Skip to content

Time is money in everything we do at work. Waste and recycling management is no exception. In this ‘How To’ guide I’ll show you 5 ways to make waste and recycling management lean with the help of the 5S’s

Step 1: Sort

Clutter brings chaos to what could be a lean and productive work environment so have a spring clean (whatever the time of year). Less really is more when it comes to stuff, especially if that stuff isn’t used or needed. Now that you have freed up space, you can move onto Step 2

Step 2: Set In Order

Whilst you can use standard waste and recycling bins to help manage waste segregation, many businesses are opting for a more organised solution. This comes in the form of recycling stations or systems which clearly set in order which bin is for which purpose. Even if you don’t opt for recycling stations, you can still set in order standard bins with the help of clear signage.

When positioning your bins or your bin aperture, think about the natural movement staff undertake when getting rid of their rubbish. For example, in a staff room/canteen, I would recommend positioning food waste first in the row, followed by cardboard (for the sandwich wrappers etc), then plastic and finally general waste.

Step 3:  Shine

Now that you’ve invested in a new recycling solution – maintain it. Keep it clean, clear and reinforce the positive use of it.

Step 4: Standardise

Behaviour is created by repetitive action so standardise your signage across your facilities. Using imagery or colour coding works well – the success of Pinterest proves how visual messaging has been adopted by many.

Step 5: Sustain

Regularly communicate the successes (or otherwise) of the recycling system. If it’s making a positive impact on your brand image, staff morale and/or office aesthetics – shout about it but most importantly sustain it.


So, hopefully, you’re already thinking about how you could adopt the 5S’s in your workplace. Remember – don’t over complicate things. By nature, we are lazy. So make it simple with an ordered, clear and visually stimulating recycling system. Bespoke recycling stations are growing in popularity as are systems that incentivise staff to recycle such as reverse vending technology from CafeCrush.

Recycling Solutions from Unisan UK


Recycling laws in Wales have changed. Is your business compliant?