Many of us are making the effort to reuse and recycle plenty of our own household items – but are you doing the same at your workplace? Since a lot of people spend a large amount of time working, we might still use a number of things that could be recycled that maybe aren’t just yet.
So what are your options? While you may immediately think about some of the more obvious items you can recycle, there’s a wide variety of materials and objects that could also be eligible. Here’s what your organization could do, if it’s not doing it already, to improve the amount of recycling for which it is responsible and boost its green credentials:
Collect food waste
This is something you can’t ignore if you’re not already collecting food waste. Not only will you increase your company’s diversion rate, you will also be well on your way to achieving zero waste. These compostable materials can also go towards producing power, help to grow crops, and revive land that’s nutrient-deficient when they’re collected and processed properly. So if you’re not doing this already, you could consider collecting:
- Food leftovers
- Coffee grinds and tea bags
- Paper napkins
- Compostable cutlery and plates
- Cardboard sleeves from cups
Reduce waste coming in
You can actively increase your brand’s waste diversion rate by reducing what comes in and you can do this by looking at your supply stream. Talk to your vendors about your program, and consider only using items that can be recycled or composted. This means you can divert more items from going to landfill because you’re in control of what’s being brought in, and what waste you are producing can be reused, recycled or composted.
Collect more items
You may find there are items you can divert from landfill beyond paper, bottles and cans. There are companies around that can recycle e-waste, such as cell phones and computers, and can reclaim and repurpose these objects. Carry out an audit at your workplace so you can see what’s being thrown away that could be recycled. These may include newspapers and magazines, cardboard, batteries and printer cartridges. When recycling some of these items, baling them together with wire may make it easier to dispose of them.
Upcycle your office furniture
More than 17 billion dollars of office equipment and furniture is sent to landfill in the US each year. This may be because of branch closures, moving premises or refurbishment for instance, yet this can be a problem because these materials shouldn’t be going to landfill.
Look at a desk chair: it’s made out of many different materials and chemicals, but these products can be repurposed effectively because they have a long lifetime. Recycling or repurposing should be the first option with such an item, because the materials used are both scarce and hazardous if they’re not disposed of correctly. So see if you can upcycle an older piece, not only will it be cheaper than getting a new item of furniture, but it will also be better for the environment.