Ed Note: The following is a non-sponsored guest post by Wes Muir for Waste Management. We enjoy having corporate voices on to the site from time and hope you will engage.
As today’s society is becoming more aware of the impact that our daily activities have on our surrounding environment, many are committed to finding new and innovative ways of protecting our planet.
Businesses play a significant role in this transition to more sustainable day-to-day operations, as their natural ability to be leaders on key issues helps push them to the forefront of the climate debate.
In recent years, recycling programs have been key factors in helping individuals and businesses to collectively reduce their impact. From curbside programs to single-stream recycling to electronics recycling initiatives, manufacturers, recyclers and regulators have worked in tandem to manage the vast volume of reusable products we consume each day.
However, many consumers have difficulty incorporating recycling into their daily routines. Earth911 recently surveyed five individuals about what prevents them from recycling and found the following barriers:
• Inconvenience/lack of recycling programs
• Confusing recycling protocol
• No financial incentives
Businesses, especially manufacturers, have a clear opportunity to address these issues and encourage their consumers to recycle. Many times, this is achieved through strategic partnerships between corporations and leading recyclers, which can each provide expertise on consumer product use and recycling rates, as well as determine the best ways to motivate people to recycle. In turn, this helps manufacturers create and meet goals for reducing their own global and environmental impact.
One such multi-year partnership was recently announced on Earth Day between PepsiCo and Waste Management. They’re working together to support the Dream Machine, a computerized recycling receptacle that includes a personal reward system for consumers to collect and redeem points for each bottle or can they recycle.
Right now, less than a third of plastic beverage containers are being recycled each year, and only 12 percent of public spaces have recycling bins. To help alleviate this problem, thousands of Dream Machine kiosks will be introduced in popular public venues across the country. These machines will also make it more convenient and rewarding for consumers to recycle on the go, helping PepsiCo reach its goal of increasing the U.S. beverage container recycling rate from 24 to 50 percent by 2018.
Plus, looking at Earth911’s survey results, the greater convenience of recycling locations and the point incentives afforded by the Dream Machine are on the right track to addressing consumer barriers to recycling. Worldwide efforts are being made to reduce our impact on the environment, and today’s businesses can play a major role in leading such initiatives. By encouraging more recycling among consumers, corporate leaders can attain realistic environmental goals and make greater strides toward being sustainable and responsible global citizens. Such concerted efforts will help all of us to be more cognizant of what impact we have on securing the future of our planet.