Recycling is good for the environment and good for your bottom line.  But when it comes to implementing a successful recycling program, poor planning and a lack of attention to detail can result in some very SCARY situations.  Over the years, we have seen some pretty chilling cases of failed recycling programs (horror stories!) that will keep any CleanRiver employee up at night.  Recycling program failure can be avoided!

3 Ways To Protect Your Recycling Program From Failure


1. Consider All Environmental Risks

When ordering your bins, a key component to avoid recycling failure is your collection stream openings.  Of course size and shape are extremely important aspects to consider when it comes to accommodating items your bin will be collecting, but what about keeping things out? One long time customer ordered outdoor recycling units with one-way hinged flap doors. One poor lady suffered the consequences early morning when she went to toss her trash in the bin and to her shock had a racoon jump out onto her.  Due to the one way hinged flap openings, the raccoon was able to get in, but wasn’t able to get out until some poor soul was looking to get rid of their trash. The lesson: If you are placing bins outdoors consider all risk factors including the furry ones who just love to get into waste.   Make sure your openings either prevent any creatures from getting in and/ or if they do, they are not trapped, resulting in one hungry and angry rodent! [caption id="attachment_5126" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Raccoon looking for lunch in Bevvy Bin8 Raccoon looking for lunch in Bevvy Bin8[/caption]

2. Size Does Matter

Don’t be fooled, when it comes to recycling bins, size does matter and so does shape.  Sure it sounds great to order some extra large barrel shaped bins when you are servicing high volumes of people generating lots of waste.  But placement of that bin is just as crucial.  Take it from one University Campus who made the mistake of ordering this style of bin and then placing them on top of a hill.  It only took a few students and a couple of drinks to push the bins over and roll them right down that hill.  Luckily that round heavy bin didn’t hurt anyone but the Dean’s car however? Well may it Rest In Peace. [caption id="attachment_4857" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Bentley University campus recycling program outdoor waste bins Indoor & outdoor CleanRiver Recycling Transition TIM bins at Bentley University[/caption] The Lesson: When it comes to bins that are durable and can service high volumes of people, there are many different design options available and many of which are much more suitable for campus spaces. A square shaped bin could have easily avoided this terrifying scene and don’t forget your add-on options like weighted bases that prevent bins from tipping over.

3. Don’t Let Your Recycling Efforts Go To “Waste”

One of the most horrific moments for any Recycling program is when an organization appears to have the right number of bins, where the different waste streams are clearly marked and identifiable and everyone seems to be separating the waste easily and efficiently.  However, horror ensues when you go to the back of the building only to be chilled to find that there is only one dumpster! All the different streams being collected are all being dumped into landfill! THE HORROR!!  Not only is this a waste of resources and time but your organization could be throwing away thousands of dollars in recyclable material.

[caption id="attachment_5127" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Recycling failure Contaminated Streams[/caption] The Lesson: Before starting any recycling program, conduct a waste audit and have a chat with your waste hauler. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what is recyclable and what streams your waste hauler is able to collect.  Example questions for your Waste Hauler. The price of poor planning when it comes to recycling programs can be catastrophic, but actually implementing a detail oriented program can be quite cost effective. If you are looking to start a recycling program but don’t have the funds check out our E-Book: Recycling Grants: What Are They And How To Get Them. Speak to one of our experts to get your recycling program started and we will hold your hand and steer you clear of any danger looming at the bottom of your bin.  Please contact us here.


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’d like more information on how to implement a revenue-generating recycling program for your office, please call us at 1-888-646-4246 or email Recycling Graphics Guide, Sustainability Manager, Facility Manager, recycling program, office recycling, business recycling, campus recycling