How Do I Start A Recycling Program? | Waste Wise Products

How Do I Start A Recycling Program?

Assertive Recycler - Bin filled with Plastic Bottles

Many of us are passive recyclers. We toss our paper, plastic and aluminum into recycling bins and then roll them out to the curb once a week. Anyone can do so much more by championing more organized recycling initiatives, but many wonder how to start a recycling program.

At Your School

Are you frustrated by your school’s lack of commitment to recycling? You don’t have to stand by and do nothing. With a little effort you can not only get your school to put out more recycling bins but also educate the students on how to recycle right.

Start out with hard facts. Look in the dumpsters and trash cans to see how many recyclables are thrown away every day. Get other students and a few teachers on your side. Approach the principal with your idea, but be constructive rather than aggressive. Explain how this will benefit the school by saving money — companies usually charge less to haul recyclables than trash — as well as getting the students engaged. Then once the program starts, spread the word through friends, through the school newspaper, through social media or any other way you can.

At Your Job

You start a recycling program at work similarly to the way students start one at a school. Get at least one manager on board along with several other employees. Explain how recycling bins will save money, improve company image and improve employee morale. Remember that companies care about profits, so present this as a smart business decision rather than pushing the environmental agenda.

Once you get approval you need to implement the program just like any other business initiative. Have a coordinator who is enthusiastic about recycling and will oversee the program. For a large company this might be a full-time position, but smaller companies can add the duties to an existing job. Educate the employees about what can and can’t go into recycling bins. Audit the bins to ensure the program is going as expected.

In Your Community

According to a 2011 EPA report approximately 70% of residents have access to curbside recycling, and that number was about the same in 2009. If your town is among the 30% then you can takes steps to put curbside recycling bins in your community.

As with school and work, you need to get leaders involved. For a community recycling program, that means talking to politicians. The more work you can do up front, the more likely you can convince local leaders to jump on board. In particular they are going to want to understand how much it will cost the city. Since communities are more diverse than schools and businesses this can be a challenging endeavor, but the more people you get involved the better your chance of creating a comprehensive recycling program.

No matter what the environment, the steps are similar: have a plan, recruit leaders and community members, educate and evaluate. Do it right and you can start a recycling program anywhere.

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