Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Starting An Office Recycling Program

As you may remember, I've been occasionally frustrated by the fact that we do not have recycling at my office. Recently, however, my co-workers decided to start recycling.

Starting a recycling program is worthwhile (save a tree every time you recycle about 120 lbs of paper!) but it takes planning. Here are some steps you can follow:

Step 1: Find out if anyone is interested. If no one at your office cares, your attempt will end with you glaring disdainfully every time someone throws a piece of paper away. Most importantly, ask your boss if she will let you start a program.

Step 2: If folks are interested, do some research. Find out a) what you can recycle; and b) where you will need to take it.

Step 3: Set up collection areas around the office. It's nice to have those blue plastic bins, but really, a cardboard box works just as well.

Step 4: Label your bins according to what you are going to take. If you are me, you will need to make cute signs to go on the bins. Cute signs build excitement, and make people want to walk the extra steps to the recycling bin. It's true!

OMG! That sign is so cute! I wasn't going to recycle, but now I am, because I want to look at that cute sign!

Step 5: Communicate! Send an email to your colleagues, letting them know what they can recycle and when you will empty the bins. Nicely express your expectations (for example, it is OK to expect that people do not put soda cans in the bin without rinsing them and drying them first) but if they don't meet your expectations, communicate directly. Under no circumstance should you leave a post-it note with a veiled message to your co-workers warning them of the consequences of continuing their impolite behavior. You don't want to end up on Ask if anyone else wants to volunteer to help you, but be prepared to do the work yourself.

Step 6: On the appointed day, collect all the recycling. Take it to your car. Go forth and save the planet - or in other words, drop the stuff off at the recycling center.

This is a couple of week's worth of recycling at my office. All of those boxes are full of paper. I figure that we easily saved 1 or 2 trees with this load. Can you believe we were throwing that away?

1 comment:

Eco Yogini said...

yay for saving the planet at the office!!
I found you through a comment at 2000dollar wedding :)

I've also set up a 'dry composting'+plastic+can bin (since my office only takes paper... and Nova Scotia has excellent composting and recycling systems)

Initially I thought it would be a breeze... but was met with some surprising resistence, co-workers who had no clue that boxboard didn't go in paper. Or that only #1 and #2 plastic was accepted here.

I admit, that when no one is looking I pick out obvious recyclables from the trash and slip them in the bin- for myself to sort and recycle/compost later. lol, I am a little obsessive. :)