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How can I encourage my employees to recycle?

Sometimes it can be difficult to encourage your employees to recycle, they’ve got a million and one things to do on their task list and recycling may not be one of them. You’ve got the office recycling containers, but how will you encourage employees to use the bins and increase recycling in the workplace?

We compiled this list of tips and ideas to help you to encourage your employees to recycle:

Nexus 8G

Educate Employees

Providing employees with a reason to recycle is a great starting point.

Pull together some of your organization's waste statistics along with reasons why you’ve implemented a recycling program –

  • Is it to help the environment?
  • Is it to reduce company overheads?
  • It is to reduce your waste generation?

If your employees are aware of why they should be recycling and how it can be beneficial to the businesses goals and commitments to sustainability they are more likely to get on board.

It’s easy to raise awareness of your office recycling program. You can increase awareness by distributing your messages and educational information through your various promotional avenues such as on the staff intranet, internal staff e-mails, newsletters, PowerPoint presentations and meetings.

Use Catchy and Creative Signage

Signage is such an important component in the recycling process and is crucial to employee understanding. Use catchy ‘key messages’ throughout your recycling campaign to help to remind your employees of your recycling program.

Signage can also be used to instruct users of what materials can or cannot be recycled in each container. This helps to prevent cross-contamination across your bins.

Check out some ideas of how to personalize your recycling containers here.

Set Recycling Targets

We’re all naturally competitive – so why not use this to your advantage and set targets among your departments?

You may find your employees will embrace the opportunity to exceed your expectations and participate in some friendly competition.

Consider monthly reviews of how your organization is performing against your targets, this can help you identify areas in your program which may need improvements.

Provide Employee Incentives

If you’ve set targets – great! But don’t forget it’s important you recognize the hard work of everyone involved and celebrate the achievement of meeting and exceeding recycling targets.

If possible, provide incentives to increase participation and inspire employees to work towards your targets - you could offer a complimentary lunch to the department with the best recycling rates (after all, who doesn’t love a free lunch?).

You can keep employees informed and motivated by providing them with monthly recycling updates and league tables.

Staff Feedback

The opinions of staff can be invaluable for uncovering problems not initially identified. You have a diverse range of employees which means you’re likely to have a diverse range of ideas!

Send out bi-annual surveys to gain fresh ideas that will allow you to make improvements to your recycling program and increase the involvement of your employees.

Regularly Refresh Your Approach

Signage may become unnoticed over time so it’s important to regularly refresh your approach to encourage staff to keep up their recycling efforts.

Try using different methods of communicating information to keep your employees interested and up to date with your latest recycling efforts. You could also create new recycling campaigns to keep motivation levels high amongst employees.

Quick Fixes

The office recycling bins are emptyTo ensure your employees are exposed to the recycling containers, it is you important you consider the optimal siting and where it will be used most often. For example, a food waste recycling container is likely to be used in the break room or cafeteria.
The recycling containers are getting full too quickly

It may be useful to bring in additional containers to accommodate the amount of waste that is generated in your workplace.

Alternatively, you could arrange a more regular collection and emptying schedule for the containers.

The recycling bins are getting contaminatedEnsure your general trash cans and recycling bins are next to one another – the bins may receive unwanted material if users are not given the opportunity to dispose of their recyclable waste correctly.
Recyclable material is ending up in the trash canIs there enough signage indicating what materials are included in your recycling program? It’s important you remind your employees what can and cannot go in each container to prevent contamination. It may be worth investing in additional signage or alternatively, sending a polite reminder to employees highlighting the guidelines of the program.
Some employees aren't using the containers

You need to ensure that all of your employees are aware and educated about your recycling program. Are they aware of the benefits recycling can have? Are they aware of any incentives or rewards you may be offering?

Don’t forget to ensure new starters are aware too by including your recycling program in your induction process.

If you’d like more information on our recycling bins for business or improving your existing recycling program – let us know!

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Friday, May 20, 2016
NRPA Corporate Member The Green Web Foundation