Businesses of all sizes are working to increase their efforts to become more sustainable, aiming to reduce their carbon footprint as well as saving money for their business. One of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to achieve this is to recycle.
Put simply, the more we recycle, the more energy is saved and the amount of waste going to landfill is reduced. Create a plan to ensure your business is on board with the best current practices for recycling and educate each employee about it, and all the associated benefits.
The most effective way for a business to reduce waste is to reduce its paper consumption. Paper usually has the highest volume of waste in any office. However, even in today’s modern workplace there are still many tasks that just can’t go paperless. An alternative way to be more sustainable when it comes to paper in the workplace is to find ways of reusing it before it makes it’s way into the paper recycling bin.
- Used, or misprinted documents are great for use as scrap/note paper
- Double sided printing is a great paper saver, and perfectly acceptable for internal documents
- Shredded paper is perfect for use as packaging or, you can donate shredded paper to your local animal shelter for use as bedding
- Kids use a lot of paper, send scrap office paper home to the kids of the staff, the kids will love it and your employees will be happy for the surplus….and will love not having to clean crayon off the walls!
Boxes and packaging are a huge source of waste for business, and while choosing eco-friendly options is a great start, there are other steps which can be taken to reduce and reuse.
- Use shredded paper or reclaimed packing materials for packaging
- Find ways to reuse delivery boxes. A new label might be all it needs to be redistributed to the next recipient
- Consider ordering in bulk to reduce packaging waste
Paper and cardboard aren’t the only recyclable items in the office. You’d be surprised at what can be recycled through various companies and government initiatives.
- Ink and toner cartridges can be easily recycled, and many companies organise their own pick up of used cartridges
- Most plastics can now be recycled through regular council recycling or soft-plastics programs
- Old computers and mobiles can be wiped of memory and sent to companies who specialise in reusing their parts
- Batteries, paint, coffee pods and aerosol cans can all be recycled through specific organisations
There are a myriad of ways to reduce energy usage, saving the environment, and big bucks on your power bill.
- Use flurorescent or LED lightbulbs for less energy consumption
- Install sensor lights which automatically turn on or off in response to movement
- Where possible, use fans and open windows instead of air conditioning
- Turn off computers and monitors when not in use
If many of us make a few small changes to our daily lives we can accomplish a lot, together.
- Encourage reusable water bottles, coffee cups and lunch containers
- Install a water filter for easy, and clean refilling
- Provide options for eco-friendly products
Most offices use a lot of recyclable materials, so make it easy for the team to dispose of things properly by providing separate waste bins for each recycling option. Include a visible label that provides practical guidelines to help encourage and promote recycling.
You can also provide colour-coded bins to accommodate each recycling facility.
To achieve a successful recycling initiative, employees need to be motivated to participate. Reach out and engage with staff members to ensure they are aware of the right way to recycle and what options are available, while also making it simple for them to contribute.
You may need an ongoing training program that lets staff know what they can and can’t recycle. There’s no reason education can’t be fun too, and it’s really worth putting in the effort so that everyone is as enthusiastic as they are educated.
- Create department competitions for the least amount of waste produced per quarter
- Devise a training program which is engaging and informative
- Introduce rewards for achieving recycling goals
You can run a recycling awareness day to help boost the adoption rates of the recycling program. Provide engaging infographics and activities that inspire people’s beliefs and provide a greater understanding of the recycling program.
The day can also be used to educate staff members on the impact of recycling on the environment and the costs associated with waste production.
- Hold games and activities which reinforce the message of recycling
- Take an excursion to a local waste management depot
- Invite an expert to present on issues related to recycling
Introducing a recycling program doesn’t have to be complicated. A few simple changes, introduced over time, can really change the way an entire company views waste management. Boost everyone’s involvement in recycling and help to make a difference to the environment.