How to Start Recycling At Work

How To-bin with desk background

By following these easy steps you and your coworkers will be recycling in no time!

1. Get the Team Committed

  • Get a group of pro-recyclers together to help drive change in your workplace.
  • Consider people from multiple departments to aid in the success of your recycling program.
  • Have a Team Leader who will be the person of contact and lead coordination of recycling initiatives.

2. Find Out What You Can RecycleStack of cardboard

  • Consider conducting a waste audit to learn exactly what items in your workplace can be recycled or thrown away.  This is a key step to understanding your recycling needs.
  • Common workplace recyclables include:
    • Paper (e.g. copy/printer paper, newspaper, brochures, magazines)
    • Cardboard (e.g. boxes–copy paper, office supplies)
    • Beverage containers (e.g. plastic and glass bottles and cans)
    • Electronics (e.g. computers, cell phones rechargeable batteries, printer cartridges)

3. Choose a Recycling Hauler

  • Often the company who picks up your trash offers recycling pickup services as well.  Contact your trash hauler to see if they have recycling services available.
  • If you need help finding a recycling hauler, review our Recycling for Businesses, Institutions, and Nonprofits page.

4. Organize Collection Procedures Inside the Office

  • Be sure to have enough deskside recycling bins for each workstation. Place deskside recycling bins within arm’s reach.
  • Be sure to include larger recycling bins for communal areas such as copy machine areas and kitchen/break rooms.
  • Label recycling bins with the words, “Recycle,” or “Recycling Only.”
    • On the bin or a nearby wall, post an accepted materials list.
    • The easier it is to identify the recycling bin and what can go in it, the higher participation will be.
  • Identify who will be responsible for collecting the recyclables and transporting them to the exterior collection container.
    • Provide custodians with collection procedure instructions or develop a plan with employees to share recycling collection duties.
    • Remember, try to make recycling collection as easy as possible, different work areas may need different procedures.

5. Educate and Share SuccessHow To-Recycling Meeting

  • Communicate with coworkers success of the program.
  • Share recycling tips, instructions and successes via email, staff meetings, newsletters, posters on bulletin boards, etc.
  • Consider completing another Waste Audit to determine changes in your waste stream.
  • Encourage other departments and/or organizations to start a recycling program.

6. Go the Extra Step

Workplace Toolkit