How to Build a Recycling Culture in Your Company
By Rachel Jackson
People are beginning to prioritize the environment in a lot of the decisions that they make – including what companies they turn to for products or services. If your company hasn’t already embraced recycling and eco-friendly policies, it’s time to get started. With environmental awareness being at an all-time high, it won’t be too difficult to build a culture that values recycling within your company.
Make it Easy
People are more likely to make the right choice when the right choice is what’s most convenient. Remove garbage bins from your office and place labeled recycling bins in their places. It will hardly be more work than tossing something into the garbage, and it won’t disrupt their routines. Easy access will inspire employees who don’t recycle at home to do so at work. Employees that already recycle at home will quickly and happily comply because it’s already in line with their personal values.
Set the Right Example
Don’t provide your employees with things that need to be thrown away. This means getting rid of vending machines that offer snacks that are usually unhealthy and come in packaging that needs to be tossed. Don’t put plastic or paper cups in the breakroom, or provide single-use plates and cutlery that aren’t biodegradable. Install a high-efficiency dishwasher for employees to wash their reusable items. You’ll be eliminating waste that was never necessary in the first place.
If something feels like a game or comes with the promise of reward, it’s automatically more fun. Think about when you reward yourself with the occasional decadent dessert for sticking to your diet or treat yourself to a luxury purchase when you’ve done an excellent job of saving money. Treat recycling with the same approach.
You probably already offer perks to your employees, so extending those perks to cover recycling and environmentally conscious behavior shouldn’t be a stretch. Gamify recycling like you would with any kind of performance or productivity drive. Let your employees who are already passionate about recycling be the cheerleaders of the movement, and appoint them to help others.
When it comes time to reward your employees, choose rewards that won’t actually undo their progress. A greasy pizza box can’t be recycled. Raffle off gift cards to other eco-conscious businesses to reinforce the message. This will fully integrate recycling and environmental awareness into the core of your company’s culture through celebration. When it all comes full circle, you’re creating an association in your employees that caring about the planet is positive.
Go Green Where You Can
One of the biggest things that a company generates in terms of waste is paper. Lots of printouts and handouts go around on a daily basis. Just stop printing the paper in the first place. A lot of companies are switching to strictly digital internal memos and document backups. When things absolutely need to be on paper, printing them double sided on post-consumer content paper is the best way to go. Never print something if it isn’t necessary, and you won’t have to worry about finding paper in the trash.
It might take you a while to fully incorporate recycling into the culture of your company. Some people won’t get it right away. Start by making small changes and forgive mistakes for a little while. The last thing you want to do is discourage them from pursuing a greater good.
Rachel is a mother of 2 beautiful boys. She loves to hike and write about traveling, education and business. Rachel is also a great fan of sustainable living and a strong supporter of the sharing economy.