Reducing waste is a great environmental action to take on Earth Day celebrated on April 22 and beyond. At the workplace, this can be as simple as using a reusable cup and remembering to bring it if you go out for coffee. Packing your lunch and keeping a set of reusable dishware and utensils is another option if you have access to a kitchen.
Sadly, 70 percent of what ends up in landfills could have been recycled or otherwise used. There’s a few simple steps we can take to prevent unnecessary waste. Take some tips from King 5 reporter, Jake Whittenberg. He covered the do’s and don’ts of proper recycling at his workplace, King 5 studios in Seattle.
Here are 5 tips for recycling right at work:
- The most important thing to know about recycling at work is to know where you work. Make sure you know which city you work in and who the recycling hauler is. That way you can check the recycling guidelines and know exactly what is recyclable and what isn’t. Not sure who your hauler is, check here: kingcounty.gov/recycle-right
- No matter what you’re recycling, it must all be empty, clean and dry before it goes into the recycling bin. That means scraping out the yogurt or peanut butter at the bottom of the jar, emptying out the last bit of coffee from the cup and giving things time to dry. Set up a recycling drying station if space allows. At the end of the day, everything goes right into the recycling bin.
- Want to know if you and your coworkers are recycling right? Do an audit. Take some time to go through your garbage, recycling and compost bins to see what people are doing right and doing wrong. If you find lots of plastic in the compost bin or lots of food waste in the recycling bin, then you know your workplace needs a little more help in understanding what is recyclable and what is compostable. If you find that everyone is recycling right, don’t forget to let them know what a great job they’re doing.
- People can’t recycle right if they don’t have the right bins and information. Break/lunch rooms produce the most diverse kind of waste, so be sure you have compost, recycling and garbage bins there. Most cities/haulers have posters that show people what goes where. Print those out and stick them to the bins so people can look before they toss.
- Paper is the one of the best materials to recycle. Just about every type of paper can be recycled, including computer paper, newspaper, magazines, envelopes (even ones with the plastic windows), paper and coffee cups, cereal or frozen boxes and lots more, and offices typically produce a lot of paper. Make sure your office has paper recycling bins at employee desks, in break rooms and near printers and copiers.