Implementing a circular economy model in your business is a significant change in ideology from the atypical “take, make, dispose” model we were all raised on. Particularly in American businesses, the drive for profitability is paramount in business models. The quicker you can take a raw product and convert it to a consumable item, the better. Little, if any, thought was given to what happens to your product after it gets in the consumer’s hands. Concepts such as longevity-based design, repair or reuse of manufactured products have not always occupied the long-range business plans of a company.
It’s obvious that companies would benefit, both financially and ideologically, by adopting a circular economy model. This is long-range thinking and requires a paradigm shift in culture. The simplest way to start your company thinking along the circular economy model and gaining management and employee buy-in is to practice what you preach. Design your corporate offices into mini-circular economies and teach your team how to alter their thinking. Simple things, like setting up a fully functional recycling center, with enough recycling bins to adequately handle the office needs, can start the ball rolling. Making recycling more accessible, by giving each workstation or desk it’s own recycling bin for each category of material is essential. People are less prone to comply if it requires additional effort – at least until it becomes a behavior.
Designating a person or unit to process the recycling is vital, relying on each individual to complete the process is a matter of buy-in and will take time. In the meantime, an appointed person(s) who takes each workstation recycle bin to the central collection area works to solidify the corporate responsibility in employees minds. A plus side of corporate recycling is the carry-over into the employee’s personal life. If they had not been a dedicated recycler at home, the behavior that is being learned at work would follow into their homes, and they will become even better recyclers.
Businesses that adopt a circular economy model will be leaders in their industry and examples to the community. They will show consumers that there is more to being successful than merely a healthy profit margin. For help with setting up a recycling program at your company, please contact us for information. We have helped many companies and organizations get started with successful recycling initiatives.