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Recycling in the Workplace: How Much of a Difference Can Really Be Made?

Think about how much trash you throw into your recycling bins at home each month. Now think about how much trash you produce in your office. Can you image how much garbage your office throws out could be recycled? If you think that recycling in your workplace would not make a difference, think again. 

Each year, businesses throw away tons of garbage that could be recycled. It’s such a waste of resources and money, and it overruns our crowded landfills. Make the change to start a recycling program in your workplace today. 

Make a Plan 

It’s easy to say “we want to recycle in our office,” but it’s much harder to make a program that actually makes the workplace more efficient. Before you implement a recycling program, take a few minutes to make a plan. Be sure to decide: 

  • What items you want to recycle
  • Who will head the recycling program
  • How you will dispose of waste 

Each of these steps is very important because you need to stay focused in order to keep track of your results to see how much of a difference you are making with your new program. 

Decide What to Recycle 

In order to determine what items you want to recycle, do some research on what office products can be recycled. Some common products you can recycle are: 

  • Paper
  • Glass
  • Cardboard
  • Toner cartridges
  • Plastic 

You will need to take into consideration what you plan to do with contaminants that cannot be recycled but should not be thrown away like old computers, batteries, and cell phones. 

Also, consider recycling old office furniture like used cubicles, broken desks and chairs, and old lamps. Some local businesses will pick up these used items for free and use the old parts or fix the broken items. 

Find a Leader 

A recycling program needs to have a leader. This person will organize trash pick-ups and keep track of the efficiency of your new recycling program. He will also contact waste haulers when problems or questions arise. 

Find a Waste Hauler 

Talk to your current waste hauler and find out what their recycling programs entail. Most likely, your garbage bill will decrease when you add a recycling program to your normal trash pick-up. The hauler can provide the bins and guide you on implementing the program in your office. 

Make is Convenient 

Workers will have an easier time switching to a recycling program if the new bins are kept close to the usual trash containers. Most offices create an enormous amount of paper waste, and paper can be recycled. Make sure to place a paper recycling bin next to desks so workers can easily place used paper in the bins. 

Encourage Reuse 

Recycling is great; reusing office supplies is even better. Encourage reuse in your new recycling program as an added bonus in efficiency. For example, used paper can be reused as scratch paper for notes or messages before it is placed in the recycling bins. This will create less waste overall. 

Also, consider using reusable glassware, dinnerware, and silverware in your kitchen or cafeteria. Less trash will mean even lower costs on your garbage bill. 

Reaching Out for Help 

Take time to research recycling programs in your local community. They tend to have events where you can dispose of your hazardous materials like old computers and batteries free of charge. They may also have a service that will take your used furniture to a resale shop free of charge, too. 

Have a Party 

Finally, you want to make this a fun event for your staff so they will be excited to recycle. Kick off your recycling program with an office party and announce incentives for proper recycling practices. Remember that their hard work will save you money on your garbage bill. 

The bottom line is that you know you need to recycle in your workplace. It’s not just about saving money—it’s about saving the planet. Make a plan and get started today for a cleaner more efficient tomorrow. 

Kim Wade is a freelance writer who writes about motherhood, blogging, and pop culture.