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4 Ways To Convince The Older Generation To Recycle

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The importance of recycling has been engrained into the minds of the younger generation for years now, but this concept can still seem new to the older generation. We get it, it can be hard to wrap your head around. “Why not just throw your paper into the trash? We’ve been doing it for years.” With climate change and environmental issues on the rise, this is a mentality we need to break and we need everyone to get on board.

It’s easy to recycle and every little bit makes a difference. Check out our top 4 ways to convince the older generation to recycle:

1. Make your recycling program easy for everyone

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The biggest barrier to recycling is that it can seem inconvenient and confusing. People want to do the right thing when it comes to recycling, but we need to make it simple, clear, and consistent. To make it easy, use high impact recycling graphics on your recycling bins. Not only will this eliminate confusion, but it will ensure quick decisions are made. Make sure your graphics are clear with detailed images, at eye level, colourful and kept simple with 3-6 images maximum.  Don’t clutter and confuse your labels by showing multiple versions of the same thing.

Another way to make recycling easy is to keep your waste and recycling streams together. Make it a one-stop collection. Don’t place the garbage stream on the opposite side of the room as the recycling stream. Keep your streams together and placed in high traffic areas so that they are easily accessible.  When your streams are separated people don’t have the choice of where to dispose of their garbage, so they often just toss it into the closest bin. This causes contamination in your recycling and waste streams, which is detrimental to your sustainability goals because contaminated recycling will often end up in the landfill rather than properly sorted at the Material Recovery Facilities. Convenience is everything in helping people do the right thing!

2. Explain how recycling programs can make an extra buck on the side

Many of today’s business owners are of an older generation and may not even be aware of the financial benefits when comes to becoming a more sustainable organization.  Without an effective recycling program in place, your organization could be throwing away thousands of dollars every year.

When companies make sustainable choices and implement recycling programs, they have the potential to sell their recyclable waste for alternative uses. This helps organizations earn back the money that was used to finance the program, and can even generate more money than the original cost.

Here are just some of those items that can be recycled for cash:

  • Scrap metal: Copper, steel and aluminum.
  • Car batteries
  • Wine corks
  • Bottles and cans: By returning cans and bottles you can redeem cash, roughly 5-10 cents a bottle.
  • Gift cards
  • Electronics: Even if the phone is broken, companies will take it to be disposed of properly. Many cell phone providers will trade electronics for gift cards.
  • Ink cartridges
  • Tennis balls: There are 300 million tennis balls manufactured each year from rubber that is not biodegradable. A small company, called “Rebounces” will give you money in exchange for tennis balls.
  • Soap
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Bonus tip: Add a compost stream to your recycling program and start collecting organics and you can really make a difference. If you’re interested in starting a recycling program at your organization, check out our tips to help convince your boss to start a recycling program.

3. Explain the benefits of reducing your carbon footprintrecycling grants, recycle, sustainability, graphics

What’s a carbon footprint? It is the total emissions caused by an individual or organization. The larger your footprint, the more carbon dioxide you’re expelling into the atmosphere. As global citizens, everyone should make it their goal to reduce their carbon footprint in order to make a positive environmental change. One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to recycle. Recycling is not only good for your bottom line, but for the global bottom line.

Not sure what your carbon footprint is? Take this quiz to find out.

4. Seek out recycling grants

There’s lots of FREE money out there to help get your recycling program started. Even if you cannot get full funding initially, your region may have matching grants available where the company is responsible for matching a percentage of the funds provided. When it comes to initial funding to start a recycling program, many businesses may not have the budget available. That’s why it is so important to look into start-up grants that are available through your state or province. Whether it’s a government green grant for recycling businesses or other types of programs that are more generic, there is lots of money out there for the taking. You just have to do a little bit of research on which funding programs you may be eligible for.

For a list of recycling grants available in North America check out: https://cleanriver.com/blog/recycling-grants/ and our FREE eBook: How to Get A Recycling Program.

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For more ways to get involved with recycling, waste diversion, and waste reduction, check out our blogs:

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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 1-866-479-4038 or email solutions@cleanriver.com.