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

Join Your Neighbors and Pledge to Recycle This Year!

St. Louis residents recycle 61 lbs of material every minute, but we can still do better. Will you help us recycle even more?


Young girl holding recycling bin
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