How to Encourage Better Recycling in Your Workplace

published Nov 21, 2022
2 min read

Did you know that in 2021, recycling in England actually decreased compared to the previous year? The world seems to be waking up to the importance of sustainability, but clearly, there’s still room for improvement!

However, it’s not too late to relearn our good recycling habits and push for better waste management, including in the workplace. If you want your staff to get better at sorting the rubbish from the recycling and become a more eco-friendly workplace, here are the tips you need.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Put Efficient Recycling Systems in Place

You can’t expect staff to recycle if the systems in place are either non-existent or don’t work. Overflowing bins, not enough recycling points, and poor labeling are all causes of bad recycling in the workplace. Before trying to encourage your team to go green with their waste, audit your recycling systems to ensure they’re working as well as they should.

Check that each recycling bin is clearly labeled with what can and can’t be put in. This sign could be on the bin directly or placed on the wall above the bin, and will often depict images of the items to make it easy for everyone to understand.

You should also have plenty of recycling points, including in:

  • The kitchen
  • Communal spaces
  • Stairwells
  • Lobbies
  • Entrance/exit points

Make sure that your recycling bins are emptied frequently to reduce overflowing and bad smells, too. It’s also important to note that you must have a regular waste bin alongside your recycling bins. This greatly reduces the chance of staff members putting non-recyclable items into the recycling bin, making waste management easier at every step of the way.

Teach Staff How to Recycle

Setting up efficient systems is a great way to kickstart workplace recycling, but don’t forget to teach your staff how to use them. Of course, many employees will already know how to recycle, so rather than holding an in-person session (which can come off as patronising), place posters around the workplace explaining more.

These posters should briefly explain:

  • Why recycling is important
  • How to use the recycling bins (what can/can’t go in etc.)
  • Any incentives you have to encourage recycling

Inform your employees that the posters are being put up and encourage everyone to check them out. It’s a much less intrusive way to promote waste management than in-person training and is less likely to annoy or offend members of staff.

Set Up Systems For Difficult Materials

Not all materials can be popped into the general recycling bins. When this is the case, show your commitment to reducing waste by finding an alternative route to recycling.

Terracycle, for example, will recycle many items that local councils won’t take, including:

  • Toothpaste tubes
  • Pringle tubes
  • Crisp packets

Set up a separate Terracycle bin for your team to help everyone go the extra mile. It’s also a wise move to hire third-party recycling companies for obscure materials and equipment.

An IT waste management company, for example, can recycle your old tech with ease and give broken computers a new lease of life. Not only is this far more sustainable than throwing them away, but it also displays how seriously you take recycling and should encourage others to follow suit.

Keep Spreading the Word

Communicating the importance of recycling doesn’t have to be a one-time conversation. Keep re-visiting the fact that you’d like to see more staff working hard to recycle their waste and why it’s so important. You can mention it in staff meetings or in general chit-chats with your team, ensuring the message is clear.

Be careful not to bring it up too much, though. There’s a fine line between reminding staff that it’s important and becoming a bit of a parrot! Not every meeting needs to mention recycling, but every now and then, do bring it up as a reminder and state the importance of becoming a more green business.

Create Incentives

Incentives are a great way to create a positive mentality around workplace recycling and encourage staff to do more. A little bit of competition doesn’t hurt, especially when it’s to save the planet!

Give each department a recycling bin, and monitor how well staff is using it. This can include how quickly it fills up, the amount of non-recyclable items found in the bin, and the amount compared to their general waste bin. The best team gets a reward, such as pizza for lunch or gift cards.

Of course, you shouldn’t always need to provide incentives to encourage recycling. But this is a smart move to kickstart your sustainable campaign and make sure everyone’s on board with your go-green waste schemes.

Final Words

Recycling is something that we could all be better at, particularly in the workplace. But, with regular recycling points, proper signage, and the odd incentive or two, you can encourage your staff to go green with their waste.

It may be a small challenge for you, but it’ll make a big difference for our planet.