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 office 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.

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