The World Health Organization (WHO) Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the COVID 19 pandemic taught us some very important lessons. In a recent video address, he said that the recent pandemic emphasized the encompassing and all-important link between humans and the planet. We cannot improve many aspects of humanity without addressing the interface between us and nature.
We can make a huge difference through sustainable practice such as recycling items in your workplace to ultimately reduce waste and save the environment.
Recycling in the Workplace
At our level as businessmen and employees, we can make recycling a standard business practice to achieve that better world. Let’s check out some useful and practical tips.
Make recycling an office policy
According to new research on recycling, one of the major reasons many people forego recycling is their own behavior. Without some sort of rule or disincentive, the first thing on their mind will be to throw away useless stuff.
You can change this behavior by making recycling an official policy in your business. In a gist, all personnel should first opt to repurpose or reuse the things they’re about to throw away. Implement sanctions to those who don’t follow your recycling policy. Conversely, reward those who recycle stuff consistently.
Place more recycling bins
Office policies can only go so far. Without mechanisms or ways to reinforce your recycling policy, there’s no incentive for your staff to follow it.
A passive yet effective way to reinforce your policy is to add more recycling bins. These bins should be placed in work stations, common areas, and highly visible and accessible places where there is a lot of foot traffic. Recycling bins should be of a different color and should have the Universal Recycling Symbol on it to differentiate it from the rest of the trash bins.
Install a recycling station
To further encourage people to recycle, put up a recycling station somewhere in your office. It can be a small spare room, but a few shelves can work great as well. Your staff can deposit still-usable items such as staplers, clips, used folders, old binders, and boxes here. If a member or two needs a certain item, he can just take it from your office recycling station.
For example, if you need a few boxes to store your kid’s toys, you can just take some from the recycling station rather than buy new containers. If you need a binder to categorize certain documents, you can get one from the recycling station and change the label. If you need to build some tabletop war-gaming terrain for your local hobby club, grab a handful of used pens and make them into terrain that resembles industrial pipes.
Producing paper has a negative impact on the environment. Huge swathes of forest are felled each year due to the increasing demand of paper. Substances released from standard bleaching of wood pulp for paper production are major pollutants. In addition, paper waste accounts over 40% of the total volume of waste material generated in the US.
Knowing the stress the environment endures every time you use paper, why not go paperless? Maximize on new ways of communication such as instant messaging, emails, chats, teleconferencing, and video conferencing. If you go digital, you enjoy zero use of paper during your company’s normal daily business routine.
If you need to write internal memos, or if you need to print drafts, use the blank side of a used paper; simply write a large X on the printed side. In fact, the only time you use a brand-new sheet is when you need to have a legal or formal document printed. Even then, you can use digital documents and incorporate e-signatures; a lot of businesses have been doing this for quite some time.
Put recycling notices in places with frequent traffic
People cannot remember everything; that’s why it’s important to take notes. That’s also the reason you should put visible notices and signs if you want to instill in them an important concept such as recycling.
Print and display reminders on recycling such as posters, table cards, or standees in commonly visited places such as work stations, hallways, mess halls, reception halls, and common areas. Such reminders should be visually appealing. Ideas of visuals include photos of stunning scenery, caricatures, sketches, or easy-to-understand recycling diagrams that are accompanied by clear, bold text.
Modify your inventory process
Is your company putting more waste materials into the trash or recycling bin? If so, you might want to check on your procurement and inventory process. Carefully analyze your supply needs, and determine what items you can do without or in what areas can you possibly minimize waste generation. Check out what items are frequently thrown then find more sustainable alternatives for such items.
It’s also a good idea to look for suppliers who put proper waste management in their agendas. For instance, you might choose a supplier that uses biodegradable packaging. Perhaps you might want to transact with a supplier known to manufacture products from eco-friendly and sustainable sources.
Encourage employees to bring reusable containers
Each Styrofoam pack for your take-out lunch adds to the trash. Each paper cup for your coffee is an additional trash material in an already-strained landfill.
Each member of your staff can help in reducing waste by bringing their own reusable utensils, plates, lunch boxes, and thermos. In that way, they don’t have to bring single-use vessels for their food and drinks. You can also stock your pantry with standard household utensils that your team can use when they eat their meals so they won’t have to resort to single-use utensils.
How we treat the environment today determines a lot of factors in our future. But we can do the right thing as the New Year starts. By following the pointers above, we can make our workplaces catalysts for positive change.
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