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Public Space Recycling: The Importance of Designing A Successful Program

Posted by Emily Bellmore on 4/14/2015 to Public Space Recycling

Michael Alexander, President of Recycle Away, attended the The National Facilities Management and Technology Conference in Baltimore, Maryland last month and had the pleasure of speaking at the conference on the topic of sustainability and how to "Design Successful Public Space Recycling Programs." Michael was accompanied by Alec Cooley, the Director of Recycling Programs for Keep America Beautiful which is the nation's largest leading nonprofit, that builds and sustains vibrant communities. Together, they spoke about the benefits of successful recycling programs that can incorporate the best new practices in public space recycling and how placement, label messaging, bin color and other design tactics can help you set-up and execute winning recycling programs.

Public Space Recycling is critically important and has been a top priority for the past twenty years. However, over the same period, there has been an explosion in the generation of single serve beverage containers such as bottled water, sports drinks, juices and teas. In the U.S. today, 250 billion beverage containers are generated annually, with many of these containers consumed in parks, cars, offices, and venues that have not typically offered recycling. Corporations and governments, are now responding and investing in public space recycling containers to capture more of these containers for recycling. The main challenges to public space recycling are cross-contamination of waste and recycling, pesky animals accessing the containers and vandalism.

Keep America Beautiful and Recycle Away want to help you gain the necessary tools to start a public space recycling program. These programs can help build awareness and activation- allowing those involved to help contribute to clean, beautiful spaces, reduce waste and increase recycling, inspire generations of environmental stewards and generate a positive impact on the local economy. There are many factors to designing a successful program. One way to begin is to analyze people and their behaviors, including finding out what motivates them to recycle. Motivating behavior, making recycling a habit and helping your people identify what they are recycling are all important aspects to building a successful program.

Key Factors to consider include:

  • Choosing the Right Bin
  • Placement Of Bins
  • Engaging Employees & Visitors
  • Track, Monitor & Improve

This write-up is just a brief overview of how you can start designing your program. If you would like more detailed information on how to build a public space recycling program, we can offer you the NFMT Power Point Presentation, which you can view here.

Have you had the experience of creating a winning public space recycling program before? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook!