Recycling. It’s in our own hands…


From naturalist Sir David Attenborough to activist Greta Thunberg; environmental concerns are at the forefront of our lives, inspiring us to make green living the new norm.

And with Recycle Week 2019 just around the corner (23-29 September 2019), now couldn’t be a better time to do your bit for the greener, greater good.

What’s more… if you’re looking to set up a recycling initiative within your workplace - we’re here to help!

Why set up a recycling system?

Most people want to recycle, it just takes a little nudge in the right direction. Afterall, recycling brings many benefits, from benefitting the environment, to adding value to your company, and building your reputation, to saving money on waste disposal.

So, what’s the first step?

Introducing your own recycling initiative at work shouldn’t be an unnerving task, yet for many - it is! With the right tools and guidance however, recycling in a corporate environment can be easy to set up and run, can save you money, and can help to protect the environment.

Follow our five-step guide to ensure your recycling programme is a success…

Step 1: identify your waste

Firstly, you’ll want to identify the key materials that are thrown away within your office by completing a waste audit.

With this information, you can choose recycling stations that can collect and separate those key waste items be them plastic, packaging, paper, consumables etc.

Identifying suitable locations for your recycling bins to sit is also key. Your recycling station should be a one-stop collection.

It’s also worth noting that when there is no recycling bin directly next to the rubbish, many workers will put their recyclables into general waste.

From a corporate perspective, product packaging in the form of bottles, containers and plastic film followed by paper and cardboard packaging make up the items most commonly thrown away.

Step 2: don’t overcomplicate

As with many new initiatives, they can be over-thought and overcomplicated. So, if you want to ensure your recycling initiative is a success, you’ll want to:

  • Make it simple
  • Offer incentives to your team
  • Gain some insider knowledge; trusted sources include Recycle Now, Recycle More and Waste Recycling

Step 3: don’t forget to label

By clearly labelling recycling bins to show what can be recycled where, you can help to avoid confusion about what items go into which bin.

Separating out materials so they can be re-routed from disposal through to recycling can mean reduced costs for your business and positive results for the environment.

Step 4: assign a co-ordinator

By appointing a co-ordinator, you can ensure regular checks are completed. Even if you end up appointing yourself, the point here is to check recycling bins regularly to ensure the recyclables are not contaminated and to ensure the recycling bins are being used correctly and consistently.

Step 5: customise your approach

Recycle programmes vary from company to company, mainly because every company is different, so what works for one company, will not necessarily work for another. Therefore, customisable recycling programmes can be a more effective approach.

Factors to consider to help customise your approach to workplace recycling include:

  • Recycle bin size and opening size; based on the amount of people using the bin and the volume of waste being collected
  • Designs, materials and colours of bins used – customising colours and materials of your bins can ensure they are designed to meet the specific needs of your team
  • Recycling labels and graphics – clear, concise graphics can help to build programme awareness

Recycling waste - it’s in your hands

2018 saw companies wake up to recycling, 2019 is the year companies take action. Even coffee giants; Costa Coffee, Caffe Nero, Greggs, McDonald’s and Pret are taking part in a sustainability initiative to recycle 500 million takeaway coffee cups by 2020.

And while you’re not a coffee powerhouse – the public is looking to organisations to help solve major environmental issues. So, becoming more motivated to care about recycling and putting an initiative in place, can ensure you’re a contributing factor to greater corporate sustainability.

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