Most everyone knows that recycling is good for the environment, especially compared to throwing recyclable items away. That said, it’s often difficult for many people to put this knowledge into action, typically because there aren’t resources available to make recycling just as easy as throwing something away.
However, as a savvy and conscientious business leader, you can put into practice a recycling program that diverts a lot of waste from landfills, creates excitement among your associates, and creates brand value for your customers. The key is customizing your recycling program to be most beneficial to your unique business situation.
Understand the Materials Used
Before you can create a successful recycling program for your business, you need to understand what is currently being thrown away that could be recycled. Does your business use a lot of paper, or do you engage in mostly paperless transactions? Are there waste plastics or glass from manufacturing, or does your business exist in a more service-oriented field?
Knowing the recyclable materials your business uses the most will help you to identify the easiest items to recycle as you begin the program. It can also help you understand where to place recycling bins to most effectively capture the largest portion of materials.
Know Where to Recycle
Before you begin collecting a bunch of recyclable materials, you need to make sure there’s a facility nearby that can actually recycle them. If your facility is in a more rural area, there may not be adequate recycling capabilities available for a particular material, meaning you’d need to either pay a premium for pickup, or forego recycling that specific material altogether.
Once you identify the business or businesses that can recycle your materials, then it’s time to set up contracts with the businesses to ensure the materials are removed from your building on a regular basis. The other option, if you have a smaller business, is to drop the materials at the recycling facility yourself. However, this can become quite tedious and also quite difficult if you begin to accumulate a large amount of recyclable material.
Get People Excited
When you announce your new or expanded recycling program, it’s likely you’ll have many employees who welcome the news with open arms. However, you may also encounter employees who are resistant to the extra effort that an expanded recycling program might require on their part. To ensure the long-term success of the program, though, it’s important to get each associate in your company fully on board.
To create a sense of excitement and ownership in the program, you may want to utilize some type of incentive initiative for the first few weeks or months of the recycling program. Create a competition among associates or across departments to see who can recycle the most or create the smallest amount of trash. Once people have gotten on board and the program begins to mature, continue to offer occasional incentives to remind your associates that you appreciate their participation in the program.
Build Customer Value
A recycling program, while inherently beneficial for the environment, doesn’t necessarily add any value to your company to help offset the cost of facilitating the program. However, properly utilized, a robust recycling program can add immense value to your company, both for customers and associates, which will provide a return on your investment.
You can market yourself to customers as an environmentally-friendly company, which is a major selling point to many people. Your unique program could be just the kind of thing that sets you apart in the eyes of talented employees- especially those who are younger and more environmentally-conscious.
Keep Expanding Your Eco-Friendly Policies
Once you’re new recycling program is running smoothly, it might be worthwhile to look at other ways to expand earth-friendly initiatives. Increasing your facility’s energy efficiency, reducing the waste that is created, and even participating in community clean-up days could all be used to help both your business and the planet.
By further promoting these initiatives, you’ll stand out to customers, giving you a solid brand image to promote that customers can be exceptionally loyal to.
Dixie Somers / Blue & Green Tomorrow