The Basics of How Every Business Should Handle a Recycling Program

Recycling is important because it reduces waste, saves energy and lessens your environmental impact by reusing materials instead of making everything from scratch. Businesses nowadays need a strong recycling program to appease customers and maximize cost-effectiveness. Here are the basics of starting recycling at your enterprise, best practices for managing the initiative and spreading your ideals in the community.

Setting Up a Recycling Program

The United States produced 35.7 million tons of plastic waste in 2018 alone. Setting up a recycling program involves creating a system to collect and process materials for reuse. Here are some key steps in establishing an effective process.

1. Assessing the Recycling Needs

This step helps tailor the program to address specific materials and quantities, ensuring a targeted and efficient recycling effort. Recognize recyclable materials in your waste stream, such as paper, plastic, glass and metal.

Many people want to recycle but don’t know where to start. In fact, 62% of millennials would recycle more if their employers provided more access points. Identifying these everyday items lays the foundation for sorting and recycling efforts within your program.

2. Designing the Recycling Program

Define clear objectives for your recycling program. Whether reducing landfill waste, increasing recycling rates or minimizing environmental impact, specific targets will guide your program’s direction and measure its success.

Select efficient methods for collecting and storing recyclables, such as placing bins in convenient locations, implementing a clear labeling system and establishing a regular collection schedule. Exploring collaborations with local recycling facilities or waste management companies can enhance the efficiency of your recycling program by ensuring the proper processing and disposal of materials.

3. Educating Employees

According to one survey, over 60% of 2,000 Americans are concerned they might not know how to recycle correctly. Developing informative posters, pamphlets or presentations is important to communicate the importance of recycling, guidelines for sorting materials, and the impact of workers’ efforts. Train them to sort and dispose of recyclables properly — clear instructions help reduce mistakes and improve the process. Rewards and acknowledgment make participation more engaging and positive.

4. Procuring Recycling Bins and Equipment

Get recycling bins or containers suitable for your workplace. Make it easy for employees to recycle by placing bins in accessible areas, matching the size to the volume of recyclables generated in each location.

Make sorting easy by using color-coded bins and clear signs. For large volumes of recyclables, explore compactors or balers. These measures enhance efficiency in the recycling process.

Recycling Best Practices for Companies

Implementing recycling best practices means adopting effective strategies for a successful recycling program. These efforts contribute to a greener and more sustainable approach:

  • Sorting and collection of recyclables: Label bins clearly, indicating what can be recycled. Have a central collection point for convenience. Regularly empty and maintain bins to keep recyclables clean.
  • Contamination prevention: Prevent contamination by educating staff on what can and cannot be recycled. Implement measures like using separate bags for recyclables to maintain the quality of materials. Regularly audit and monitor recycling bins to identify and address contamination issues quickly.
  • Partnering with recycling service providers: Choose recycling providers that process your kind of waste — such as toilet tissue or office paper — with good practices. Set up clear communication and reporting, and verify their certifications for reliability.
  • Tracking and evaluating performance: Set specific goals to guide your efforts, measuring the volume of recyclables collected to monitor progress. Regularly assess and adjust the program for better results.


Keep the Program Going Strong With Outreach

Less than 10% of plastic was recycled of the 7,000 million tons created between 1950 and 2017, so it’s important to discuss recycling with various audiences. Use email, newsletters, intranet and social media, and ask employees and customers for feedback and ideas to enhance engagement. Team up with local green groups or community buddies to boost efforts. Join fun community recycling events to show your commitment to a greener world.

You should also cheer on your team — encourage employees to join volunteer gigs and eco-friendly projects. Of course, don’t forget to celebrate progress and achievements in the recycling program to boost morale and commitment.

The Basics of a Corporate Recycling Program

Every business can contribute to a greener future by starting a thoughtful recycling program. Following these basics makes a positive impact on the planet.

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