How to start a recycling program
Hi! I’m Hugh, Hi! I’m Antonia and I’m Christina from CleanRiver.
You’ve been tasked to start a recycling program and you don’t know where to start: here’s how!
Step 1: Simple Waste Audit
You’ve been tasked to start a recycling program in a small business and the first thing you want to do is a simple waste audit. Collect the waste over a period of three days, we would recommend Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday midweek. Make sure you use clear bags and as you empty each bag from the bin. You want to write on the bag the location in your facility you’re collecting it from, the type of bin – is it a waste bin or recycling bin? And the day of the week you’re collecting it. Once you have all those bags collected now is where the fun begins.
We’re not expecting you to tear the bags apart and to sort all the smelly pieces. What you would do is put all the bags in one place. You want to weigh each bag and you want to record on a spreadsheet the weight of each bag, and wearing the facility those bags were collected from. Then you want to do a visual inspection of what’s in each bag. So you would record on a spreadsheet what percentage is paper, what percentage is cans and bottles, what percentages is waste and potentially what percentage is compost as well.
Step 2: Determine what waste to collect
Now congratulations, you have your baseline date. So your second step is to determine what you’re actually going to collect in your recycling program. If you’re a small business, you either have your waste collected by a waste hauler or maybe you use municipal collection. Here at CleanRiver, we actually have municipal collection. For small businesses, often paper or pop cans are a really easy thing to start with, with your recycling program.
Also check with your municipality or your waste hauler whether they collect organic waste. This is another really good opportunity to reduce the amount of waste or sending to landfill by setting up a composting program.
Step 3: Choose your bins
So now it’s time to choose your bins. Select the capacity of your bins based on the amount of waste you’re generating throughout your facility which was determined from your initial audit. Then you should decide if you’re gonna do centralized recycling or you’re going to do individual bins per employee.
At CleanRiver, we use a centralized recycling system, so every employee has two mini bins at their desk and we’re each responsible for sorting our own waste in the central bin. When employees sort their own waste they become more familiar with what type of waste of producing and they make better choices when tossing it in the right stream. Be sure to place your centralized recycling stations in high-traffic areas like meeting rooms and cafeterias. At CleanRiver we recommend one central recycling area per 50 employees. For more help in choosing your bins check out our blog 5 Pro Tips For Ordering Your Recycling Bins.
Clear graphics or signage are critical to the success of your recycling program. It helps people make the right choice and know which container to put their garbage in. We recommend that you use around 3 to 5 images per stream The signage can either be on the bin or above the bin on the wall Anywhere where someone sees it as they’re approaching the bin
Try to keep the colors of your signage consistent with your region or city. People then become more familiar with the program and know exactly where to toss their waste. If you need help with your recycling signage go to our website to the ebook section and download our free Guide To Recycling Graphics.
Step 4: Think through your communication Plan
Now it’s time to think through your communication plan. You want to make sure that you train and you communicate the benefits the program to everyone involved.
You do that by creating posters, through email and through team meetings. You want to audit your program as you roll it out and tweak the program where it makes sense, and you want to recognize and communicate the results and successes that you achieve. For assistance getting your recycling program going for small businesses please check out our website at CleanRivercom or give us a call. And remember recycling doesn’t have to be a pain.
Any recycling program is better than no recycling program you