Why Doesn’t Your Office Have A Recycling Bin?

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Offices across the globe are one of the major contributors to waste that could otherwise have been recycled. Paper products, inherent to the operation of a typical office, can easily be put aside for recycling once their usefulness is over. But even the most well-intentioned office worker will find it difficult to recycle on a regular basis if there is not an established in-office procedure to deal with it.

The good news is that setting up an office recycling process is not that hard. In fact, you may find it an easy thing to do, although at first it will require a little conscious effort. But before long it will all be an automatic process, and your office will be doing its part to save the planet we all share.

Keep It Simple

One of the most important factors in setting up an office recycling system is a simple one – keep it simple. The fewer the changes to the normal office daily routine, the greater the chances are for the success of your recycling effort.

Remove the Guesswork

Assuming that everyone in the office will already know what – and how to – recycle may be a recipe for failure. Instead, assume that no one knows exactly what you have in mind, and proceed from there. Labeling everything is a great way to remove the guesswork, and prepare an office memo or email that clearly defines the goals and actions to take.

Recycling Bin 101

Perhaps one of the hardest decisions to make when adding an office recycling bin (and a process to make it work) is the bin itself. This is the question – do you have one large bin for the entire office, or you do place a smaller bin at each desk? As you can imagine, each has its pros and cons.

Having a small recycle bin at each desk allows the office worker to recycle right from their desk. Paper products, instead of going into their trash receptacle, gets filed into the bin. However, this requires that all of the recycling bins be collected on a regular basis, something that might add to the process, making it less simple.

A central large office recycling bin potentially requires the office worker to get up from their work and walk to the bin. But it does keep the recycling products in one location, simplifying its handling later. Which process works best for your office will vary, depending on office layout, typical office activities, and overall budget (if any) for the recycling effort.

Celebrate Your Success

Take time to measure your recycling success, and share it with the office. This can be as simple as counting the number of full cans or bags from the recycle bin, or as elaborate as weighing the material when it is collected. By collecting and sharing the statistics, you encourage the office to do more, and in the process, give everyone a good feeling.

With a little effort, your office will be well on its way to being a greener workplace. The positive buzz this creates can even be effective in creating a more productive office. But don’t stop there – share this effort with your customers – they should know that your office is responsible and conscientious about the planet – the idea that you will be the same for their needs will not go unnoticed.

  5 comments for “Why Doesn’t Your Office Have A Recycling Bin?

  1. February 2, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Food for thought! This is also a good article to start a discussion in the office about such policies. My dream is to one day have a composting bin at the office. Smell is not an issue since we already have a garbage, right?

  2. Mike
    February 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Just started up a business and we are all about trying to help the environment, yet we realized we don’t have a recycling bin in the office. Things to do today: get a sweet blue recycling bin like the one above.

  3. Shameless
    February 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    First off, Recycling=Awesome
    But this article puts the cart before the horse.
    Here’s a question, WTF do you do will all the recyclables after you collect them?
    Just because you collect the recyclable material doesn’t mean it will actually make it to a recycling plant.
    Most offices have a cleaning crew who handle disposal of waste.
    A lot of corporate cleaning services charge extra for a recycling option. Same with building management or property management companies. If you want a recycling dumpster next to the regular garbage dumpster you have to work that out with the company that handles your waste management. Expect, and be prepared to pay more.
    As an office you can make that happen, but lets not be so glib as to assume recycling is as easy as putting out a bin and sending a company wide e-mail.

  4. Mark
    February 7, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    This reminded me of this story http://www.fourgreensteps.com/communitys/48/2327 .I wonder if they even recycle that!

    I agree with shameless, good start, but it is not as simple as it seems.

  5. Bruingold
    April 29, 2011 at 4:53 am

    As a contractor, I have worked in many different offices, all of which provided recycling bins. But in every one of those places, the cleaning crew always threw the recycle material in with the regular trash.

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