When you think of compost, you tend to relate it to gardening or kitchen waste such as clippings, leaves and food waste. However, the same term applies to anything that is made from organic matter which breaks down in less than twelve weeks.
If you already have an active recycling scheme, understanding the benefits of composting can have a significant impact on your overall plight to greater sustainability.
One of the first steps is to understand the difference between recycling and composting.
Recycling versus composting
It can be confusing to understand the differences between recyclable and compostable materials.
Recycling converts used materials into something new and is a highly effective way of keeping waste out of landfill. It usually refers to paper, glass and plastics.
Composting is a natural method of recycling organic matter. An item is disposed of in a waste bin and breaks down into the compost; the resulting compost can then be used in a number of ways.
Why is it important in the workplace?
If your business throws away a lot of food, there’s every chance that you have large, heavy waste containers. The benefit of composting is that you can divert waste from these containers, reduce waste collection significantly and save money on overall waste costs. By doing this, you’re not adding any additional time to your usual recycling routine, but you are utilising a natural way of maximising your waste that is environmentally friendly.
The wider environmental benefits are huge as you’re also reducing methane gas and the volume of waste in landfills.
What materials can I compost in the workplace?
Generally speaking, you can compost most organic materials and food leftovers. If you’re already a recycling-savvy organisation that encourages less in the way of food and drink packaging, you can revamp and re-energise your team with a compostable waste scheme for food scraps and paper products.
Many people are of the mind that compostable items can simply go into a recycling bin but this can result in contaminated waste streams. Check out our latest blog here to find out the impacts of waste contamination.
If you don’t have a specific scheme in place, you can dispose through general office waste or multi waste bins. Compostable waste is recycled together with food waste which means that there’s no need for ‘sorting’. For example, a compostable lid, pizza box and napkin can be thrown in together without removing the remnants of cheese and ketchup!
Where should I recycle vegware/compostable packaging?
Vegware packaging is made from renewable, lower carbon, recycled or re-claimed materials and can easily be composted along with food waste.
If there’s no access to industrial composting facilities, used vegware should be put in general waste. As the packaging is made from plants, their sustainability benefits apply regardless of what happens to them after use. Once taken to a commercial waste facility, they are broken down in less than twelve weeks!
When possible, it’s a great idea to implement the use of eco-friendly packaging as it’s easy to compost. Vegware is designed to be commercially compostable alongside food waste. As long as you have a designated bin with the correct recycling bin labels, it’s super easy and convenient to use.
You should never mix any vegware or compostable packaging with recyclable waste, however as you risk contaminating your mixed recycling or food waste!
Collecting compostable material in non-compostable bags can often lead to issues, with this recyclable waste regularly being mistaken for general waste and lost within the recycling journey. With the Longopac Continuous Liner System, not only is valuable time is saved on emptying and refilling, Longopac bag material is made from 3-ply polyethylene, which gives low raw material consumption and high strength while also being available in certified compostable biodegradable plastic, perfect for food and compostable waste collection.
Cup recycling schemes are currently making huge strides, particularly as hot drinks are an integral part of a worker’s day. Sadly, many coffee cups continue to end up in landfill as they’re generally lined with plastic.
Our Unisort Cup Collector has been designed to support the recycling of your workplace coffee cups. Lightweight and with a smart, sleek design the dual apertured unit keeps liquids hidden away and comes with a lid for to preventing spillages when transporting. If the waste liquid container overflows, an extra 2L of liquid will be caught in a unique large sump area.
The layout of waste apertures is very intuitive and provides a clear guide to the user on how to recycle their lids, liquids, and cups. Firstly, insert your lid at the back of the unit. Secondly, pour away any liquids in the front. Finally, insert the cup on your left or right. (Works for both left and right-handed people!) Discover more about the Unisort Cup Collector here.
How can I start a successful office composting scheme?
Ensure that you have the appropriate signage on your bin and/or on a nearby wall in clear view. This should inform users what materials can, and can’t, be composted. It also encourages participation and helps to avoid unnecessary contamination of waste streams.
Office Recycling Bins and The Unisort Aspire Office Recycling Bin are aimed at tackling specific recycling needs with the option of selecting bespoke streams and can be designated as multi/general waste and labelled accordingly. You can also opt for colour coded tops with Facilo 50L recycling bins; suitable for many waste types and guarantee easy waste segregation.
Educating your workforce on the benefits of composting allows them to gain a deeper understanding of the associated benefits. Once they become aware of the correct and incorrect waste materials, they’ll be more dedicated to the scheme and your chances of success will rise. Custom wall graphics are ideal for impactful recycling messages.
There’s no limit on where you place your recycling/composting bins though composting benefits from areas where most the organics are produced. This tends to be kitchen/catering areas, common rooms, and breakout areas.
General waste bins such as Megabins are ideally placed both indoors and outdoors to ensure clean spaces and recycling continuity throughout your workplace.
The Unisort Aspire Office Recycling Bin provides up to 5 individual waste streams for all types of waste, including food waste, which makes recycling a more convenient task in any workplace. The Unisort Aspire Office Recycling Bin also features the Longopac Continuous Liner System which means that valuable time is saved on emptying and refilling, without the need to come into contact with unsightly food waste. With this system, each liner takes only 20 seconds to change and there’s up to 160m of continuous liner ready for immediate re-lining. Proven to save reduce labour costs by 38%.
Ready to improve your recycling journey?
Whether you’re a school, university, office or restaurant that produces a lot of food waste, your organisation will greatly benefit from taking your recycling scheme that step further. The move contributes to a healthier environment and supports your overall sustainability goals.
Who are Unisan?
Our aim is to help businesses divert compostable items away from landfill while reducing their solid waste costs. Unisan’s key mission is to empower and support workspace recycling, in any environment. We are continually assisting organisations in achieving their sustainability goals and helping businesses demonstrate their commitment to both the environment and their workforce.
Have we convinced you to implement a recycling scheme in your workspace? Hope so! Please reach out to a member of the Unisan team to learn more and we’ll be happy to help.
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