- By George Rebstrum
- Published 02/3/2012
Within the last decade or so, environmental responsibility has gone from being a niche minority concern to a widely accepted outlook. This is especially being boosted in the business sector due to strict new recycling laws increasingly coming into effect to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint as well as to minimise landfill waste.
Although the idea can appear daunting at first, it is very simple to set up a series of procedures to turn your office into an eco-friendly environment and you might be surprised at the benefits that some simple recycling measures can bring – not only to the planet, but also to your company’s profits and staff motivation.
Waste can cost organisations as much as 4% of their turnover, so the more that this can be reduced, the higher your returns. In addition, employees feel good about working for a company that takes Green issues seriously and is concerned with its environmental responsibilities.
Recycling in the office is a lot easier than you might think – in recent studies, 93% of companies who have started a recycling program at work say it is easy to implement and maintain. As well as this, over a quarter of companies who recycle at work have stated that saving space was a motivating factor in their decision to begin their recycling initiatives, since a waste conscious office is a tidier and thus more efficient office.
From introducing plastic balers to advice on minimising paper waste, the following guide will explore some of the ways you can easily get the ball rolling.
Encourage Staff to Care about Recycling
Even the most well thought out recycling program will fail if all employees are not on board and clearly aware of what they can do to contribute. It’s important to keep staff up to date on the progress of your recycling program through regular emails detailing the amount of materials recovered, the savings made and the benefits to the environment that are being achieved. Offer reminders and further tips in this email and think about incentivising your staff with competitions and “Recycler of the Month” schemes.
Review Your Paper Usage and Go for Recycled Products
Even with the surge in digital devices we now all use, offices typically still go through tons of paper. To cut back on unnecessary wastage, some easy, painless measures can work wonders, such as encouraging your staff to only print out emails when necessary and to reuse scrap paper for notes. Another tip that can greatly reduce your paper waste and costs is to remember that both sides of an A4 can be used to print on.
It’s also a good idea to periodically do a review of your paper supply and usage. Maybe you have used the same supplier and brand for years and haven’t thought about switching to recycled office paper and stationary? Such a simple step can have a big effect on your carbon footprint, not to mention save you money.
More than A4!
There are plenty of other things in the work place that are an ideal candidate for recycling. As well as sheets of A4 paper that will inevitably be used in the day to day running of your office there will be envelopes and other stationary, packaging and posting materials, food and drinks packaging plus other miscellaneous paper waste such as magazines, circulars, brochures and leaflets.
All of these can be sorted with the use of different recycling bins, clearly labelled for different materials to make things as easy as possible for your staff to get in the habit of using them. Keeping these bins in a prominent (though unobtrusive) area will allow for a visible representation of the importance of your recycling program.
Plastic Balers – An Excellent Solution for Businesses of Every Size
One of the largest problems faced by those recycling in the office place is the tricky issue of where to store all the materials that have been gathered whilst awaiting collection – plastics in particular tend to take up a lot of space. A very efficient way to maximise your office space while effectively recycling is to use a plastic baler. These machines have long been used in industries like high street retail and the catering trade, are they now becoming an increasingly popular feature in the globally aware office.
Plastic balers efficiently compact recycled waste into easy-to-handle bundles or bales, which allows for easy storage and handling. They also have the major benefit of reducing waste disposal costs by minimising the amount of bins or collections commonly required. These handy machines use low levels of energy and they come in a range of sizes to suit every work place. What’s more, you can rent a plastic baler if you choose to see for yourself how effective they are without having to invest too heavily. .
By following the easy recycling measures above and using a plastic balers to reduce storage space as well as minimise your waste collection fees, you’ll have gone a long way in creating a cost saving, smoothly running Green initiative in your workplace.
About the Author: George Rebstrum is an adviser on plastic balers for businesses.