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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Commercial Recycling And Sustainability: How Can Businesses Improve Their Practices?


recycling binsEven if you recycle at home, you might it a bit more challenging to recycle at work. This could be because your company does not have a clearly defined recycling program or that recycling is not made to be convenient. If you are a business or a commercial building owner/leaser looking for ways to reduce, recycle and, reuse take a look at the ideas below.

Make Recycling Easy

When people are at work, their main priority is getting their jobs done. So if the only place you recycle paper in your building is two floors down and in a back storage room, odds are that most of your staff will not go that far out of their way to support green living. To encourage recycling, make receptacles for paper, glass and plastic easily accessible on each floor.

If your building operates with trash chutes, select different colored bags for recycled materials so they can be easily sorted from the trash.

Buy Eco-Friendly and Energy-Efficient Products/Supplies

To show employees your dedication to sustainable living, buy products that are made from recycled and re purposed materials, and buy energy-efficient office electronics. This could be anything from copy paper made from recycled paper, computers that have an automatic energy-saving mode and power strips designed to draw energy only when primary devices are in use.

Also take a look at the cleaning supplies you use in the workplace, and switch to a cleaning company that practices green-cleaning techniques.

Go Paperless

The "paperless" trend has been steadily on the rise for the past several years, but there are still many workplaces that rely on paper more than they need to. With more and more ways to create electronic signatures via touch screens and your computer mouse, you may be able to further reduce paper waste. Take time out each year to analyze what of your paper "necessities" can be moved to paperless. Many companies are even transforming their human resources documents and new-hire packets to paperless portals that automatically update and allow for online signatures.

For items that must be printed, use the back side of documents as scratch paper, and print on both sides (just make sure this is not done with work that has sensitive information such as account numbers or social security numbers!). Some companies have all but eliminated legal pads and scratch pads by stapling together sheets of paper that have print on one side, using the blank side for writing.

Recycle Everything You Can

While cardboard, paper, glass and plastic are the most common items that can be recycled, there is so much more! Old electronics, even if they are non-operational, can be recycled and reused for parts. Batteries can be recycled at specialty recycling centers. Many manufacturers of toner cartridges and drums will pay for return shipping when they are empty. Also consider refilling cartridges instead of buying new ones each time, or donate your empty cartridges to places that will refill them.

Implementing programs that support recycling and sustainable living will not only decrease your waste and carbon footprint, but, when implemented correctly, will create money-saving tactics to increase your bottom line.
Featured images:
Timothy Plumridge is currently researching trash chute options at www.wadearch.com/trash-chute to better improve his office's recycling capabilities.
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