We’ve all watched that David Attenborough documentary. You know, the one with all the plastic straws.
It was hard – hitting viewing, and one that’s inspired 88% of us to change our habits for the better.
Of course, plastic waste is just one dimension to the problem of the waste we humans somehow manage to generate.
But in this day and age, there’s no excuse for sending all your office waste to landfill, because so much can be recycled.
So, today we’re going to be sharing some tips to help you get your office recycling more – and you’ll find them just as relevant if you’re working from your home office, as many of us are by necessity or by choice.
Before we get stuck in, let’s have a quick recap of some of the benefits of recycling for your business:
Better for the environment – get hot on recycling and you’ll have the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from knowing you’re doing your bit to keep the planet clean.
It’s a good look for your business – customers want to see businesses doing their bit to up their green credentials.
Gets rid of clutter – rather than leaving old boxes and other paraphernalia lying around gathering dust, sorting through what you actually need and recycling the rest means the office will feel tidier, and there’ll be less cleaning to do.
Sound good? Then let’s begin.
1. Work out what can be recycled
A good starting point when you’re looking to increase the amount of recycling you do is to work out what can actually be recycled.
Paper waste is an obvious one, but there’s more that can be recycled around the office than you might think. Batteries? Check. Printer cartridges? Check. Old bits of tech? Check. Food waste? Check.
Once you’ve drawn up a list of the waste your office generates in an average month, then you can ensure that none of the recyclable material ends up mixed in with the general rubbish.
You might be surprised how little non – recyclable waste you end up with.
2. Centralise the bins
Is your office one where everyone has their own bin right by their desk?
If so, you’ll probably find it hard to get people to buy into the idea of recycling, because it’s too easy for them to put anything and everything into the nearest bin, recyclable or not.
Instead, remove the individual bins and replace them with a series of bins in a communal area for the whole office to share.
3. Colour – code and label
Make your recycling bins as simple to understand as possible, so there are no excuses for not using them.
Colour – code the shared bins according to the type of recycling – one for glass, one for plastic, one for cardboard, and so on – and make sure each one is clearly labelled, so there’s no confusion about what goes where.
Don’t forget to check with your local authority, as councils can differ over what recycling they’re able to accept.
4. Shred it
The general paper and cardboard recycling bin isn’t good enough for confidential waste paper. For this, your best bet is to enlist a paper shredding service to take away sensitive papers and shred them so that they’re safe to be recycled.
This is a great way of decluttering the office, too – those archive boxes are a prime target.
At We Shred It, we offer free collection for confidential waste as well as ticking your environmental boxes.
5. Reduce waste
Recycling is all very well, but if you can actually reduce the amount of waste your office generates, so that you have less that needs recycling in the first place, even better.
Earlier on, we discussed the idea of auditing your office waste to find out what can be recycled. Did this throw up any surprises in terms of the amount of waste being generated? If so, what could be done to create less of it?
For example, you might have identified that your office gets through an awful lot of printer paper and printer ink cartridges.
There’s a simple way around this: try to avoid printing documents if at all possible. There are plenty of free platforms out there that allow documents to be signed digitally, and if we’re honest about it, there’s really no other reason to print them out.
6. Encourage reuse where possible
Another great way to reduce the amount of waste your office generates is to reuse where possible.
For example, if you’re currently offering a limitless supply of plastic cups to go with the water cooler, simply remove them and encourage staff to bring their own reusable water bottles, or glasses that can go in the dishwasher at the end of the day.
The same goes for other aspects of your office food and drink, whether it’s what you’re supplying to your employees or what they’re bringing in themselves (it’s still you who has to get rid of the waste, even if they brought it in from outside).
Takeaway coffee cups are a prime target, as many can’t even be recycled, so encouraging your employees to use reusable takeaway cups is a good start.
If you were feeling generous, you could even gift some branded reusable cups and/or water bottles to your employees to get them on board with the idea.
Another way to encourage less waste from employees’ lunches is to ensure that you provide good kitchen facilities, including crockery and cutlery.
Is it easy for them to bring in their own tupperware and reheat homemade lunches, for example, or do they fee l forced to buy sandwiches in cardboard packaging from the supermarket because there’s nowhere to prepare a less wasteful meal?
Let’s spread the word.
We hope you’ve found these tips a useful starting point for kickstarting your office recycling initiatives. Recycling isn’t difficult – it’s just a question of making sure that everyone’s aware of what needs doing and on board with the reasons why.
Why not share this post on social media and help spread the word about how easy it is?