Most businesses today have a blue bin somewhere in the office where everyone throws their soda cans away, and sometimes there's an effort to recycle paper. However, boosting employee recycling projects at the workplace beyond these token efforts can have a positive impact on your business.
A Positive Change for Employees
According to a Net Impact survey in 2012, one of the essential pieces of an ideal job was an employer's commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR). In fact, 35% of those surveyed revealed that they'd take a 15% pay cut to work for a company that was committed to CSR.
As you know, the only thing more important than the products you sell are the employees who make, design, or sell those products. According to Recycling@Work, you may be able to increase employee morale when you implement a recycling program.
"Boost employee morale by engaging them in a cause with environmental, social and economic benefits."
Further, your company can reduce the environmental impact it has on the earth, as well as earn positive recognition for efforts in corporate social responsibility.
Step One: Examine Your Company's Workplace
Waste is everywhere in corporate America, but it's also a problem for small companies where the owners assume recycling will just increase costs down the line. In fact, creating an environmentally-friendly workplace with a comprehensive recycling program may reduce costs.
For example, do you buy disposable cups for the coffee maker? Does the water jug come with those little disposable pyramid cups? Do you have a line of printers at the back of the office that constantly buzz with printouts? Eliminate these disposable items and watch your overhead costs go down.
According to an article by Inc., up to 90 percent of office waste can be recycled! They recommend starting small and ramping up efforts, and looking for obvious areas of waste in your office. Making a list is your first step.
A website called Less is More, which was put together by the government in Santa Barbara, California, suggests walking through your facility and making the following notes:
- Define the activities conducted in each room.
- List activities for each area that produce waste.
- Define those types of waste.
- Note which types of waste can be recycled and reused or not used in the first place.
Step Two: Design and Implement Your Plan
One important feature of a successful workplace recycling plan is making it easy for employees to incorporate green habits into their daily work life. Don't put the boxes for paper recycling near the trash cans. Put them near the printers (if you've decided to keep your printers).
In fact, if you're a company with a cubicle farm, you might think about providing each employee with a recycling tray. Even if you're not using printers on a regular basis, you'll be astounded at how much paper your business makes. Don't toss it. Recycle it!
Step Three: Making Your Recycling Plan a Success
Once you've hammered out the details of your recycling plan, it's a good idea to revisit things a few months down the road to gauge the effectiveness of your recycling efforts. Here are a few things you'll want to consider as you make changes and updates to your recycling plan.
Look Further Than Your Own Office
If you rent an office in a corporate building, you may wish to speak with the facilities management crew to see if you need to do anything special to accommodate a recycling plan. Will the trash you toss into the recycling bins actually leave with a recycling truck?
In addition, take a look at the exterior of your business. Are you responsible for the landscaping around your building? Have you chosen to install a sustainable landscape? Can you recycle green waste like leaf clippings or turn them into mulch?
Get Employees Involved
If you're a small business with your own location and don't have a cleaning crew that comes in to handle trash and the like, you may need to make some arrangements to make sure your recycling gets to where it needs to go. That might mean designating an employee to take recycling off-site.
Allowing employees to get involved in recycling efforts helps them take ownership of your business's transition to environmentally-friendly operation. Employees will feel that they're making a personal difference in the success of the company's recycling campaign.
Publicize Your Recycling Programs
It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and you need every edge you can get in a competitive marketplace. Your employees want to work for a company that takes corporate social responsibility seriously, right?
Well, your customers want to buy from a company that engages in CSR, too. So, as you implement your employee recycling program, make sure the world knows. If you have retail locations, award an employee each month for his or her efforts at creating a sustainable office and post that achievement where your customers can see the honor.
Don't Stop at Recycling
Designing a workplace recycling program is usually one of the easiest and most immediate efforts your business can make for sustainability. Consider designing a contest where employees submit ideas for how the office could be more "green."
Your first step to a responsible and sustainable business environment is a comprehensive recycling program. Your next is delving into other sustainable projects like buying locally and implementing electronic records over paper records.
"To extend their sustainability… business leaders see the need to collaborate with industry peers, suppliers, and even environmental organizations to reduce their negative impacts and potentially innovate new products and processes."
Go Further With Sustainable Packaging
As you "reduce, reuse, & recycle" in the office, you also have options for buying sustainably. Your business can benefit from sustainable packaging options from Howard Packaging. Find out what we can do for your business. Request a Free Catalog and Sample Kit Today!