Business Recycling Guide for Dummies

When we think about things we can do to improve the health of our planet, we often think of things we can do on an individual level – recycle, buy secondhand items, eat less meat, etc.

However, when it comes to climate change and the health of the planet, businesses and corporations have a big responsibility. This is because these institutions are the ones wreaking the most havoc on the planet. In fact, one study estimated that there are about 7.6 billion tons of industrial waste produced each year.

Luckily, with a business recycling plan, your company can cut down on the amount of waste it produces and in turn, help the planet. Read this business recycling guide for dummies to discover how to make your business greener.

Why Set Up a Business Recycling Plan?

Setting up a business recycling plan isn’t just about helping the plan. When you recycle, you can reduce your business costs. In most cases, recycling services cost less than waste disposal services.

Plus, you can reuse many of the materials that you recycle in your office, such as paper. This will help reduce the costs of helping to buy new products and materials.

Additionally, recycling can improve your customer service and your brand. In fact, a recent survey found that 62 percent of consumers believe that it’s more important than ever for companies to behave in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. Another study by the Nielsen Group found that 81 percent of global respondents believe that companies should work to improve the environment.

Set Up an Office Recycling Space

To encourage your employees to recycle, you need to make the process as convenient as possible. Place all waste bins in a central location next to the recycling. This way, your employees don’t have to make any extra trips, and they’re not tempted to put their trash in the recycling or their recycling in the trash.

We recommend putting at least one recycling bin in the break room, copy room, and kitchen space. If your office doesn’t already have recycling bins, you can easily purchase them through your janitorial supplier. You may also want to think about purchasing small recycling containers that fit under desks to make things extra easy for your employees.

We recommend purchasing the bins in a variety of colors: blue for mixed recycling, grey or black for garbage, yellow for glass, and green for compost. Also, remember to label all of the containers to make it easy to figure out where things go.

Communicate With Your Janitorial Staff

Your recycling efforts won’t go very far if your janitorial staff isn’t on board. If you purchase deskside recycling for your employees, make sure to confirm with the janitorial staff who will be emptying them into the main recycling bins.

In some buildings, employees may be expected to empty their personal recycling into the main recycling bins. Also, make sure to check in with your janitorial staff and see out feedback – they often know the best practices for improving recycling for businesses.

Educate Your Employees on Recycling

Of course, you can’t just place a bunch of recycling bins around the office and expect your employees to immediately jump on board. While it may feel like everyone around you is recycling, according to the EPA, the recycling rate in the US is only 32.1 percent.

To get your employees on board, host a meeting to let everyone know about your business’s new recycling plan. And, make sure everything is labeled to make it easy for employees to recycle. You may also want to do the occasional spot check to make sure your employees are following the recycling practices.

Set Up a Green Team

To make sure the recycling plan goes smoothly from start to finish, it’s a good idea to set up a Green Team. A Green Team is just a group of employees who are interested in making your company greener and helping with the recycling process.

If you run a small business, you may just need one individual for this task. If you run a large business, you may want to put a small team together composed of members from management, sales, operations, etc.

Evaluate Your Program and Continue Education Efforts

Setting up a recycling program is not a one-and-done task. Instead, you need to evaluate your recycling program and make adjustments as you go along. Work with your custodial staff and green team to identify gaps and issues that need to be addressed in your recycling program.

You should also speak with your hauler about:

  • How much material is being collected each week
  • The quality of the materials that are being collected and if there are any contamination issues
  • The costs and savings associated with your recycling program

It’s also a good idea to frequently remind your employees to recycle and why they should do it. You can post updates and reminders on your company’s weekly email or newsletter. To keep your employees motivated to recycle, post annual results regarding how much waste they’re diverting.

You should also continue to discuss recycling periodically at staff meetings.

Think Beyond Recycling

While these business recycling ideas will help you create a greener office space, they’re really just the start. Here are some other things you can do to create a greener office space:

  • Turn off lights when they’re not in use
  • Switch to LED lightbulbs
  • Cut down on packaging materials or switch to all recyclable packaging materials
  • Cut down on printing by printing on both sides (or better yet, make it an email)
  • Install solar panels
  • Have vegetarian lunch days
  • Properly dispose of e-waste

You can speak with your office’s green team to get these initiatives started! You can also check out for more green office ideas.

Business Recycling: Time to Get Started

Now that you’ve read these business recycling ideas, it’s time to get started with your recycling plan. Pretty soon, your office will be reducing, reusing, and recycling no-stop!

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more green business tips!