Trash removal impacts the bottom line at any company, but it hits small businesses even more than a large corporation. To get you rolling, here are some tips for recycling. You may already even have implemented some of them without even knowing it.
- Network With Other Small Businesses – Talk to other small business owners about their recycling efforts. You may be able to exchange ideas and help each other out.
- Recycle Paper Products – Printer paper, along with other paper products, can be recycled easily. You can purchase paper recycling bins for next to nothing. If you have sensitive documents, a shredder is a good investment.
- Recycle Soft Drink Containers – Start recycling plastic bottles and aluminum cans. If you’re in a state that pays a deposit for these items, this is a no-brainer. If not, you’re still wasting valuable trash space.
- Reduce Trash Generation – Are you throwing away things that can be reused? Figure out how to reuse them. Are you throwing out a lot of packaging from specific supplies? Figure out how to obtain them with little or no packaging.
- Provide Alternatives to Disposable Materials – Ceramic coffee mugs may need washing after use, but they are much more environmentally friendly than Styrofoam cups. While you’re in the break room, ditch the plastic cutlery and paper plates for reusable items.
- Print On Both Sides – If you recycle paper but your printer only prints on one side to begin with, try using old memos and draft documents again. You’ll get a 100% increase in usability.
- Encourage Employee Involvement – Let your employees know about your recycling program. Just because there’s a blue bin in the office doesn’t mean everyone will use it, or even know it exists. Ask your employees for suggestions; they may notice something you’ve missed.
- Make Recycling Easy – Make it as easy as possible to recycle. Don’t hide the recycling bins; put them where they’ll get the most use. Perhaps one next to the copier and one near the kitchen would work well.
- Recycle Your Empty Ink Cartridges – Ink cartridges produce significant business waste if just thrown away. Look into specific cartridge recycling programs, and you will reduce your waste production by up to 5 pounds per cartridge. There are places that recycle your cartridges for free. They might even sell re-manufactured cartridges for over 15% less than new ones.
- Refill Your Empty Ink Cartridges – Although not as easy as just recycling your spent ink cartridges outright, refilling them carries similar benefits. Be aware though, that the refill kits may not be as easy to use as simply sending used cartridges to be recycled.
- Form A “Green Team” – Task a few employees with being your “Green Team” on all recycling matters. Turn over responsibility for enforcing existing recycling measures to them, as well as implementing new recycling ideas.
- Make Incentives For Trash Reduction – Consider giving an incentive for reducing waste. Set a reduction goal, and have a small reward when your employees reach it. You’ll be amazed at the results.
- Check With Waste Management – If you think you’ve exhausted all possible recycling avenues, check with the local waste disposal company or recycling center. They are the experts, after all.
- Up-cycle Your Furnishings – If your furniture is showing its age, don’t discard it. Try reupholstering chairs or refinishing tables. Not only will you save money by not buying new furniture, you won’t have to pay for the disposal of your existing furniture.
- Work With Local Grade Schools – If you have waste that just cannot be recycled, talk to the art teachers at your local schools. They might be able to incorporate the items into art projects for their classes.
You should now have a great idea on where to start recycling within your small business. Don’t try to do everything at once, though. Gradually rolling out a fully-fledged recycling program will allow time for adjustment.