The top 7 office recycling tips for small businesses. The Industrial Age has brought about great progress for mankind. However, crude machines, reliance on fossil fuel, and unsustainable practices of yesterday have wreaked untold havoc on the environment.
But today, we can make a difference. Through the Internet, we’re now aware of the impact of human activities on the environment. Augmented with modern, cleaner, and more sustainable technology, this awareness has brought about positive changes that help diminish the degradation of our environment.
One of the environmentally friendly concepts brought about by this awareness is recycling items. The good thing is that recycling can be practiced anywhere, even in the workplace. So here are our top 7 office recycling tips for small businesses.
Recycling Tips for Your Business
There are lots of ways you can reduce waste in your workplace and make a positive impact. Here are 7 effective tips on recycling stuff in your office.
Centralize the locations of your recycling bins
Do you have recycling bins in your office? Are they visible and easily accessible to everyone? If not, then it’s time to make those recycling bins the stars of your “office greening” endeavours.
Recycling statistics show that consolidating your recycling bins in a central location, putting directional signs, and informing the staff where those bins are located drastically captures more recyclables than in a traditional setup of having 1 bin per workstation.
Here are some tips when it comes to implementing centralized recycling bin locations:
- Ensure you have enough recycling bins for your company size.
- Label the contents of the recycle bins. You should have 1 bin each for: paper, plastics (including plastic bottles), aluminium cans.
- Put bins near common areas and usage hotspots.
Use a recycling app or guide
Is your business’s recycling program crawling slowly? It might be because your staff don’t know what items can or can’t be recycled. Recent recycling statistics from a Covanta survey revealed that 62% of Americans have no idea how to correctly recycle things. This figure would most likely apply to Australia as well.
Solving this problem is easy. Check out Android and iPhone recycling apps and download and install one on all your devices. Or simply check out this Recyclepaedia list to know which objects can be recycled and how to do so. For even more recycling knowledge, you can download and share printable guides for Australia, or Recycle Coach’s ebook for the USA that show you how recycling can help your company save money, improve its reputation, and enjoy rapid growth.
Minimize paper usage
Do you know that the average office worker in the United States uses 31 pages of paper a day? That’s a lot of paper. If you think that’s a lot, you’d be shocked at the national statistics. Paper waste comprises 40% of the total waste generated in the US per year, which translates to 71.6 million tons of paper annually.
Worse, paper consumption increased globally at 400% in the past 4 decades. That means, deforestation has drastically increased, with 35% of cut trees being used to manufacture paper. In addition, the manufacturing process of paper creates pollutants.
The environmental impact of paper usage warrants an urgent need to reduce paper usage. Thankfully, with today’s technology, this can easily be done. Adopt a paperless strategy by maximizing emails, chats, videoconferencing, and teleconferencing for internal and external communication. Change paper-based accounting to online purchasing, billing, and invoicing if possible.
If you really need to use paper, use both sides of the paper for drafts and internal memos. In fact, you should only use clean, brand-new sheets for formal documents and communication.
Designate a space for recycled office supplies
Believe it or not, used pens, stationeries, envelopes, fasteners, and other office supplies can still have a second life in the hands of a resourceful and creative person.
For example, if you have an artistic inclination, you can use those empty pens as a mobile or abstract sculpture. Bring home those used file boxes and repurpose them as storage boxes for your home. Your child might want to create some doll-house furniture from used folders. Bind a pile of used stationeries or Post-its, and use it as a small notebook you can bring during your hikes.
Your imagination is the only limit as to how used office supplies can be repurposed. That’s why it’s a good idea to put up a large container where your staff can put their used office supplies.
Consistently post reminders on bulletin boards and other visible areas.
Humans have a natural tendency to forget things; that’s why you shouldn’t trust your memory. As such, they might forget your recycling protocols from time to time.
Constantly remind your staff about recycling stuff by putting physical reminders such as tent cards on their work stations or reminder posters around the office. Examples of text to be printed on the physical reminders may be “Recycle Your Stuff,” “Recycle and Save the Earth,” or “Don’t You Know That XXX Can Be Recycled?”
Promote reusable lunch boxes
Employees often bring or purchase their own snacks and lunches. The problem is that those that are bought outside usually come in non-recyclable packaging. For instance, take-out burgers and fries and coffee-on-the-go come in greasy cardboard packs, Styrofoam containers, or paper cups. Many of these packaging materials are one-use and are not recyclable.
This can be averted by encouraging your staff to bring their own lunch boxes. Or you can provide them with reusable lunch boxes and utensils as an office perk.
Finally, if your office has its own kitchen or pantry, you can supply ceramic plates, steel utensils, and other reusable dining items. You can take it further by putting up a coffee machine and have employees use ceramic mugs; they don’t have to buy coffee outside and lose productive work time and you don’t have to deal with a lot of trash.
Keep an accurate inventory of office supplies
One of the biggest generators of waste items in the office are faulty inventories. Inaccurate numbers of how many items are in the stockroom, what items need replenishment, or how frequent such an item causes you to buy more supplies than usual. In some cases, you may even purchase products that can’t be used and just end up in the trash.
When doing inventories, make sure your numbers and projections are correct. Create a study to get the average frequency of usage and disposal of frequently used items.
It’s also a good idea to perform a regular waste audit. A waste audit allows you to identify and discover waste recycling opportunities in your business.
Businesses like yours are influencers of environmental protection. Your office is a treasure trove when it comes to recycling. By implementing and following a sound recycling policy, your business can be in the forefront and a role model in preserving Mother Nature. So get out there and implement our top 7 office recycling tips for small businesses today.