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6 Tips For Gas Station Recycling Programs

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One of the biggest challenges with gas stations is that everyone who stops there, whether for snacks, gas, or even just a break, are usually in a hurry. This rushed mentality is why it can be difficult to protect your recycling streams from contamination. Couple that with the fact that gas stations also become a dumping spot for the garbage in everyone’s car. As a result, gas stations have very little control over the materials and products that end up in their waste streams. But don’t worry, CleanRiver has worked with many gas stations over the years and we are sharing our top tips on what we have found can increase the effectiveness of your gas station’s recycling program as well as meet your organization’s sustainability goals.

1. Keep Your Recycling Streams Together

gas station recycling program

Don’t make the mistake of only having a trash can near the pumps and a recycling bin in the kiosk. Avoid stream contamination by selecting a recycling solution that collects all your streams in one container and use separate bags for each stream so there’s no risk of contamination. You can also coordinate recycling bin opening colours with posters or labels to help people make the right choice. Use color-coding for different streams e.g. blue for recycling, black for landfill, green for organics.

2. Use High-Impact Images That Help Your Patrons Make The Right Choice When They Go To Toss Their Waste

gas station recycling program

Using high-impact images of specific products that are typical in your gas station’s waste stream helps guide people to make a quick decision. Remember to keep your graphics simple with 3-6 images and not to overcomplicate your images to avoid confusion. Make sure your recycling labels are colourful, clear, and at eye level.

For everything you need to know about ordering the most effective recycling labels for your gas station recycling program check out our FREE webinar presented by CleanRiver CEO Bruce Buchan or read our blog 3 Tips For Ordering The Most Effective Recycling Labels For Your Program.

3. Select Recycling Bins That Have The Capacity You Need

gas station recycling program

waste audit can help you determine how much waste your gas station typically collects in a day. Remember to audit both your indoor and outdoor bins. Once you review the results of your waste audit, you can determine the capacity of the waste and recycling containers you’ll need. Talk to your waste hauler about which streams you’re able to collect as this will vary by city and region. For example, you’ll need to know whether you collect your recyclables together (commingled or single stream) or whether you need to separate out cans and bottles from paper.

gas station recycling program

Bonus Tip * One common item that is collected at most gas stations are the empty windshield fluid containers. These containers are big and a few can easily fill up a recycling stream with only a few. CleanRiver has come up with a solution to effectively separate these jugs and keep them from filling up your bins. And don’t forget, these jugs are made from HDPE and can be a valuable recyclable you can sell back 😊

4. Select Recycling Containers With Rigid Liners To Prevent Liquid Spills On The Forecourt

Because gas station patrons are in a rush it’s doubtful they will take the time to empty any liquids they are finished with in an appropriate area. So prepare your recycling program with liquid capture solutions.

5. Place Your Recycling Bins In High Traffic Areas So That They Are Easily Accessible

gas station recycling programs

Help your patrons do the right thing by placing your waste and recycling bins at every pump.  If someone is stopping to pump gas, chances are they are not going to walk out of their way to toss that coffee cup or water bottle (especially during the Canadian winters).  They will most likely end up tossing it in whatever bin is closest, or worse, litter ☹

6. Choose Recycling Bins Made From Weather And Rust-proof Material To Protect Your Investment

One of the most important factors to consider when you’re planning a gas station recycling program is the climate. It’s likely that your outdoor bins need to be able to withstand the weather all year round no matter what the conditions. From harsh Canadian winters to tornado season in the southern States, the durability and safety (consider the fact that your gas station has cars constantly driving around your bins. Accidents can happen.) of your outdoor recycling bins should be a top consideration. Bin accessories, such as anchor kits, are an ideal solution to ensure your bins remain safe and grounded.

If you want to ensure your outdoor recycling bins will stand the test of time, sturdy construction is key. There are many different material options available including various wood laminates, steel and plastic, but when it comes to the outdoors CleanRiver has found that you just can’t beat HDPE! Our outdoor recycling bins are manufactured out of 97% recycled HDPE material which doesn’t rot, is impervious to insects, is UV stable & weather resistant and waterproof. And the best part? CleanRiver also accepts recycled HDPE bins at the end of life to be recycled into other consumer items and HDPE lumber. It’s a sustainable win win!

gas station recycling

CleanRiver custom designed outdoor recycling container

CleanRiver manufactures a range of customizable, weather-proof recycling containers that will keep your facility litter free, and divert waste from landfill. check them out here.

For more information on running a successful gas station recycling program, check out our blogs 5 Pro Tips For Buying Recycling Bins and 4 Reasons Why Your Recycling Program Is Failing.


CleanRiver Recycling provides a variety of innovative, flexible and customizable recycling solutions. To determine the right solution to meet your needs, use the CleanRiver product selector.

If you have additional questions that weren’t answered in this blog post please call us at 1-866-479-4038 or email solutions@cleanriver.com.