22 Top Recycling Tips for the Workplace That You Can Implement Today
Need some quick office recycling tips for today’s green team meeting?
If you’ve been looking for useful tips on how to improve your recycling processes, then this article will get those idea-cogs turning. It’s jam-packed with things you could do to be ‘greener’ at work.
Remember – 9 out of 10 people say that they would recycle if it were easier, so it’s up to you and your team to make recycling the easiest thing in the world at your company.
Check out these 22 recycling tips for the office, and pick which one your team is going to focus on today. You’ll be surprised at the difference you can make, changing one small thing at a time!
Here is the list of top tips for 2020.
Tip #1: Have a Wish-Cycle Target
Does your company have a wish-cycle target yet? Set a goal to reduce improper recycling practices at your company so that waste contamination rates improve.
A waste audit is a good place to start, and once you know the extent of the problem, you can work to fix it. Announce your wish-cycle target to the company to get everyone on board.
Tip #2: Install a Rinse Station
So, waste contamination is a real problem.
One of our best workplace recycling tips involves moving your recycling bins near a rinse station, or installing one in the cafeteria where food waste is prominent.
When your employees can rinse out their reusable lunch boxes and wash out their recyclables, less contamination will happen when they throw their paper, plastic and glass items away.
Tip #3: Put Filtered Water in The Fridge
The studies are in, filtered water is the healthiest type of water you can drink. Bottled mineral water has roughly the same mineral content as tap water. So there is no need for bottled water.
Instead of giving employees access to bottled water, make filtered water available in your fridges, and through your taps. Your employees will thank you for the health boost.
Tip #4: Create a Paper Policy
A vulnerable recycling area in the office is in the copy room, where paper is used. If you want to reduce use, and recycle paper correctly – take some time to draw up a paper policy.
This will outline important recycling rules that your employees don’t know about – like how to dispose of shredded paper the right way (hint: it’s not in the recycling). Stick these on the walls.
Tip #5: Add More Recycling Bins
There are ways to recycle more, but first you have to make sure your office has enough bins. So many workplaces only have one or two recycling areas! Maybe, you don’t have enough.
Consider adding recycling bins to areas of the office that would see a lot of action – like in cafeterias, outside kitchens, and near exits. People won’t have to walk as far, which means they’ll use them.
Tip #6: Setup a Reuse Station
One of our best recycling tips is about setting up a reuse station. This can be done for different materials, and even for old things your employees don’t want anymore.
Designate a cupboard, or shelved area when employees can take their extra or second-hand office supplies, clothes and furniture. Be creative with ways to get more use out of these items!
Have an additional area where things can be retired after being reused. That’s how to recycle old clothes, supplies and products right.
Tip #7: Get a Web-Based Recycling App
For unlimited recycling tips and ideas, consider getting a recycling app that will link your employees together and make green initiatives as company, easier to manage.
Ask your app things like, ‘Can plastic straws be recycled?’ and ‘how do I know what can and can’t be recycled?’ – and it will have the answers. Apps are a great way to deliver instant education daily.
Tip #8: Discourage Disposable Cups
We all love coffee culture, but it doesn’t have to be at the expense of the earth. Reducing your employees addiction to single-use coffee cups will be challenging – but you can do it!
Part of a sustainable lunch box means making your people aware that coffee cups can’t be recycled. Just one cup a day equates to 23 pounds of waste per person, a year. The impact is enormous.
So, put up posters, send emails, have free coffee refills for mug-bearing employees. Get the word out that your company is anti-disposable cups.
Tip #9: Use Desktop Recycling Trays
Here is one of those recycling tips for the office that immediately helps employees collect and recycle a particular material the right way.
Instead of recycling bins at each person’s desk, try desktop recycling trays that collect paper, or plastic items.
Paper for example, is lightweight and employees tend to use a lot of it at their desks. Much of it ends up in the trash, because people get busy – but these trays fit neatly in the corner of any desk!
Tip #10: Put Bins Where It Counts
A green recycling bin strategically placed in the break room where people eat lunch and hang out, is bound to see more action than one in the middle of a hallway.
Centralizing bins is a great idea, but sometimes it makes your employees walk too far to make their recycling count. Making it easy, is about putting your bins where your people hang out the most.
Tip #11: Print on Both Sides
Reusing paper is a great way to immediately halve your paper waste. Paper recycling tips like this one can be company-wide, all it takes is a committed to printing on both sides.
Send out a memo – for internal printing, all paper must be used on both sides. Any paper that has been used once, and can be used again should be placed at the upcycle station or near the printer.
Tip #12: Switch to Memo Notes
Do you still use large sheets of paper for everything in the office? Switching to post-it or memo notes is a decent way to help the environment. Small pieces of paper do the job just as well!
Here’s one of those interesting facts about recycling you hear about – post-it notes are 100% recyclable. The adhesive on the notes is no problem for recycling machines.
