If your workplace recycling program consists of a few boxes for employees to pitch in unused papers, you could be doing a lot more. Recycled goods go beyond paper and toner: What about plastic or heavy paper lunch containers, electronics, aluminum cans, glass bottles, cleaning supply bottles, plastic bags and wraps? All of the above can be recycled.
By making it easy for your employees to recycle at work, you're not just helping the environment, you're also showing your employees that you and your business value your community and your world. You're also more likely to attract and retain talented workers, particularly those of younger generations.
Here are four ways to implement a more robust workplace recycling program and encourage your employees to get involved.
1. Make It Convenient
Don't just install recycling bins by the printers and copiers. Install them in every area where recyclable waste may be generated. Place a recycling container in the breakroom, for example, where employees can dispose of freezer-meal boxes, bags and other food containers. Place a technology-specific recycling bin near work stations, where employees can recycle tech they're no longer using or other electronic items that break or get replaced. For more ideas of workplace items that can be recycled, visit Recycling at Work.
2. Communicate Clearly and Regularly
Consider sending out an email or bulletin about your renewed commitment to recycling and listing all the various types of items that can and should be recycled at work. Post recycling reminders on the walls near the bins, listing the types of items that employees can recycle.
3. Make It Clean
Because recycling containers are used week in and week out without the plastic liners used in landfill-bound trash, the containers can get dirty. Help keep employees committed to recycling by having cleaning supplies on hand to spray off recycling bins when needed, especially in the breakroom.
4. Show How It Counts
Explain how important recycling is. For instance, we recycle 34.7 percent of our trash every year — that's the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of taking 34 million cars off the road, according to Recycling at Work. Emphasize how important it is to keep up these efforts, and even increase them, to do more good in the long run.
By following the above tips, you'll show your commitment to the environment and make your employees feel good about doing their part. Working together to create a sustainable workplace demonstrates your company values and helps bind the team closer together.