Ah, recycling. We all know we should do it … but sometimes it’s harder than it looks. What will your recycling company take? When will they pick up? How do you get everyone at your company on board in the most efficient manner, especially considering many people haven’t grown up with this value and aren’t quite sure how it works?
Good questions all. As with any change, major or minor, it helps to have a streamlined plan in place and to figure out ahead of time how you will convey the plan to your employees. Once you put your system in place and explain it to your workers, you’re unlikely to need to again … as long as you get it right from the outset.
The good news is that putting such a plan in place does more than save Mother Earth. It also shows your clients, customers and employees that you really care, and putting your money where your mouth is always garners respect. It’s really a win-win. To that end, here are five simple steps to creating the perfect recycling system.
1. Assemble a Team
Change is easier when you have input. Although committee can be a dirty word, synonymous with windbags and wasted time, it’s actually quite helpful to bring minds together. Choose people carefully, with an eye toward who might carry out certain tasks once the plan is in place (see Step 5).
2. Make a Start-to-Finish Plan
Your recycling endeavors won’t go far if all you do is set up bins. You need to decide on bin placement, frequency of recycling pickup and which items you will recycle. Will you, for instance, include nontraditional items such as compost or batteries? And naturally, there’s got to be somewhere for all that salvaged material to go, so you’ll also need to know who is going to pick up your recycling.
3. Contract a Recycling Company for Routine Pick Up
Get in touch with your recycling company of choice, learn about their plans, choose your bins and schedule regular pickups from your office or building.
4. Transmit the Message
Tell your employees about the new system, show them exactly where the bins are, and kindly but firmly set the expectation that you are a company that recycles. Post a chart showing which items should be placed where, i.e. bottles in glass, cans in metal, corrugated cardboard in paper. Your recycling company may or may not take more specialty items such as No. 5 caps, but they should be able to tell you where to drop these off.
5. Follow Through
Many good-intentioned plans tend to fall by the wayside once they’ve been instituted and their advocates move on to other tasks. You can avoid that sorry turn of fate by making continuity part of your plan. Assign someone to oversee ongoing recycling efforts. Make sure this person personally handles or delegates such tasks as:
- Getting new bags for bins
- Taking full bags to outside bins
- Periodically cleaning the insides of bins, where necessary, and
- Making sure new employees are educated about the recycling program
Putting a new system in place can feel a little daunting at first. But as you’ve no doubt learned when instituting a new computer system, making a move to a new office or bringing a large client on board, it’s important to break large projects down into small tasks. The same is true with recycling. Complete one step at a time before moving onto the next to reduce overall pressure, and soon enough you’ll be greening up the whole office … and simultaneously sending a great message to the world.