Tips on Starting Office Recycling

We all know why recycling is a great idea but there are understandable barriers in human nature to getting initiatives going in the office: it takes a bit of planning to start them and a bit more effort and mindfulness to sustain them.

Ambitious long-term recycling goals are often fine but if you don’t announce what they really are, but rather, break the challenge down into smaller achievable steps, each of them can be celebrated across the organisation for their progressive success.

So here are five tips for starting a recycling programme that won’t run out of steam.

Tip One

Set up a Green Team to brainstorm the logistics whilst remembering that it’s something everybody will have to participate in to make it a success. Get your Green Team to meet periodically but have a rotating chair in those meetings for other members of the office to takes turns, join in and provide feedback.

Tip Two

Conduct a Waste Audit to get a baseline on how much and what types of rubbish the office produces. This information will help you measure progress, decide on the recyclers you’ll be working with and will indicate where to put your initial efforts for the most impact. Then create a plan which details what the initiative will cost, or hopefully, save, who is going to take the lead responsibility, the types of recyclables and how often they will be picked up.

Tip Three

Remember to include a Green Purchasing “precycling” policy from the outset wherever possible. In many ways this passive element has the most impact for the least effort, but make sure to share its success with the whole office team as part of the motivational feedback.

Tip Four

Create a Recycling Awareness and Programme Launch Day. This is your opportunity to get everybody on board, make it part of the company culture and communicate that it’s fun as well as virtuous! This is also the day the new recycling bins are deployed in convenient locations with positive messaging that explains and motivates everybody to use them on a regular basis. Optimal bin placement affects whether people use the new bins properly, so find the most likely areas for waste generation and convenient disposal.

Tip Five

Once you have a recycling system in place it’s necessary to remove as many “general waste” bins in the office as possible – particularly the personal bins under individual staff desks. The best way to do this is to make it the responsibility of each member of staff to hand it over and provide some positive feedback/reward to having made this contribution.

Conclusion

Recycling schemes in the office are worthwhile and important but they sometimes mean cutting across departments and areas of authority. It’s important to make sure everybody is on board and motivated to make the initiative succeed as a group. Good luck!

 

10 Tips for a Better Waste Management Plan

Recycling can be a great opportunity to generate value. If you think recycling should be all about managing resources – rather than managing waste – you are absolutely correct. You can actually save money and time by thinking how you’ll manage waste before you buy any product; you’ll also be taking action to improve our ecosystem and reduce the levels of pollution, one household at a time.

Here is a list of 10 simple but effective tactics you may want to adopt starting today:

1) Don’t buy things you don’t need – this is the most obvious tactic you can use to minimise waste, yet many people fail to observe it. If you’re careful to avoid spending money on things you don’t really need, you’ll immediately be ahead in the recycling curve.

2) Think before disposing – Whenever you’re looking at old books, clothes or anything else you need to dispose of, try to think if any person or organisation that might use those items directly or indirectly.

3) Start a compost pile – if you have a little spare room in your backyard, start a compost pile and get in the habit of putting all of your wet waste and food leftovers in there. This will both make it simpler to dispose of the trash, and you will later be able to use the compost as natural fertilizer for your plants and flowers.

4) Sort your waste efficiently – make sure to get separate containers for plastics, paper and glass. Take the time to organize your waste beforehand, and you’ll find it much easier to ensure all materials go to their proper place with minimum thought and effort.

5) Take care in preparing your trash bags – making sure to separate waste materials is just the first step; keep the best interests of garbage collectors in mind and keep your garbage bags neat and tightly shut for convenient transport.

6) Look for creative ways to reuse – there are lots of creative ways to add extra life to everyday household items and materials like plastic bags (can be reused in multiple ways), paper envelopes (good for jotting down notes), and containers of any kind (can be repurposed or used for arts and crafts).

7) Recycled paper is good – not only because it has already been recycled, which means no further trees had to be taken down, but also because such paper can go through further recycling cycles.

8) Plastic is not environmentally friendly – not all types of plastics can be efficiently recycled, especially when they’re greasy. Whenever possible, favour paper products when you need temporary packages or just get hard plastic containers meant to last for a while.

9) Favour Eco-friendly goods – when purchasing a product, try looking beyond its actual composition and into its production-related waste. As a rule of thumb, choosing eco-friendly goods is the best option, as these products are certified to cause little
pollution during their manufacture process.

10) Recyclable goods in recyclable packaging are ideal – but when it’s not an option, try to find creative ways to reuse the packaging and recycle the goods.

What Can I Put in a Skip?

There are many times when skip hire services can come in handy. This is often the case if you need to dispose of a substantial amount of rubbish and traditional methods prove too costly or time consuming. Some examples could include home renovations, a large landscaping project or dealing with the waste produced on a construction site. While there is no doubt that all skips are beneficial, it is important to be aware that some substances are not suited for these large bins due to local and governmental regulations. Let us quickly look what specific items fall into this category.

