Recycling ideas for the office breakroom

Recycling ideas for the office breakroom

Sort the trash, take it to the curb — recycling in the office sure sounds easy, but anyone who has ever actually organized an office knows how difficult it is for employees to keep paper and plastic where they belong. Office recycling can be a challenge for even the most eco-friendly workplace. Consider these recycling ideas for the breakroom in order to help your business go green:

1. Gear up

It might sound silly, but in order to better reduce, reuse, and recycle, sometimes you have to consume. Investing in an easy-to-use recycling bin setup in your breakroom will take away recycling stress by making the sorting system easy and intuitive. First, find out what type of recycling your area offers. If your building is single sort, you’ll just need one bin for recycling and one bin for trash. If your area requires more sorting, or offers additional services like composting, you’ll need additional bins.

Choose bins that are easy to open but have a lid to keep unsavory smells at bay. Make sure your bin is large enough so you aren’t emptying it all the time, but not so large that the trash begins to stink after a day. A bin with wheels might be useful if you are expected to take your refuse to a trash room or the curb.

2. Educate your staff

A huge part of learning to recycle is figuring out what can and can’t be tossed in the blue bin in your company’s breakroom. You might regard bottles in the trash bin as a disregard for your program, but what your employees might really be trying to say is that they don’t know the rules of going green. Kick off your recycling efforts by scheduling a meeting to review which items belong in which bin. Point out the plastic grade numbers on the bottom of different plastic and glass items, and ask your team to guess which ones can be recycled. A handy chart printed out by the trash area will not only explain the recycling rules, but remind your employees to sort their trash in the first place.

3. Play games

Now that you’ve educated your team on the rules, it’s time to play the game. Competitive recycling can rally your staff behind your eco efforts, and drive them to encourage each other to stick to the office recycling system. Place recycling teams in each part of the office and see which department can rack up the most bottles in a week. Encourage your employees to rinse and save their bottles to see who can build the coolest plastic bottle fort in the breakroom by the end of the quarter. Reward the winning team with an eco-friendly prize, like some outdoor sports equipment or a gift card to a local vegetarian restaurant. Beyond the breakroom, also encourage your colleagues to clean up their cubes to get some bonus points! There is most likely a ton of paper that can be recycled piled up on their desks alone!

4. Remember to take it out

Now that you’ve got all the bottles sorted from the cans, it’s time for the hardest part — remembering to take the recycling out. Set an alarm on your phone, or add “take out recycling” as a recurring meeting item on that day’s agenda in a notebook dedicated to office chores. It might be hard to remember to take out the bins, but luckily they aren’t your problem anymore once they make it to the dumpster or curb.

Recycling in the office can be a challenge, but these easy tips are sure to bring your office into the lean, green, 21st century. Order up some bins for your breakroom and start sorting today!