Setting up a workplace recycling scheme

Typically, at least 50 per cent - 70 per cent of the office waste that is currently disposed

 of as general waste in your bins is either avoidable, re-usable or recyclable but introducing a recycling scheme in your workplace is easier than you think! 

In an office printer copier paper, and confidential waste are the most common types of waste produced by a business, but you may also have obsolete IT equipment, cardboard and office furniture, bulky wastes that can be more difficult to store and dispose of. However careful planning when thinking about waste can save a business at least 1 per cent of their turnover at little or no cost. 

Set up a recycling scheme

Many organisations that have implemented measures to improve their resource efficiency have also benefited from greater employee motivation and a better working environment. 

Identifying a local service provider is key, an online search of local directories and service providers should help you to identify a local recycling collection service appropriate to your needs, or you may have a trade waste service provided by the Local Authority. Ensure that the collection organisation has the services you need, you may need to use more than one to get all your materials recycled and you may get rebates from some organisations for items such as card or paper.

Remember that you have a legal ‘duty of care’ to ensure that your waste and recycling is disposed of responsibly so ensure that the service provider you use holds the relevant permits and licences and provides you with regular transfer or consignment notes which must be retained.

In the workplace

Clearly label recycling bins to show what can be recycled where. You should check the contents of your recycling bins regularly to ensure that the recyclables are not contaminated. Ensure everyone understands the cost benefits of recycling correctly. Separating out materials so that they can be diverted from disposal towards high quality recycling or recovery can result in reduced costs and positive results for the economy as well as the workplace environment.

To implement effective segregation systems:

  • create recycling stations with all the containers in one place
  • colour-code the containers to promote consistency throughout your business and avoid confusion about what items go in which bin
  • ensure that packaging is flattened so that containers are not filled with air or empty space

Recycle for Wales is the national recycling campaign for Wales. Supported and funded by the Welsh Government, and adopted locally by local authorities and other partners, the campaign aims to encourage consumers to recycle more things more often from all around the home. Wales currently boasts the highest recycling rates in the UK and we want to see a continued growth through an on-going programme of engaging, inspiring and informative campaigning.

Promote your recycling scheme

Once your recycling schemes are up and running, let employees and visitors know what they can recycle by implementing an awareness campaign. WRAP research shows that people respond better to clearly labelled recycling units and supporting messages. 

To help ensure your recycling scheme is effective, WRAP has two set of bilingual artwork templates you can use for messaging and signage, which can be adapted for your business needs.
 
Motivating the workforce to take ownership of improvement in their own role will be key to the success of a recycling campaign. To achieve the outcome of increasing recycling and waste diversion, staff need to be engaged to become enthusiastic recyclers. You might consider an incentive scheme or appoint environment ‘champions’ to help staff do the right thing.