washable cleaning cloths
- Shipping products in returnable containers
The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) is a resource to reducing waste, recycling more and managing business hazardous waste effectively.
Step 4: Start Recycling
Recycling is easy when done right! Make sure you’re getting the most of your company’s recycling program.
Employees: Make sure you’re getting the most out of the recycling program where you work:
- Verify what’s being accepted with your service provider
- Place clear and visible labels on every recycling bin
- Place a recycling bin next to every trash can
- Work with facility staff to make sure recycling is being collected and stored properly for pick-up
Management: Comparison shop for a recycling hauler. Key questions to ask potential recycling haulers include:
- What materials do you collect and how should they be prepared/sorted?
- Do you provide collection containers (desk recycling bins, barrels, dumpsters or outside storage containers?
- Do you provide labels or signs to encourage recycling and reduce contamination of trash going in the recycling container and vice versa?
- What are your payment terms? Do you require a contract for service?
Free downloadable posters, signs and stickers to help educate your waste and recycling programs.
Contact Pope/Douglas today!
Color coding containers and signs helps reinforce what goes into which bin.
Step 5: Spread the News
Employee participation and training is critical to success!
Spread the news about your recycling efforts.
Employees: Spread the word to your fellow employees about your company’s recycling program. Be sure to include information on company goals, what’s recyclable and who to contact with questions.
Management: Coordinate training for everyone in your company that handles recyclables, from custodial staff to outside contractors. Program understanding at every level is critical to its success. Track your progress and celebrate success!
- You’ve just saved materials. Instead of going to a landfill or incinerator, that bottle or can will gain new life as a new bottle, can or other object.
- You’ve saved energy. Because it takes less energy to recycle that to make from scratch in nearly every case. You’ve just conserved energy and the coal. Oil or natural gas needed to make that energy.
- You’ve saved a trip to the oil well, mine or gas field. Because you reused the material in step one, we don’t have to make another trip to the well head or mine shaft to get more stuff out of the earth.
- You’ve preserved habitat. Face it- no matter how carefully done, mining and oil drilling creates habitat damage. Sometimes just a little, sometimes massive amounts. Using less saves habitat and our natural systems.
- You’ve created jobs. Recycling requires people to do it. Repairing or refurbishing old equipment requires labor. By reusing, restoring and recycling, you create green jobs for the people who do the work.
- You’ve improved national security and saved lives. Much of our troops’ bloodshed overseas is done so to protect vital natural resources that we want to use. By recycling, you’d reduced the demand for virgin resources in increased the demand for resources we already have. This helps to keep our troops and resources safely at home, and our nation more secure.
- You feel better about yourself. You’re not some slacker tossing perfectly good materials into the trash heap or oceans and streams. You’re a responsible citizen who’s making a better world for all of us.