Starting an Office Recycling Program
Although an estimated 80 to 90 percent of solid waste generated in American offices is recyclable, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes most U.S. office locations can implement far more effective recycling initiatives to help reduce their carbon footprint and save money. Because of this, CFR offers office recycling tips to help facility managers expand their recycling programs.
"The first step involves simply surveying the trash," says Doug Berjer, product manager for CFR. "Determine what is going in the trash and what can be recycled. Ask your trash collecting company what they will and will not recycle."
• Make it a top-down decision: The most effective recycling programs are those that are deemed necessary by top management; staffers tend to respond more strongly when the message is coming from the CEO.
• Appoint a recycling coordinator: Select one person to be in charge of the recycling program; this person not only overseas the program, but also champions sustainability in general and recycling in particular. • Start small: Initially, suggesting 20 different things to recycle might be overwhelming for office personnel; start with a few things and build from there. • Build on the "no-brainers": The recycling "no-brainers" are paper, pop bottles, and soda cans. Estimates are office workers go through three beverage containers a day. From here, add ink cartridges, glass, packaging materials, old computers, light bulbs, and other electronics. • Recycle water: Not only are consumables recyclable, but so are natural resources such as water. Place containers on roofs or around the facility to gather rainwater to water office plants.
"Some offices even have staffers that are ‘worm wranglers,’" says Berjer. "They have containers housing worms that eat office food scraps – coffee grounds, banana peels, and so on. As it passes through the worm's body it forms compost…turning waste into the life-giving ingredients to grow new life."