You’ve got the canteen, staff room and office recycling bins and you are ready to get your recycling programme going, but how will you encourage employees to use the bins and increase recycling in the workplace?
We've compiled some tips and ideas to help your organisation become a green machine.
Why recycle at work?
Providing employees with a reason to recycle, is a great starting point.
Pull together some of your organisation’s waste statistics along with reasons about why you’ve implemented a recycling programme.
- Is it to help the environment?
- Is it to reduce company overheads?
- Is it to reduce the amount of waste your company generates?
If your employees are aware of why they should be recycling and how it helps meet your organisation’s commitments and goals they are more likely to get on board.
And it should be easy to raise awareness of your recycling programme with key messages and educational information distributed through internal communication channels such as an intranet, staff e-mails, newsletters, PowerPoint presentations and meetings.
Get creative and catchy
Signage is such an important component in the recycling process and is crucial to employee understanding. Use catchy ‘key messages’ in your internal campaign that are easy to remember, to help continually remind employees.
Signage and symbols can also be used to instruct users about which material can or cannot be recycled in each container. This helps to prevent cross-contamination across your bins.
Check out some ideas of how to personalise your recycling bins here.
Set recycling targets
We’re all naturally competitive – so why not use this to your advantage and set targets among your departments?
You may find your employees will embrace the opportunity to exceed your expectations and participate in some friendly competition.
Consider monthly reviews of how your organisation is performing against your targets, this can help you identify areas in your programme which may need improvements.
If you’ve set targets – great! But don’t forget it’s important you recognise the hard work of everyone involved and celebrate the achievement of meeting and exceeding targets.
If possible, provide incentives to increase participation and inspire employees to work towards your targets (who doesn’t love a free lunch?).
Keep your employees informed and motivated with regular updates and league tables.
The opinions of staff can be invaluable for uncovering problems not initially identified and you’re likely to receive a diverse range of ideas!
Send out bi-annual surveys to gain fresh ideas that will allow you to make improvements to your recycling programme and increase the involvement of your employees.
Regularly refresh your approach
Signage may become unnoticed over time so it’s important you regularly refresh your approach to encourage staff to keep up their recycling efforts.
Try using different methods of communicating information to keep your employees interested and up to date with your latest recycling efforts.
|The recycling bins are empty||To ensure your recycling bins are highly visible to employees it is important that you consider the siting of the bins and where they will be used most often. For example, a food waste recycling container is likely to be used in a staff room. |
|The recycling bins are getting full too quickly|
It may be useful to bring in additional containers to accommodate the amount of waste that is generated in your workplace.
Alternatively, you could arrange a more regular collection and emptying schedule for the containers.
|The recycling bins are getting mixed up||Ensure your general waste and recycling bins are next to one another – the bins may receive unwanted material if users are not given the opportunity to dispose of their recyclable waste correctly.|
|Recyclable material is ending up in the general waste bin||Is there enough signage indicating which materials are included in your recycling programme? It’s important you remind your employees what can or can’t go into each container to prevent contamination. It may be worth investing in additional signage or alternatively, sending a polite reminder to employees highlighting the guidelines of the programme. |
|Some employees aren't using the containers|
Ensure all employees are aware and understand your recycling programme. Are they aware of the benefits of recycling? Are they aware of any incentives or rewards you may be offering?
Don’t forget to include new starters through your induction process.
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