5 easy ways to improve your office recycling rates

5 easy ways to improve your office recycling rates

With the end of the financial year upon us, this is often a good time for businesses to look back at the year just gone, and think about what’s worked well and not so well, and what could be improved.

It can be a busy time – and your company’s recycling efforts can, understandably, fall to the bottom of the agenda. So, we wanted to make things a little easier for you and help you start the new (financial) year as you mean to go on. Here are our 5 top tips for improving those office recycling rates…

1. Start by performing a waste audit

- To know how to improve your recycling rates, you need to firstly find out what’s going on with your waste in the present (otherwise you’ll just be basing changes on guesswork – and we all know how that ends up!).

- This is where the waste audit comes in. Audits show you how much of your general waste is actually recyclable, check your collection frequency and how long it’s taking for your bins to fill up, and basically find out where you’re losing value.

- They also set a baseline, making it easier to create targets for your recycling and keep track of progress.

- Even better, we perform these audits free-of-charge. Win-win!

2. Implement the waste hierarchy

- Once you’ve performed your waste audit, it’s time to take a look at where your waste is going after you’ve chucked it away. For example, is it being recycled or is it heading off to landfill?

- Those two destinations have pretty different consequences for the planet, so it’s important to know what route your waste is taking, and how to improve this.

- To do so, we always guide customers to the waste hierarchy. This handy upside-down triangle shows the five disposal routes your waste can take, from best to worst. So, by implementing it, you can be sure you’re disposing of your waste responsibly and in the most sustainable way.

3. Utilise your office space

- Next up, we want you to channel your inner Marie Kondo and give your office a little shake up recycling-style.

- To get in the mindset, think about where recyclable waste is most likely to be generated, and start strategically placing bins in these areas. For example:

    o   Set up bins (or secure consoles) for paper, cardboard and confidential documents next to desks or printers

   o   Put bins for plastic bottles, cans, tins, glass, cardboard food packaging and food waste in your kitchen space, common area or wherever staff tend to prepare and eat food

   o   Place bins for batteries, printer cartridges and electricals near to printers

- Make sure to also put general waste bins (black bag waste) next to each of the above to prevent staff placing non-recyclables in the recycling bins, as this leads to cross-contamination.

4. Follow recycling best practices

-   By this, we basically mean sticking to a few simple rules for recycling. These are:

   o   Separate all of your recyclable materials from your non-recyclables

   o   Wash, squash and recycle food packaging and drinks bottles

   o   Remove personal under-desk bins (we know they’re convenient, but they’re a nightmare for the environment)

   o   Clearly label all bins, so staff can easily work out what waste needs to go where

5. Get buy-in from your employees

- Within an office, a successful recycling scheme can’t just be down to one person – it needs support from all members of staff. So, it’s really important to think about how best to get employees engaged with your recycling efforts.

- Unsurprisingly, employees are usually most receptive to recycling schemes that are convenient and easy to use.

- Communicating is also imperative to recycling being done well. Employees need to know where the station points are, what can and can’t be recycled, and the impact of poor disposal on product quality. At Printwaste, we know we harp on about contamination and segregation, but these two factors really are key to product quality and can have a big effect on disposal routes and costs.

As both human beings and businesses, it’s a fact of life that we’ll always generate waste. But, it’s how we dispose of that waste that matters. Bad choices, and we’ll have a negative impact on the environment and our business’ resource management. Good choices, and we get the opposite. At Printwaste, we’re here to help you achieve the latter; Everyday, we work with customers to improve their waste management performance and to achieve zero-to-landfill status, and we could do the same for you. If you’re interested, give us a call today on 01242 588600 or email us at sales@printwaste.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help!