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Tips to establishing recycling program at Offices

Tips to establishing recycling program at Offices

With the staggering amount of waste that Corporate America continues to generate, there is no better time than now to begin an office recycling program.

Any recycling program, in my mind, is a good recycling program. No matter how big (or how small), any little bit that we can do to reduce the amount of waste created in an office environment (or any other environment for that matter) is a good thing. Here are three things to take into consideration when ramping up any office recycling program:

1) Make It Obvious. Don’t be shy about it. Let people know what it is that you are doing and how you are plan on going about it. In my own office, I have a series of containers (cardboard boxes) denoted, in large lettering, with the word “recycling” on the front of each one, with the boxes displayed in very plain site. Originally, I gathered cardboard, plastics and metals all in a single box, which was located almost directly adjacent to my office door.

However, my system has evolved to where I have a series of boxes, each of which is specifically designated, and with clearly developed signage to indicate that these boxes are in fact positioned along the front wall in my office. It took a few weeks for someone besides myself to place an item in one of the boxes. Nevertheless, my persistence has paid off, as I have experienced a recent uptick in the amount of “anonymous donations” to all boxes.

2) Have Little Shame. Be careful with this one. The primary goal here is to raise the level of awareness regarding waste reduction and the overall importance of recycling. The intention is not to gross out your co-workers. My attitude, nonetheless, is that if the recyclable content(s) in question is not slathered with an unknown and/or vile-looking substance, then I feel compelled to pick it out of the garbage can. I am also not averse to dumpster diving either, as long as the item (or items) is within my long reach, and that it does not result in me permanently staining my clothing. Thankfully, I currently toil in a sparsely populated building, so the shame factor has been infrequently put to the test as of late.

3) Recruit. No successful workplace recycling program is reasonably attainable when it is attempted in isolation. Fortunately, in my case, there is another employee on the premises who is also a firm believer in recycling, and has chosen, as a result of my repeated goading, to seek out additional means by which to lessen the amount of waste produced by our particularly small facility. Though we haven’t officially issued a call to arms, the next order of business is for the two of us to create a formal, office-wide advertising push and obtain company-endorsed bins that will temporarily store recyclable items.

Do not be discouraged, however, if some of your fellow employees (and your company in general) are not amenable to your conservationist agenda, and not terribly cooperative. Not everybody is going to be on the same page with you but it is imperative that you stay the course. Maintain a conspicuously placed container or two in the main office area. Furthermore, place unmistakably positioned markers in your office, as well as in the general meeting area (as long as you can get away with it), promoting the fact that you accept and will process all recyclable materials, specifically plastic items numbered 1 through 7.

Let the chips, or in this case, recyclable items hopefully fall into their proper places. All it takes is one convert, one person to buy into your green philosophy, and you may be on to something.

Green Disposal: Reducing E-waste

The amount of e-waste generated yearly reaches 50 million tons. What are the available green bins for electronics to help minimize the problem of e-waste?

Greenpeace International estimates that 20-50 million tons of e-waste is generated each year. Because of the frequency with which people change their mobile phones, computers, music players, and printers, Greenpeace also predicts that global e-waste generation will increase by 3-5 percent in developing countries over the next five years.

E-waste or electronic waste pose serious human health and the environment as they contain mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and other hazardous substances. While risks of e-waste disposal are widely understood, people often end up dumping used or old electronics into landfills for lack of idea on what to do with them.

Recycling electronic gadgets is more difficult than paper and plastic. Recently, however, more and more public and private organizations have stepped up to the challenge by offering buyback and recycling programs. There’s an ever expanding solution for the e-waste households generate each year. Knowing what options and programs for the kind of electronics one has is the key to a green way of disposing e-waste.

Recycling Centers for Electronics

Websites like Earth911.com or MyGreenElectronics.org has a list of recycling centers near or within a zip, address, town, or state.

  • Some towns sponsor e-waste collection events. Collected electronics are then sent to recycling plants.
  • Big chain stores like CostCo, BestBuy and Sears accepts small electronics for recycling.

Apple, Dell, Sony, and many other manufacturers offer their own recycling programs for their product. Most of them even offer compensations for sending in an old gadget for recycling. Electronics can be sent in by mail, or dropped at recycling centers if the company has any.

Batteries contain heavy metals that cause serious damage to the environment. Target and Radio Shack accepts batteries for recycling.

BuyBack Programs

Send those old electronics to buyback programs and even get compensation for them. Many organizations offer cash in exchange for old gadgets. Gazelle, YouRenew, and BuyMyTronics are some of the options out there.


If the gadgets are still in good condition, sending them to charities to be given for those in need is another opetion. The National Cristina Foundation, for instance, accepts PCs and laptops that are still in working condition, and give them to economically challenged people and people with disabilities. Goodwill Industries International, Inc also accepts old computers and peripherals. Cellphones for Soldiers give donated cellphones to men and women in uniform.

Green Disposal

Engadget has a comprehensive list of private companies, wireless carriers, and retail giants that have excellent recycling programs. When it comes to keeping gadgets out of the landfill, there are three Rs to remember: recycle, resell, regift.