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10 Tips To Increase Your Office Recycling

office recycling program

Let’s be honest, it’s 2018 and it’s likely that no matter what size of business you work in, your facility has some type of office recycling program in place. However, your office recycling program may be very limited.  Many businesses believe that they don’t have the resources or funding to increase their office recycling program. But that is just NOT true! Simple steps can be made to rev up your current recycling program and help you save your business money. Here are 10 tips to support and increase your office recycling:

1. Collect More

In addition to recycling paper, there are plenty of other waste items your office can be diverting from landfill. Recycling these days goes beyond paper, cans, and bottles. Computers, cell phones, and other e-waste items are just a few of the vast materials recycling companies will reclaim and repurpose.  Conduct a waste audit of your facility to help gain a better understanding of what materials are being trashed and if any these items can be recycled instead.

office recycling program

Be sure to check with your local municipality and waste hauler first, but here’s quick list of items your office may be tossing but could be recycled:

  • E-waste
  • Light bulbs
  • Batteries
  • Printer cartridges
  • Cardboard
  • Pizza boxes
  • Aluminum cans & bottles
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines

2. Separate Organics

If your office isn’t already collecting food waste, this is one low hanging fruit you can’t afford not to pick.  By adding an organics stream to your office recycling program, you can considerably increase your organization’s diversion rate and in some cases even reach zero-waste. Not to mention that when compostable materials are collected and processed properly, they can be used to help grow crops, revive nutrient deficient land, and even produce power!

Here’s what you should collect:

  • Food scraps
  • Paper towels and napkins
  • Coffee grinds & tea bags
  • Cardboard sleeves from hot beverage cups
  • Compostable plates and cutlery

For more tips and tricks on collecting organics, check out our blog 8 Tips for Successful Organics Recycling.

3. Introduce Centralized Recycling Bins

office recycling program

Centralized office recycling station at Nestle.

Take away employee’s individual waste and recycling bins! Yes, you read that correctly. At CleanRiver we strongly recommend centralized waste and recycling stations. Why? Because when employees sort their own waste they become more aware of what they’re throwing out rather than just chucking it in the convenient bin under their desk. As they learn what can and can’t be recycled or composted from the graphics on the central bins, they are more likely to toss the waste in the right stream which prevents stream contamination.

Try the Mini Bin program to get your centralized recycling started. Hennepin County saved $9,500 a year in waste hauling and liner costs when they implemented a Mini Bin program.

office recycling program

4. Promote Litter-Less Lunches

At CleanRiver, every new employee receives their own reusable lunch bag including Tupperware. This is just one proactive step your office can take to encourage employees to avoid bringing their lunch in paper or plastic bags which are used once and then tossed. At CleanRiver, we encourage our employees to be mindful of what they bring into the office. Like elementary classrooms, a litter-less lunch is just one initiative your organization can adopt to reduce the amount of daily waste coming into the facility.

office recycling program

5. Ditch Take Out Coffee Cups

We can’t ask employees to give up their morning coffees, but just think about how many of those cups get tossed in the office waste bins daily. The average North American office worker uses 500 disposable cups a year and throws away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.

Instead, opt to provide them with reusable coffee mugs and water bottles. This small change can drastically reduce the amount of coffee cups and plastic bottles filling up your waste and recycling streams.

office recycling program

CleanRiver Sales Rep with reusable branded mug.

6. Reduce The Amount Of Waste Coming Into Your Facility

When it comes to the 3Rs of recycling and actively increasing your waste diversion rate, the best thing your facility can do is REDUCE. This means focusing on your supply stream and what you bring into your facility. Promote your program to your vendors and work to bring in only items that are recyclable or compostable. If you can control what’s coming into your facility, you have a much better chance at diverting more waste from landfill because the waste your facility is producing is already recyclable, reusable or compostable.

7. Try Tent Cards

In your office lunchroom or cafeteria trying placing Tent Cards on the center of every table. These should have messages like “Don’t Forget to Recycle” or “Did you know ____ this can be recycled?” written on them. These simple statements serve as reminders to staff on how to properly sort their waste when they’re done eating. Check out more ways to use communication to increase your office recycling here.

8. Reuse Old Office Supplies By Introducing An Upcycle Station

office recycling program

Office Upcycle Station

One major magazine head office got creative and was able to increase their office recycling by setting up an Upcycle Station. This idea came after one of the custodial staff was asked to throw away boxes of old file folder holders just as a Staples truck was pulling up with a new order. Immediately flagging this unnecessary waste and cost, they came up with a solution. Now, whenever employees have old office furniture, phones, computers, staplers, etc.  they are organized and placed in a designated shelving area known as the “Upcycle Station”. When an employee is in need of a “new” office supply, it is protocol to check the Upcycle Station before re-ordering any new items.

9. Go Paperless

office recycling program

Ok, it may not be realistic for your office to go completely paperless, but there are several steps your business can take to reduce how much paper is used or wasted.  Encourage employees to edit and proof all their documents on their computer and print on recycled paper. Unless it’s a formal document, always print on both sides of a sheet of paper before recycling it. Memos, company announcements, and all internal communications can and should be sent through email or posted on an online message board.

When it comes to purchasing and invoicing, work with customer service and accounting to switch all billing to online. Let your customers and vendors know you are going paperless and request that your suppliers and banking send e-statements rather than mail.

10. Measure & Report

Continually monitor and report on the office recycling program and progress. Conduct regular waste audits to identify any opportunities to divert more waste from landfill. Be sure to post your results and goals near your recycling bins to encourage people to do their best. People like to see their efforts are affecting change.

office recycling program

For more information on increasing recycling at your office, check out our blogs 11 Office Recycling Resolutions For A Sustainable 2018 and 4 Simple Secrets To Totally Rock Your E-Waste Recycling Program.

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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 1-888-646-4246 or email solutions@cleanriver.com.