How to Create a Workplace Recycling Program

Follow these seven easy steps for a more efficient and environmentally friendly office

If we are to create a sustainable planet, creating a sustainable workplace is key. And considering we spend more time at work than anywhere else (most of us, anyway), it’s all the more crucial for workplaces to make devising and implementing an aggressive recycling plan a priority.

While printer cartridges, electronics, glass, plastic, and paper all contribute to office waste, paper presents the easiest and greatest—the EPA estimates it makes up 90 percent of office waste—opportunity for workplaces to up their recycling game.

Here are seven steps to begin an office paper recycling program.

1. Survey your workplace and get a sense of exactly what is going into the trash.

2. Reach out to the company or governmental agency that collects your recycling and ask them what types of paper products they recycle (cardboard, used computer and notepad paper, printed marketing materials, etc.). This can often be looked up on the recycling company or agency’s website, too.

3. Put paper recycling cans at every desk, near office printers and copier machines, and in the receiving areas of your office to capture all office paper and cardboard.

4. Identify the person at your workplace who is most enthusiastic about recycling and appoint them as your office recycling coordinator and empower them to oversee workplace paper recycling initiatives.

5. Engage your boss to champion the program.

6. Train your staff on the importance of paper recycling.

7. Reach out to building management and notify them about your recycling initiative so that they can ensure that the building’s janitorial staff properly separates the paper waste into the appropriate on-site recycling bins.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user telstar

Michael Forman is a native of Bronx, New York, and has lived in New York City for almost his entire life. He is the executive farm director of Pure Love Organic Farms, an organic, urban farm that he and three other friends created in 2012 from a former garbage dump site. Michael also works as the North American account manager for Totally Green in the sustainable technologies field.