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Recycling in the workplace

Reduce, reuse, and recycle to save money at the office. Waste is expected to cost businesses 4.5 percent of their revenue, and given that recycling is the simplest scheme to adopt, it makes sense to start with a basic program as soon as feasible.

This article examines the practical challenges of establishing successful recycling systems, how to manage a system and ensure long-term success, and provides a list of questions to ask a recycler as well as a recycling email/memo suited for dissemination to all personnel.

To begin, a waste audit should be performed to determine what, where, and how much garbage the organization generates. After the program is up and running, you will be able to compare prices and identify financial savings.

The audit should include:

  • identify all sites where garbage is produced;

  • determine the source of each sort of garbage;

  • determine the quantity and type, as well as the environmental consequences;

  • determine the current disposal methods’ costs;

  • Look for ways to reduce, recycle, or reuse garbage;

  • set waste-reduction goals.


To limit paper consumption, ensure that all photocopies and publications are printed double-sided on recycled paper. To reduce paper use, consider whether you need drafts or hard copies at all and encourage the use of email and voicemail.

Even if you must print reports and newsletters, decrease paper consumption by setting the printer to no more than 1.5 line spacing and laying out the publication with the bare minimum of white space. If you’re going to distribute free reports, try sending out a post card beforehand to let people know what’s available and how they may receive copies.

To save money and resources, review distribution lists and update databases on a regular basis. Avoid ordering too many marketing and publicity items. Most businesses dispose of perfectly good stuff because they ordered too much or it is out of date.

Reduce printing and faxing by using electronic communication whenever possible, and avoid printing emails unless absolutely necessary. To create an electronic template, scan your letterhead onto your computer.

Fax machines must be configured so that they do not generate unnecessary header or report sheets. Use paper that has been printed on one side for drafts or scrap message pads whenever possible.


For recycling, contact local government and businesses. Install paper recycling bins in all offices, especially near photocopiers and printers and other areas where employees frequently pass. Make it simple for employees to recycle and post clear signs indicating what is and isn’t recyclable.

Strictly confidential waste is more expensive to dispose of, so make sure all employees understand what is and isn’t confidential. Consultation and communication will result in cooperation. Ensure that cleaning personnel understands and supports the recycling program, as well as where to dump recycling bins.

The goal is to collect as much recyclable material as possible and then find a reputable business to remove it. High-quality white office paper is in high demand. Your present trash management company may provide rubbish pickup for recycling, but it is also worthwhile to shop around and acquire bids from local businesses. CD-ROMs, as well as ink cartridges, can be recycled.

Charities can reuse computers, and beverage cans can be recycled. Other materials to explore are cardboard and plastics. Implement what works best for your company and always get competitive quotes. Consider where you will keep resources until you have enough to collect. It may be worthwhile to contact other local companies in the region to establish a joint recycling program.

A prospective recycler should be able to explain the company’s authorizations and permits. Obtain written affirmation on competency and any other written questions. Recognize how your materials should be prepared (separated or mixed, for example). Check the fees and see if there are any hidden expenditures.