Tip #13: Make Printing Optional
Who needs to print so much in this day and age of digital screens and mobile technology? Before you print things before meetings, give your employees the option to bring their tablet or laptop instead.
There are good ways to recycle sure, but if you can save on material use do that first. Announce to your company that printing documents is now optional at meetings.
Tip #14: Use Easily Recyclable Products
Products made from recycled materials should always be your first choice, so that recycling them is easier. Glass for example, is infinitely recyclable – as long as it doesn’t get contaminated.
Get management to commit to buying recyclable products only, so that you can rid yourself of any non-sustainable items that just become waste.
Tip #15: Add Organic Waste Bins
Add an organic waste bin to your recycling program, and fill it with food scraps. Some 30% of what we throw away is food waste.
It’s a great way to close the food recycling loop – food is grown, eaten, discarded, made into compost, only to grow more food again.
You’ll need a green recycling bin that goes indoors, and is emptied regularly. Clear labels, along with educational posters will go a long way to kicking off your food waste recycling project.
Tip #16: Avoid Food Packaging
Here are two top recycling tips straight from your sustainable lunch box program – avoid food packaging and buy in naked food products. Aim for zero-waste at lunch!
If you have to, look at switching from packaged ready-made meals for your employees to a more canteen-style approach, where food can be dished onto reusable plates.
Tip #17: Compost Your Food Waste
If you’ve started an organic waste program, then why not compost your waste? So many companies have plants and gardens now that it seems like a waste not to use what you’ve got.
Composting has added benefits, like adding nutrients back into the soil and improving the water quality in your area. If you’re looking for a way to use your organic waste, this is it.
Tip #18: Appoint Department Captains
Employees at your company will want to help your green team achieve their goals. To get you there faster, and to keep your people accountable – appoint recycling department captains.
One of the most interesting facts about recycling is that with increased stewardship, results improve across the board. Department captains will help your green team engage with various employees.
Tip #19: Do a Paper Audit
The average employee uses 10,000 sheets of paper every year. That’s an entire tree’s worth of paper, per person, each year. Your company can do better, starting with a paper audit.
Along with reducing paper use, there are better ways to recycle paper in the office. Find out how much paper is being recycled, and how much is being thrown in the trash to begin with.
Tip #20: Get a Smart Search Tool
When recycling at work, tips like this one are invaluable when you want to quickly and efficiently improve your recycling rate. Plus, they reduce contamination the more you use them!
Get your company to use a smart search tool. Our Ask Milo tool instantly tells you what can be recycled. Ask questions like, ‘can I recycle plastic bags?’ and it gives you the answer.
Learn how to recycle bubble wrap, plastic wrap and thousands of other materials.
Tip #21: Maintain Your Company Garden
If you have a company garden, and an organic waste program – instead of sending your compost away, use it in your own grounds.
Grow food, plants, and make your company beautiful using recycled food from your own restaurants, cafeterias and employees. It will boost the morale of everyone who uses it.
Tip #22: Provide Instant Incentives
Last on our list of fantastic recycling tips for the office, is to instantly incentivize your green practices.
If your goal is to rid yourself of wish-cycling, or to raise your recycling rate by 20% – incentivize it for your employees.
Offer a range of prizes for the best recycler or recycling team every month, and track everyone’s progress using a web-based app. You’ll be amazed how much people will enjoy it.
Use these 22 top recycling tips to reshape your office culture and become a lean, green recycling team! Nothing can hold you back when you have inspired ideas on your side.
Which of these tips did you like the best? Tell us here.
Levi ArmstrongOctober 3, 2021 at 10:17 am
It’s great to know that a waste audit is an excellent place to start, and once you know the extent of the problem, you can work to fix it. The old AC unit in my parent’s home will be recycled and replaced with a new one. I’ll share this with them since it could help with the maintenance. Thanks!
RickJanuary 5, 2022 at 9:49 pm
Tip #22 I hope our CEO can read this one and start calling the finance department.
Eli RichardsonSeptember 28, 2022 at 1:58 pm
I’m glad you talked about ways we’d reduce our environmental impact by recycling and reusing at work. The other day, I chatted with a co-worker about how it’d be nice to start a recycling campaign at work, and she seemed to like the idea too, so I’m sure your tips will help us. Thank you for the information on placing recycling bins in the right places around the office.
RenéeJanuary 30, 2023 at 2:47 pm
The retailer I work for has a brilliant plan that provides us corrugated plastic Gaylord boxes where we are to put our corrugated boxes that are broken down and when they deliver our new inventory, the trucks pick up our empty boxes and take them back to warehouse/distribution, that tapes the boxes back together and reuses. So it doesn’t use up all the water recycling boxes into those crappy brown paper towels–saving the water necessary to grow the trees for 25 years used to make more boxes, & the water used to recycle.
And being environmentally responsible is a corporate goal set out in our company website which is to be followed as part of our employment agreement.
AprilFebruary 3, 2023 at 7:31 am
That is wonderful!
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