Managing solid waste in the workplace is still a challenge for most businesses. Formulating initiatives and protocols on waste management are keys to transforming an office into a sustainable one. Recyclable wastes such as plastic and paper products can be exchanged for cash at local recycling centers.
Companies can benefit from these as added sources of income. Also, solid waste management helps them establish a “green reputation,” which helps attract more business.
Another essential part of a sustainable equation is the employees. According to waste equipment service providers, office workers waste around 10,000 sheets of paper annually, while thirty percent (30%) of the food they consume goes to waste. Companies need to start building a green-conscious culture to benefit their employees.
Here are suggestions on how you can spark the “green revolution” in your business:
Participation Is Crucial
Employees generate the bulk of the waste an office produces. Without their participation, any recycling program will fail or go to waste. To get them to participate willingly, include them in the planning process.
Let them feel that they are part of the program itself. Talk to them and take note of their ideas. Avoid overwhelming them with data. Instead, ask them for their inputs. It’s their office too and its time for companies to listen.
Train to Empower
Training is the best way to push the program forward. Training means educating workers on the best practices when recycling solid waste. Start by presenting them with steps on how to segregate waste in the workplace properly.
Make things fun by turning it into a team-based game. Teams who can identify and separate waste in the least amount of time wins a prize. This makes it easier for them to understand the basic concept of the program.
Coordination with the office building’s management is also essential. Close collaboration between the company and management makes it easier to implement recycling programs. Some commercial buildings have their own solid waste management guidelines, which offices can use for their employee’s training.
Not All Programs Were Created Equal
Different companies have different needs and solid waste production. Not all recycling programs were created equal, and picking the right plan is vital. Identifying the types of waste an office generates helps companies formulate a program for their needs.
Most offices today also dispose of outdated devices such as computers and mobile phones. In the United States alone, around 19 kilograms of e-waste is discarded by a person annually. Companies need to consider this in their solid waste management initiatives.
Company leaders must designate a recycling manager who will spearhead the solid waste management program. He or she will coordinate with waste management companies who can help them dispose of their e-waste and other office waste.
The recycling manager will also monitor the employees and remind them to observe proper waste disposal.
Reduce Waste by Upcycling Office Equipment
Upcycling old equipment is an excellent way to reduce waste in the office. Instead of purchasing new computers or other devices, either upgrade existing hardware or sell it to employees at a discounted price. They can use these devices for personal use at home or assign them to interns or new hires.
Aside from tools, reuse paper when printing internal memos or reports. If possible, go paperless and use business apps or programs while at work. Promoting an upcycling culture will also help companies save on operational costs.
Building a green culture at work is far-reaching because it instills discipline in each worker. Whatever best practices they learned in the office, they will also apply at home. The revolution for a sustainable future can start in the workplace.