How To Start A Recycling Program At Your Company

Updated March 3, 2022
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Starting a Recycling Program: 4 Simple Steps

Offices and workspaces generate more waste than virtually anywhere else. Think about it—the average office worker, for example, spends about eight to nine-plus hours at the office, at least five days per week. That’s prime time—and that comes with tons of waste, including everything from food and drinks to office supplies, paper goods, electronics, equipment and much, much more.

While many offices stick small recycling bins around the floor and hope for the best, in most cases that’s not enough to curb the waste. Not only will many employees simply opt for the path of least resistance—in other words, tossing garbage and recyclables into their personal waste bin—but many will also ignore signs and other call outs for the paper- and plastic-only containers. The end result? All those half-full coffee cups and lunch leftovers wind up in the recycling bins, and office managers wind up recycling nothing. Not ideal.

So how can you encourage your office or workplace to start recycling? It’s simple. By planning, implementing and advocating your recycling program, you’ll be up and running in no time. Start here:

1. Get a Point Person—or TEAM—Involved

Every workplace initiative needs an advocate who will tout a program’s success and help gain organizational buy-in. If you don’t already have someone who’s ready to step up and assume the role, consider putting together a small team to facilitate and champion these critical efforts going forward. Putting the power in employees’ hands is a great way to drive commitment and compliance—who doesn’t want to see their co-worker excel, especially at something as important as this?

2. Figure Out the Parameters

While it would be great to say, “RECYCLE!” and have everyone fall in line, that’s not the reality. You, your “recycling captain” or the company’s recycling team should, first, determine the specifics of the program. Will you recycling paper? Plastic? Electronics and scrap metal? Many businesses adopt a walk-before-you-run approach, starting with something small—paper and plastic, for example—and then layer on additional recyclables as the year goes on. This ensures you get the framework for your recycling program in motion before worrying about the more complex processes.

3. Determine Next Steps

Figured out what you’ll collect? The next step is to figure out how you’ll collect it all. Bins around the office? Designated drop off points? Individual recycling bins for each individual office and cubicle? Make sure any employee-facing receptacles are clearly labeled to avoid confusion down the road.

Beyond that, it’s important to determine how you’ll process your recyclables. Will you hire a service to haul them each week? Will you handle in-house? Will you have a sizable amount of recyclables each week? And, if so, would investing in your own baler make sense?

4. Get Everyone on Board

Once the wheels are in motion it’s important to spread the word within your organization. Make sure the staff is well-versed on the recycling program and their individual responsibilities and understand the importance of this initiative. Answer any questions and make info and intel available to employees 24/7. And, above all, be open to feedback and input as the program moves forward. Tapping into your colleagues is a great way to pulse-check your recycling program—be sure you’re all ears, always. Good luck!

Need some help starting one at your company? We can help. Contact us today and talk with our team.