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Recycling at Work

Recycling at work can contribute to your corporate sustainability goals and save you money, but before you start, it’s important to know the difference between recycling at home and recycling in the workplace.

Residential recycling typically consists of normal single stream items that can all go in one bin, but commercial recycling varies greatly from one organization to the next. From banks, to manufacturing plants, to hospital clinics, each organization generates different volumes and materials, which require different types of recycling programs.

(1) Get management on board.

To ensure your program will be successful, make sure you have support from management.
Present the importance of recycling and how it will be both beneficial and feasible for your company:
•  Save money by avoiding disposal costs.
•  Improve public image & corporate sustainability.
•  Improve employee morale to ‘do the right thing’!

(2) Identify items to recycle.

Identify materials that can be recycled in your company’s waste stream.
• Walk through your facility and observe where and how materials are being generated.
• Common single stream items include paper, cardboard, cans and bottles, but don’t overlook the more unique items like packing material, specialty paper or plastics, pallets, electronics and other office equipment that could be recycled separately.
• If you find materials that aren’t recyclable, try to find ways to prevent them from being generated in the first place!
Millennium offers free onsite waste audits to help you identify these items.

(3) Set up a recycling service.

Create a collection process that works best for your company’s unique needs.
• Based on the materials you’ve identified to recycle, find a waste hauler that offers options for collection.
• You can also use the where do I take this tool to determine where you can bring items directly.
Millennium offers free onsite waste audits to help you find the best process for you.

(4) Decide where to place bins.

Decide what option works best for your employees and custodial staff that is also within any contractual or union agreements.
• Place recycling containers wherever materials are generated (next to copiers and printers or in break rooms).
• Tip: wherever there’s a garbage bin, place a recycling bin next to it.
• Clearly label the containers to avoid any confusion.
• Involve your custodial team to decide how materials will be moved out of the facility for pickup by your hauler:
• Some methods require custodians to collect garbage and recyclables daily or on alternate days. Others involve employees taking recyclables to a centralized location with custodians handling just garbage, or vice versa.
Millennium offers free onsite waste audits to help you identify the best locations for collection bins.

(5) Educate and motivate coworkers.

Educate
• Send out a kick–off memo to educate all employees about your new recycling program.
• Include guidelines in your employee orientation.
• Make sure the custodial staff is in the loop.
Motivate
• Monitor the program and highlight positive results to let employees know about program successes and build momentum among upper management.
• Your hauler can provide volume reports to help quantify the success of the program.
• Make it relatable by calculating the amount of resources saved, pollution prevented, or dollars saved for the company:
For every ton of paper your company recycles, 17 trees are saved!
• Use motivational posters, progress reports, and incentives to reward behavior.
• Reminders about the program should be sent out periodically to maintain participation.
Millennium offers free onsite waste audits to help you build the right education platform for your business.

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