Businesses of all sizes are urged to take responsibility for their recycling efforts. Albert Boufarah, CEO of SAMR Inc. in Lakewood, NJ, says that even though recycling is beneficial to our economy, many companies still don't recycle at all. Even more surprisingly, some businesses choose not to recycle because they believe it costs too much money.
However, this couldn't be further from the truth. When you consider the cost of hiring someone to clean up after a mess or in the instance of an emergency spill, there is no question that recycling offers significant savings in time and money. Recycling also helps reduce waste sent to landfills which benefits both businesses and communities by reducing pollution and saving space where we live and work.
The first step to effective recycling is planning, as this will help determine what kinds of recyclables your business creates and how you plan to achieve success. This includes determining the products that should be recycled, properly labeling bins for convenience & appropriate categorization, and choosing a recycling service provider to collect your materials. Here are a few tips you can use to help your business become more efficient now:
Provide recycling bins for employees
It may seem like a simple change, but providing dedicated receptacles for recyclable items makes it much more likely that those items will get recycled. Albert Boufarah of SAMR Inc. suggests, if possible, designating areas outside of the office so garden clippings, food scraps, and other items can be composted.
Audit Your Recycling Waste
After your office has been operating consistently for some time, it is recommended that you audit what you have been recycling. That way, you can see how much waste this creates. This is important information that should be documented to determine what works and what does not. With the help of a business service provider, you can establish a way to streamline recycling efforts to reduce costs and increase convenience.
Make Sure Recycling Bins are in Convenient Locations
Employees will be more willing to recycle if bins are conveniently located. Boufarah of SAMR Inc. suggests ensuring that your staff members have easy access to recycling bins and a designated area for paper, plastic, and glass containers.
Keep Paper and Plastic Separate
Small items such as paper scraps and food packaging should be stored in one bin, while larger items such as bottles can be stored in another. Doing so will ensure these materials aren't mixed where they could become unusable during the recycling process.
When staff members use reusable items such as dishware or silverware instead of disposable products like plastic utensils, they will reduce both usage and waste. These changes can make a large impact over time because when less recyclable material is produced, it means less effort needs to be made on the part of employees and fewer trips to the recycling center.
Many cities have implemented green bin programs, which means businesses can dispose of organic material like food scraps in the same bins used for grass clippings and leaves. If this isn't available in your area, find out if any farmers nearby would be willing to come to pick up the composted materials from you. According to Albert Boufarah, some farms may even be willing to offer a financial incentive for this type of material or give you a deal on produce as an alternative.
Increase recycling frequency
Recycling collection intervals should correspond to the types of materials being collected. For example, glass bottles and aluminum cans are more valuable than cardboard. If possible, set up a schedule for different recyclables so employees know when to put out their items for collection.
Promote a Paper-Conscious Policy
Consider replacing all of your paper towels with more eco-friendly alternatives like electric hand dryers or small towels that can be used more than once. It may be a bit of an adjustment at first, but your staff will appreciate the effort you put into reducing paper waste at your company.
Participate in local recycling initiatives
Getting involved in local recycling events shows community members and employees alike that your company takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. Some ideas include hosting a recycling drive for specific materials or partnering with another organization to recycle their plastic bags, which are often blown onto roadsides and can both make for a less attractive landscape & harm wildlife in the area in a number of ways.
Keep Track of Your Success
The best way to determine if your recycling efforts are effective is to keep track of them over time. This means looking at the amount you spend on actual recycling and the cost associated with non-recyclable waste removal. If either number increases, you may need to consider a new plan or refine your existing one to meet your goals better.
These tips will help a business make a difference in improving the environment in the short & long term. Many people don't realize that every little change can add up when multiplied by thousands of businesses, so companies need to lead by example when possible.
By planning ahead and taking some time now to work with your employees, you will have the opportunity to improve business recycling efforts in no time. Businesses everywhere must become more aware of how they can reduce their environmental impact by changing the way they do things just a little bit at a time. By making those changes, businesses can rest assured knowing they are doing their part as environmentally responsible citizens without putting too much strain on their company's budget.