In a typical work environment a lot of the stuff that gets thrown into the bin can be recycled, it’s simply that people are uneducated about what is re-useable and what isn’t, and that is the problem. Setting up some kind of collection service in the office will reduce your carbon footprint and also can save businesses money in terms of fewer supplies to buy. Here are some tips on how to join the recycling bandwagon.
With any initiative, if it is going to work, it’s important to first carry out an assessment of the office and work out precisely what is being thrown into the trash. The next step then is to identify those products that can be put to further use and set up a system whereby they are put into separate containers and sent off to a processing plant. If you aren’t sure about some of the items then you can always contact your local council for advice, or employ the services of an environmental agency that can even do the job for you if you feel it is too big or inconvenient.
A large percentage of office supplies can be reused but you might be better off just starting with the main items such as plastics, bottles, tins and cans, paper, card and newspapers and magazines, these are very easy to clean and store until they can be collected. As most people are familiar with these for recycling purposes they won’t be too fazed by the whole scheme either. Then later on, when employees are familiar with the system and it’s become part of everyday life in the office you can always add batteries, ink cartridges, e waste and more.
In certain cases it’s also possible to save money and even make yourself some money into the recycling bargain! Some sites actually pay for old electrical products including laptops, calculators, camcorders, camera lenses, mobile phones, desktop computers and laptops, digital cameras, hard drives, video games and gaming consoles, projectors and satellite radios. Others have an electronics recycling program and will give a rebate if you buy more of their products in the future or on a regular basis, ink and toner cartridges are commonly returned for recycling.
Remember to start the scheme off slowly and don’t overwhelm your staff with too much information or too many changes as it has to be kept as simple as possible and benefit them, not make more work for them.
Recycling is a satisfying practice for people involved as they know they are doing something to help the environment and encouraging others to do likewise. Keep your staff informed as to how many tonnes of paper they have recycled, which can be mapped back to number of trees saved, and how much money has been saved from their efforts. This will keep them in the loop and encourage them to carry on with their good work. You could even start a competition between the departments whereby a reward is given to the one that manages to recycle the most plastic bottles for example. If you need it, Waste management companies can help you with all aspects of recycling and resource recovery.
If you don’t have time to oversee the paper recycling programme yourself then it’s a good idea to designate the task to someone responsible with an interest in sustainability, and is willing to help plan and see the entire recycling initiative through as it can work very well as long as it’s set up properly.