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5 Steps to Help Your Company Recycle More in 2019


Waste generation rates are on the rise worldwide, according to the World Bank. The world's cities generated just over 2 billion tons of waste in 2016, a figure expected to rise to 3.4 billion tons by 2050. If you want to see your company manage its waste better in 2019, you can organize a workplace recycling program in just five simple steps. Extensive knowledge of waste management isn't necessary, and incremental changes can add up. Follow along get started.

1. Conduct a waste audit

Lay the foundation for your company's new program with an audit of its current waste. It'll inform your later policies, providing direction as you select which products to include in your recycling efforts. You'll choose basic materials like cardboard, paper, plastic and aluminum, of course, but there are other items you should take special care in discarding.

If you're disposing of old or outdated technology, for example, you have to follow a specific protocol. Contact your local municipal waste company to learn how to manage your e-waste in a way that doesn't harm the environment. And keep the lines of communication open with your local waste handlers: Ask them for any relevant suggestions on how to execute your program, and note their advice.

2. Designate a program manager

If you have more pressing obligations and have to delegate the position of program manager, find a co-worker who shows enthusiasm and energy. Why? Your strategically placed recycling bins, helpful signs and emails might not elicit the response you're looking for, and you need someone on your side to stir up interest in your plans and champion your message.

Your program manager can also help perform your waste audit, communicate with recycling organizations and touch base with other employees. You shouldn't try to take on such an enormous responsibility by yourself, and with assistance from a co-worker, you won't have to. Trust them to shoulder the burden when you need to attend to other tasks.

3. Select a pickup service

It's unlikely you'll run into any issues hiring a small-scale or commercial hauler to meet your needs. They're available in most areas, so browse local pickup services to find the best for your particular business. When making decisions about your program, factor in the amount of recyclables you expect your operation to produce within a given timeframe.

You might find you can transport the recyclables yourself if your company doesn't generate much waste. However, you shouldn't accept that role if there's any risk involved, whether it's to your own safety or that of other drivers on the road. In most cases, it's a smart choice to employ professionals to handle garbage and recyclable collection and removal.

4. Simplify participation

Employees don't want to take time out of their busy days to determine which bin to discard their trash. You need to simplify your recycling program to make participation easy, and you can start with sharp, brightly-colored graphics. Use imagery to differentiate your containers. That confused employee will know precisely where to place his or her trash, saving you both frustration and reducing the amount of consumables mixed with glass and plastic.

5. Remain confident

Your new recycling program won't function perfectly at first. Expect to run into slight resistance and unforeseen complications as your office acclimates. You shouldn't let these setbacks discourage you, however, and as long as you make adjustments to your program to course-correct where necessary, you'll move closer to your goal of reducing your company's impact.

A little context might help to place your efforts in perspective. Every ton of cardboard you recycle can save 46 gallons of oil. You're making a significant difference in your company's waste output. When you eventually run into problems—and you likely will—remember the positive effect your recycling program has on the bigger picture.

Image credi: Pixabay 

Scott Huntington is a freelance writer based in Burlington, Vermont.

Read more stories by Scott Huntington