Electrical Equipment and Household Appliances

One of the issues in regards to electrical equipment and appliances is that they will often contain dangerous chemicals such as arsenic or mercury. So, these are not allowed to be disposed of with a skip hire service. You will instead need to contact a local electrical waste recycling centre. This same observation holds true for all types of batteries (including those used within vehicles).

Propane and Butane Cylinders

The majority of skip hire companies will not permit gas cylinders. The most obvious reason is that there is always a chance of ignition or an explosion (even in those which are empty). The good news is that many companies will pay to pick up used gas cylinders. There are also many times when an empty receptacle can be used to purchase a new one at a reduced price.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a carcinogenic material that poses substantial health hazards. So, it is absolutely prohibited to dispose of any refuse thought to contain asbestos. Old plasterboard, tiles and some forms of pipe insulation have been known to contain appreciable levels of this powdery substance. You will instead need to procure the services of a regulated professional.

Liquid Solvents, Fuels and Paints

All of these substances can present a distinct hazard to the environment as well as to the disposal employees themselves. Please keep in mind that they also tend to be quite flammable. They are not allowed to be placed into a skip. Still, the chances are high that there is a licensed disposal centre in your area. Contact them to see if they offer any type of pick-up service.

Any Type of Medical Waste

Medical waste poses an obvious hazard and it will need to be dealt with by trained professionals. Examples here can include (but are not limited to) needles, biological waste products and any materials that have been in direct contact with bodily fluids.

What can I put  into a Skip?

Thankfully, common items such as wood, metal, concrete, glass and garden waste are all allowed to be placed within a skip.

Twelve Ways of Recycling this Christmas

“We wish you a merry Re-Christmas”
Re-Christmas means recycling, reusing and reinventing. The jolly season generates loads of goodwill, big dinners, cards, presents, poultry and puddings galore … not to mention all those bottles … Unfortunately, it leaves mountains of assorted rubbish.

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly …”
… and paper-chains and mistletoe and tinsel and more. When it is all over and the moment arrives to take it all down, it is tempting, due to post-festivities exhaustion, to dump all into the general rubbish. It is a good idea to make that extra effort to separate the riff from the raff and dispose of things separately.

“Oh, Christmas tree, oh, Christmas tree …”
It is not traditional, not natural and not authentic, but an artificial tree is the environment’s best friend. Artificial trees can look good; many are thick with branches dotted with pine cones, seemingly straight from the forest. This represents perfect recycling: the tree gets reused faithfully every twelve months.

“Silver bells …”
… and balls and baubles reflect the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree. Some home-made decorations hang there too: jaunty spheres and spirals or Santa shapes made from old Christmas cards; a great recycling trick.

“On the first day of Christmas, my true-love gave to me a partridge in a pear-tree …”
A “turkey in a Christmas tree”, two basic Christmas ingredients, would better fit the ticket to fulfill seasonal expectations. Quirky presents sometimes increase the what-shall-we-do-with-it problem.

“Holly and Ivy”
… and Santa and reindeer and all the jollities of Christmas can be seen in that sea of wrapping paper covering the floor on Christmas day. It can be reduced by using Christmas bags or boxes to give presents in; equally pretty! Keep old wrapping paper and use it for lining drawers, covering notebooks, cleaning windows, etc.

“… ra-ta-tum-tum, me and my drum”
Musical instruments are great presents for older children, although most kids prefer gadgets of some kind. If you can steer away from electronic toys or devices you are already helping the environment by reducing the number of batteries in circulation. Home-made toys make good presents for toddlers.

“… bearing gifts we travel afar …”
If your Christmas present budget does not stretch to gold, incense or myrrh, one suggestion is to prepare home-made recycled little presents such as jewellery made from plastic or packaging materials or decorative shopping bags made from t-shirts or pillowcases.

“Silent Night”
A daring solution for super-economic Christmas gifts is to directly recycle unwanted presents the following year! This is not recommended. This practice has been the cause of many a rift between relatives who are no longer on speaking terms.

“Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer …”
… with highly glowing nose boldly shines at centre-front of that extravagant Christmas pullover from Auntie. Colourful Christmas-themed knitwear creates a jolly atmosphere in season, but the rest of the winter? If the jolly jumper is really excessive and you cringe putting it on, turn it into a cheery festive cushion for the following year.

“… on the Feast of Stephen…”
Traditionally, the huge Christmas feast is excessive, and Boxing Day is characterised by left-overs. To get away from the usual turkey sandwiches, left-over turkey made into soup is tasty or, better still, make a curry.

“Hark the herald angels sing …”
“recycle that thing!”, and that means everything! There are very few objects that cannot be recycled or reused in some way or even transformed and reinvented.

“Auld Lang Syne”
New Year’s resolution: recycle in every possible way, differentiate rubbish, minimise waste and remember that tomorrow our planet will benefit from our recycling actions today.