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Recycling Your Business Documents: A How-To Guide
Melissa Adrian 2016-05-26
Did you know that up to 90 percent of office waste in the average workplace can be recycled? If you don’t currently recycle in your office, here’s what you will need to do.
1. Get Started
The very first step to starting a recycling program is to have a look around and figure out what’s going into the rubbish bin. Next, see which products are recyclable and which ones you want to include in the initiative. Reach out to whatever company does your recycling and ask them exactly what they take and what they don’t. Also look into the environmental rules regarding electronics recycling.
Start small so people don’t get overwhelmed. Paper products are the usual place to start, and beverage containers. A few months after you start, move onto other objects like ink and toner cartridges, electronics, and computers. Make sure you check out the regulations for recycling electronics.
Consider appointing someone as coordinator for the recycling program. This person will need to oversee and organize the initiative. It should be someone who is interested in sustainability and willing to take on the responsibility of the program.
2. Encourage Participation
For a recycling initiative to be successful, the employees have to be motivated to participate. If the CEO asks for them to go along with the recycling plan, people are more likely to adhere to the suggestions made.
Place the recycling bins where the most garbage is generated like in break rooms and cafeterias, near printers, and in copy rooms. They should be clearly identifiable with signage saying they are for recyclable materials only. Make it clear which material goes into which bin. You can also make sure each employee has a small receptacle at their desk in which to place recyclable materials.
Make sure each employee knows about the program and your goals for the initiative. You can count up recycled materials and track the progress in public, and even add incentives and rewards to employees who recycle the most.
3. Train Your Staff
Don’t assume that everyone knows what is supposed to go where, and why. Your office staff may sort their recycling from their trash, only to have it all combined by the people who clean the offices at night. Let everyone know what the program entails and how to follow it. Inc.com has a handy guide on how to start a recycling program in your office.
4. Arrange for Disposal
Possibly one of the most important steps of the whole process if deciding how to collect and dispose of all of your office’s recyclable products. Find out who is responsible for collecting waste and find out if they collect recycling, too. If not, you may need to hire an outside service. If yours is a small company, perhaps you can partner up with a neighbouring business to split the cost. You may also be in need of disposing your paper documents, in which case you may want to consider hiring a shredding company such as Shred-it UK, which has operations across the world.
5. Take More Steps
Some companies offer cash for recyclable products like ink and toner cartridges or electronics. Others might offer money for scrap metal, which is something to consider if you have a lot of old office furniture that isn’t in a condition good enough to sell second-hand. This will help generate a small amount of income in addition to saving money on trash pickup.
Reducing and reusing goes hand-in-hand with recycling. Particularly if you’re looking to save money, making an effort to reduce office waste and reuse as much material as possible is a good business strategy. Try to go paperless as much as possible, and find out what products can be reused.