Helping Your Office Recycle

Many businesses today are taking steps to reduce waste, lower energy consumption and manage their carbon footprints. We’re learning that being environmentally friendly can also be good for business, since green methods often translate to cost savings.

One simple way that you can help your business become more environmentally friendly is by organizing a recycling program in your workplace. Start by getting approval from your company’s management. If they are hesitant, explain that recycling can help cut costs and that there may be incentives such as tax credits or discounts on waste bills. Once management is on board, contact your local recycling and waste management authority. This may be a municipal or county office, or it may be a private contractor. Find out how to schedule regular recycling pickups at your workplace and what the fees are. Find out whether they offer any of the above incentives. You will also need to find out if they require different types of recyclable items to be in separate bins or if it can all be mixed.

Once you’ve arranged for a pickup, you can begin distributing recycling bins around your office. It’s good practice to put a bin next to any photocopiers and paper shredders so that paper can be promptly recycled. People will be discarding a log of plastic bottles and aluminum cans in the lunch room, so that’s another good place for a bin. Send word around your company that a new recycling program is in place to encourage everyone to use the new recycling bins. You might want to send emails to any company distribution lists and print an article in the newsletter to bring it to the staff’s attention.

Recycling in business environments helps both the environment and the companies’ bottom lines. A business that recycles 100% of the paper it uses will save 50 pounds of paper for each case that it orders. This has a tremendous impact on the rain forests, as it reduces the number of trees that must be cut to produce paper. And that helps feed into the larger and most important effect: reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Forests provide carbon sequestration, which is very important in preventing warming from greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA offers a tool to help businesses estimate the real world impact of their recycling programs. This is a great resource to share with your coworkers and managers to help them understand how the recycling program actually helps the environment.

Business recycling programs are ecologically friendly, cost-effective for the company and help provide jobs for the local economy. They are also easy to organize. Follow the tips above to help organize one in your workplace today.