Encouraging recycling within the workplace is one of the best ways to help the environment. However, this can be easier said than done.
Not everybody is eco-conscious, and even those who are may not be aware of what waste can and can’t be recycled. The most common reason for not recycling is a lack of knowledge and confusion with materials and processes.
Knowing how to start an office recycling program not only benefits the planet but also promotes a conscientious work environment and company culture.
At home, it is natural to separate our recycling from general waste but during a busy workday, this can often be forgotten or overlooked. Below, we give our tops tips for how to implement an office recycling program.
1.Speak To Your Cleaners
Our commercial cleaning London teams have extensive experience in numerous different offices and have witnessed the best and worst practices.
Your cleaners will be able to provide advice on what does and doesn’t work and how to encourage recycling.
They are the ones who will be dealing with all your waste at the end of each day and they will be able to advise on any trends they are seeing, such as certain teams who are reluctant to do so to common items that end up in the wrong receptacles.
2. Lead By Example
This is always the best way to encourage staff to do anything, no one is going to be encouraged to recycle their waste if managers and directors aren’t doing the same.
Proper leadership will not just encourage employees to recycle but can also promote a cleanlier office environment overall. By actively showing you are cleaning and recycling to the same standard expected of staff, they will swiftly follow suit.
3. Make It Easy
Convenience and clarity is the key to recycling. No staff member is going to want to walk a far distance to recycle their plastic bottles when they could remain at their desk and put it in a wastepaper basket.
Similarly, if bins are not clearly labelled, many employees will prefer to place recyclable materials in the general waste, rather than risk the error of placing the wrong item within certain recycling bins.
It is said that people are not willing to walk more than 10 steps before discarding rubbish, therefore, make it convenient to recycle.
Recycling bins should be placed as often as possible throughout the building, from office cubicles, hallways, meeting rooms and kitchens.
Every local council has different requirements for how recycling should be separated, check with your local borough and create recycling points accordingly.
Clearly label each receptacle with what it should be receiving, such as plastic, paper and metal.
If you have a shredding, photocopying or printing station, place paper recycling bins nearby. We all create errors with paper copies of our work, having these bins close by will help encourage paper recycling.
4. Educate Staff
Even in 2020, not everyone knows the importance of recycling. Some people may not be recycling purely because they do not know why or even how to do so.
Educating staff as to the impact of not recycling on the environment and how to make informed choices when throwing things away will make a huge impact.
Even the small things, such as flat packing cardboard boxes or washing out milk cartons before recycling them can make a huge difference.
Take the time to train staff on these matters and it can also encourage them to do the same at home and benefit the environment even more.
5. Remove Personal Bins
Almost every desk has its own bin nowadays, this is easy and convenient to staff and doesn’t disrupt their working day having to seek bins elsewhere.
But it also encourages laziness when it comes to recycling, staff members are likely to put all their waste, recyclable or not, in these bins.
By removing these individual bins, you can encourage employees to get up and make a conscious effort to separate their waste materials.
This also reduces plastic waste with individual bin bags, which are often removed daily by cleaning staff.
Everyone has so many things to try and remember during their workday, recycling may be overlooked.
Friendly reminders around the office can make a big difference. Posters and notices throughout the office, especially in the kitchen, can prompt individuals to remember the importance of recycling.
Monthly, or even weekly emails can help, these don’t need to be long-winded essays on how crucial it is to follow, even signing off company-wide emails with a sentence or two about recycling can help.
7. It’s Not Just Office Waste
Almost everything you can think of can be recycled in one way or another. We live in a world of extremely fast fashion and it’s highly likely your staff have old clothes that were previously destined for landfill.
Encourage staff to bring in old textiles to be recycled, you can organise a clothing recycling company to collect these free of charge.
Create incentives to do so, such as a half-day off or a free lunch for every bag brought in. It can be a great piece of PR to show how you are actively involved in recycling in the office, while also keeping the idea of recycling fresh at work.
Sometimes the above just isn’t enough and staff members may need some fun incentives to encourage recycling.
You can reward good participation with anything from gift vouchers, days off treats in the kitchen or simply just a company-wide shout out. Praise can go a long way.
Create targets such as how quickly can the office collect 100 plastic bottles or can you reduce your general waste to only one or two bins bags a week?
Competition drives many employees, so even if they are not eco-conscious, they might thrive on their competitiveness.
By following these steps, you will be well on your way to implementing a great recycling plan in the office. Green cleaning is more important than ever nowadays to ensure the future of our planet.