Top 6 Keys to Recycling in the Office


I remember once, I got an email from a optician, who wrote “Help- they even put cans in the trash, where I work- what can I do?”  I have to admit that’s pretty bad. Cans are the top recycled item, and it’s pretty easy to recycle because every recycling program takes cans. The Top 2 Keys to recycling in an office is to have 1.) readily available recycle cans 2.) Staff knowledge and committment.

Did You Know?

  • Recycling creates 36 jobs per 10,000 tons of material recycled compared to 6 jobs for every 10,000 tons brought to traditional disposal facilities.
  • Approximately 1 Billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the US
  • An Aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now!
  • Plastic bags and plastic garbage in the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year.
  • A modern glass bottle would take 4,000 years or more to decompose and even longer if it’s in a landfills.
  • Between 5 and 15% of what we throw away contain hazardous substances.
  • Packaging represents about 65% of household trash.

Cost of Trash:

  • $30.00 per ton to recycle
  • $50.00 per ton to send to landfill
  • $75.00 per ton to incinerate.

6 Keys to Successful Recycling in the Office

  • Call your local recycling center and find out what you can recycle
  • Inform Staff about what can be recycled and get commitment.
  • Keep Bins in each Room for easy recycling including reception area.
  • Make a priority list of what to recycle first. Paper, cans, glass, plastic, toners and inks are a good start.
  • Label clearly what can be recycled or even have a bin for each item to be recycled.
  • If your office building does not recycle, work out a recycling schedule

Where to go to recycle-

  • – just plug in your zip code and will give you a full listing of where to recycle in your areas

Likely Places to Recycle:

  • Staples: Takes- Ink, Toners, Cartridges
  • Radio Shack- Takes back Batteries
  • Home Depot- Takes CFL lightbulbs
  • Good Will- Takes Back- Old Computers

As a last thought, Here is a quick breakdown on the Plastic Codes. These are the codes written on the bottom of plastic containers. It may be a good idea to memorize the below written codes for future purchases as well.

#1,2,4,5: Safe and Recyclable.

#3,6, 7: Avoid, these plastic carry toxins, although they may be recyclable through your waste management

The best suggestion on recycling, make it a point to use less!

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