“Now I have my new recycling station on order, how can I ensure my colleagues use it properly when it arrives?” A question we often hear….
Launching your recycling campaign doesn’t need to be complicated. Here’s a few simple tips and tricks we have found work well. Along with your new recycling bins that have super clear signage that can’t be missed, give these suggestions a try, and trust me, your recycling rates should skyrocket. We have proven this time and time again with companies we work with.
Green team or green champion
You may already have a green team on board in your organisation. If you don’t, create one. Make sure this team knows about the new recycling campaign, and how they need to passionately advocate it to encourage a more circular economy in your workplace.
Nominate team member/s who are passionate about the environment to become green champions. They can encourage colleagues, and lead by example, to help change the mind-set in your company. This can cause a constant positive force for the campaign, and keep everyone on board to maintain a culture of recycling and waste reduction. Your green champion needs to have unwavering energy and enthusiasm for the campaign and should closely monitor recycling levels, communicate to management and motivate the team. Read our full blog post here on how to boost office recycling rates with a green champion.
Creating a big launch for your new recycling campaign really works to grab your team’s attention. This could be done by one or more ways – the more you can get the good news to your staff, the more they will take it in. Think of sending out an email launch, announcing the new recycling programme and what you are hoping to achieve. Mention it in your internal newsletter / bulletin, or announce it in your team meeting. Other methods that prove useful is printed hand outs, posters or large, impactful wall signage getting the message across bold, and clear.
Share the goals and the ongoing results
Communicating the goals and results regularly to your team will instantly help you to encourage recycling at work… By including everyone on the journey you will automatically get more buy in. Show them how recycling makes a real difference to the environment, and make sure they know your company’s sustainability goals. This could be done in a weekly bulletin email to your team, or in your regular group huddles or meetings. Continually monitor and report on the progress of your office recycling program. You could do this by carrying out regular waste audits to identify any opportunities to divert more waste from landfill, by recycling more. Displaying your results and goals near your recycling bins is a fantastic way to encourage people to do their best.
Incentivize your staff
You could even introduce a competition to motivate employees to participate in recycling – when there’s a reward at stake it usually works wonders. Some companies have created teams by department or building section, and whichever group wins the recycling challenge that month receives a prize. Rewards don’t need to be extravagant, and you could even skip the prize in favour of something meaningful to your workers, to inspire them to continue their great office recycling efforts. When targets are set and results are measured, a sense of competition is likely to kick in.
Or how about having a “Recycling Heroes” bulletin board for those that ‘get caught green handed’. When someone gets noticed recycling, you reward them – or enter each recycler to win a larger, eco-friendly prize (e.g. reusable mug or water bottle, or sustainable item of clothing or recycled content diary/planner… you get the idea.)
Ensure they are strategically placed
Now your stunning recycling stations have arrived, you should have by now got rid of any other bins hanging round that could discourage recycling, especially under desk waste bins. Recycling just won’t be championed if you don’t abolish these little waste bins! Your beautiful new bins with clear signage should leave people with no excuse not to recycle correctly. There needs to be enough recycling stations in the building, which depends on the size of your building and the amount of people you employ. Ideally, recycling stations should be situated within 10-15 steps from every employee for best results. So where should you place the bins for best results? Think about this carefully – the best places are high-footfall areas such as a position in the office that people always need to walk past, other high foot-fall areas in the building like the corridor, or the break out canteen area also. Make it as simple as possible for your staff to do the right thing and increase circularity, and make it difficult for them to do the wrong thing and send more waste to landfill!
Whatever you choose, the key is consistency. Your staff should be able to travel to different sites, and always see the same message. It gives them confidence, and a feeling that it matters what they do with their waste. It shows that it matters to you as a company.
Even if you send ‘zero waste to landfill’, there is probably still room for improvement. Remember the hierarchy of waste (Reduce, Reuse, Recycling). Continuously improve by working on reducing the amount of waste your facility produces – reduce, reuse, recycle. You may have already gone paperless in the office, which is a great example, or at least encourage not using the printer, unless you really need to. Also consider banning or phasing out disposables, and encouraging reusable coffee cups, lunchware etc. This will also promote the fact your company cares about the planet, and is a great time to remind your team of the recycling goals.
Discussing your green commitments to your suppliers can also be beneficial – try to bring in as much recyclable or compostable, eco-friendly materials as possible, even with consumables like stationary. If you can control what’s coming into your company, you have a much better chance at reducing waste you send to landfill, because the waste your facility is producing is already recyclable, reusable or compostable.
Getting your staff involved can also work well – as them for suggestions on how they think you could become a greener company.
New waste streams?
If your mixed recycling rates are already high, then it could be time to look at segregating waste further. This needs to be discussed an agreed with your waste management company first to make sure they accept and work with a particular material. An example is setting up a coffee cup recycling waste stream, or even one for batteries or electrical items. Contrary to popular belief, disposable coffee cups can be recycled into many amazing paper products, as long as they are collected at the point of disposal separately – you just need to make sure your waste management company will collect them. (Many do, more on this here)
If all waste is correctly segregated, your recycling should take up 75-95% of waste volume compared to general waste. This figure is based on office waste only. When waste from canteens and washrooms are included, the proportion of general waste often goes up.
I hope this gives you some good ideas on how to start your journey to excellent recycling rates. If you want to know more, or have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0330 700 6000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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