The psychology behind commercial recycling is not the same as residential recycling. The “recycling containers save the planet” argument may sound nice but business owners have to consider more mundane matters such as profits and shareholders. This has many company owners asking: why should businesses recycle?
Recycling Cuts Costs
Managers are always on the lookout for ways to reduce expenses. Lower expenses means more profit from the same revenue. In most areas, recycling haulers will charge less than trash haulers because the recyclables are a commodity that can be processed and sold whereas trash is just, well, trash. Recycling containers pay for themselves through reduced costs.
However another question is why should businesses recycle when they can reduce or reuse? Repurpose paper printed on one side as scratch pads. Send documents through email instead of printing. Sell old computers or donate them to your local school system for a tax break. Finding creative ways to use less or to reuse items that would normally be thrown away will cut costs as well.
Recycling Is Good PR
Consumers like doing business with companies they believe in. Recycling containers are symbols of your organization’s commitment to the community. Don’t just give the program lip service; really commit to it. The more you do, the more the public will believe your environmental initiative is a genuine symbol of your company’s mission rather than just a publicity stunt.
You can get even more promotional bang for your recycling buck by offering community recycling. For example many electronics stores accept e-waste and auto parts shops take used motor oil. Link a recycling program to your business and not only will you make your customers happier but you may attract new customers who come in to drop something off and stay to buy.
Recycling Boosts Morale
According to Gallup, employee disengagement costs U.S. businesses a half trillion dollars per year. To put that into perspective, that is equal to this country’s annual national public education budget! Disengagement stems from bad morale and a lack of belief in the company. Too many workers see their jobs as just something to suffer through to get money.
When organizations do positive things like recycling, it makes employees feel the company isn’t some soulless corporate leech but rather an exciting and caring part of the community. It makes them more positive about their jobs if they feel they are part of something more than just a money-making machine. Rather than just putting out a few recycling containers, get employees actively involved in the programs. Reward workers who show above average commitment to the cause.
Why should businesses recycle? Because it’s smart business management. Recycling containers cut costs, improve public image and boost employee engagement. What other initiative can do all that?