Recycling at work is an investment worth making. Not only is it good for the company, it’s also good for your company’s outward brand, creating an image of an environmentally conscious organization. Additionally, green initiatives matter to many employees; Millennials, especially, want to work at companies that care about issues like the environment. And of course, an office recycling program is a great strategy for streamlining your waste management costs.
However, it’s not a “build it and they will come” solution. Once you create a recycling program and work with the appropriate outside vendors to make it happen, there are some must-do strategies to employ to ensure your entire organization gets on board. Read on for our top tips to getting employees to recycle.
It begins with communication.
The first move with a new recycling program is to treat it as news. So, get the word out! Leverage internal communications vehicles such as newsletters, posters, flyers and email to let your entire company know that a program does in fact exist. Tell them why it matters to you as a company. This is a fantastic opportunity to rally the masses and tie in themes like company values. You can also take the time to let them know about any specific instructions and explain when and if more training will be offered.
Train and educate.
For recycling enthusiasts and recycling program coordinators, knowing what to do may be obvious. You may assume that everyone gets it, but that’s a big mistake. The reality is, it’s a recycling program in a workplace—and in a work environment people are distracted, possibly stressed and on-the-go. The key is to hold their hand and make sure your instructions get through.
There are several ways to effectively train and educate your employees. We’ve found the best approach to be a mix. This way, employees can choose the avenue that best suits their learning style and need. A few ideas for training programs include:
- Lunch and learn: give them a meal (who doesn’t flock to free food?) and a brief presentation or demonstration on what to do, and what not to do.
- Videos: If you have the time and budget, make a friendly company video with training highlights. Videos are convenient for people who can’t make it to in-person meetings or have a less flexible schedule.
- Online tutorials or FAQs: Start a log where you capture and categorize all questions that come your way about the program. Chances are, if one employee asks, that another employee needs the information, too.
Point them in the right direction.
Don’t just rely on the bins and common sense to steer employees in the right direction. Go the extra mile to make your program intuitive and easy. This includes putting up proper signage next to your recycling bins and possibly including some instructions. If your office is very large, you may need extra signs or posters to help people navigate.
Reward their efforts.
Incentivize your employees’ participation! You can do this individually or by rewarding teams that participate. Winners can receive free lunches, gift cards, or other perks.
Alongside participation, you can also reward interest in the program. For example, hold a company contest to name your recycling program or come up with visuals or an internal logo for the program.
It starts at the top.
And remember, like all things related to company values and priorities, an interest and commitment to recycling needs to start at the top. If your c-suite leadership team can get on board, and encourage participation, there’s a far more likely chance that the organization will feel the same way.
Do you have ideas for sparking employee commitment to recycling? Share them in the comments.
Recycle1 exists to help businesses with their recycling and waste management practices. Developing hassle-free recycling programs is just one way we help businesses. If you’d like to discuss how we can leverage our expertise to help your organization, please reach out.