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Corporate Recycling

7 Simple Ways to Improve the Office Recycling Program for Your Company

January 24, 2020

Does your office recycling program need improvement?

You’re not alone! Across America, employees struggle to adjust to the business recycling programs that their companies implement. And there are good reasons why adoption is an uphill battle!

The good news is that your green team can take steps to simplify and amplify the impact of your eco-friendly initiatives. It starts with a few tweaks, and the resolution of some core obstacles.

So here’s how to encourage recycling at work using 7 super-easy ways to improve your existing program. These ideas won’t just change your employees, they’ll change your work culture.

#1: Audit Your Office Recycling Bin Locations

How visible are the recycling bins at your office? If you don’t know, then it’s time to do a quick company survey to get to the bottom of the mystery.

It may surprise you that your bins are located in the wrong spot, are hard to access by some employees, or are confusing to use because there are no helpful directions nearby.

Girl recycling

There are many different ways to optimize where your office recycling bins are placed. Don’t just change to any-old location, ask your employees – look at the data, and make an educated decision.

According to a Great Forest experiment, the percentage of recyclables in trash dropped by 75% when they audited and centralized their bins.

  • Make sure you have enough bins for the size of your company
  • Your bins should be visible and easy to access in prominent locations
  • Group bins together and separate them by materials- Place recycling cans near usage hotspots – paper bins in the copy room, plastic bins in the break room

Auditing your bin location is one of those office recycling ideas that can suddenly, and permanently improve your recycling results. Hear from your employees, and review your recycling data!

#2: Get an App That Tells You What Can Be Recycled

One of the most common issues with your recycling program at work, is that your employees don’t know what can, and what can’t be recycled.

A recent Covanta survey of 2000 Americans said that 62% of respondents worry that they don’t know how to correctly recycle things. It makes sense then, to help your employees find out.

Using the recycle app

  • Get a ‘what-goes-where app’ that tells your employees what can and can’t be recycled
  • Work on educating your employees about recyclable materials
  • Expand their recycling IQ through mobile technology or by using a recyclepedia

An app like this works to consistently educate your employees, while giving them real-time access to usable information at the moment it makes a difference.

#3: Promote a Paper-Conscious Policy

When you think of your average workplace, you think of paper, printing, memos and binders. That’s why no office recycling program is complete without a paper-conscious policy.

Mindlessly printing anything and everything has got to go. Your new office paper recycling push will make sure that your employees digitize their communications as much as possible.

Paper recycling supports carbon sequestration & reduces climate change, so it has impact.

  • Use recycled paper and print on both sides
  • Put up signs discouraging printing in all forms unless absolutely necessary
  • Educate your employees on the social, economic and environmental impact of paper use

It’s also a good idea to get your janitorial staff on-board so that they know how to recycle paper at work, once it has been sorted.

#4: Create a Space for Recycled Office Supplies

By now, your green team must have noticed how many office supplies are being wasted every day. This has more to do with a lack of space, than intentional disregard for your recycling program.

Employees like things to be easy, and organized. Deliberately designate a space for recycled office supplies, and encourage office workers to drop their old and surplus supplies there.

Recycle office supplies

• Anything that can be reused should go in your reusable supply room
• Stationary, used paper, furniture, broken technology, clothing – all extras
• Whenever an employee needs something, they must check the room first

Only allow your employees into the new office supply room if there are no alternatives. Your new supplies should be made out of recycled materials if possible.

#5: Buy Products That Have Been Recycled

Part of your job as a green team is to make sure that your office recycling program saves your company money. This will involve some sleuthing on your part.

If your team notices that the company uses supplies that aren’t recycled, you can track down the budget being spent on them and improve it with a pitch for a cheaper, recycled product.

Buy recycled products

• Investigate the cost of recycled products for your business
• Help your company replace standard products with recycled products, for less money
• There are hundreds of hundreds of brand products products that are made from recycled materials
• Pitch your bosses and make an economic and environmental case for the change

Recycling programs for businesses work best when the green team is able to make these critical changes on an economic level.

Be a company that recycles and uses recycled products.

Have ideas you want to pitch or want to write for Recycle Coach? Email us at

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