The following information and guides include information and tips on things like assessing your current situation, identifying recyclable and compostable items in various areas throughout a business, developing an action plan, and setting up your program.
Assess your current recycling program and create an action plan by using the following best practices.
Develop your action plan
Determine what containers you need
Think about the places in your building where waste is discarded. Make sure that there are enough recycling bins to match the number of trash bins, and that high-traffic areas contain enough recycling bins and not just trash bins.
Assess your hauling service
Find out how much you’re paying for waste service by looking at your waste bill. If a third party handles the billing for your waste, ask them for the trash and recycling information.
1. Get quotes
- Call your waste hauler for quotes on adding recycling and/or organics recycling service.
- Request quotes from at least two other haulers to compare prices.
2. Determine what outdoor containers you need.
- Ask what types and sizes of outdoor containers the hauler offers (e.g., carts or dumpsters) and their frequency of pick-up to determine if their containers and service frequency meet your business’ needs.
- Look at the contents of your indoor trash containers. Do you think you can divert a lot of your trash toward recycling and/or organics recycling? If so, ask your waste hauler about downsizing your trash dumpster or reducing the frequency of pickups to save money.
Get management support
Report your recommendation to your manager or building owner to make sure they’re on board. Point out that recycling demonstrates your business’ commitment to environmental stewardship and the community. Also, let them know that you may be able to reduce trash hauling service. Finally, make them aware that there are free resources, such as grants for containers, signage and educational materials, and assistance available from Hennepin County.
Consult with cleaning staff
Cleaning staff are key players in the success of your recycling program because they’re responsible for getting the recycling and waste out of the building and into the proper containers for pick-up.
Setting up your program
Make recycling convenient
Create sorting areas by placing recycling, trash and organics containers next to one another. Set up sorting stations where waste is generated and where there is heavy traffic.
Put a recycling bin by the mailboxes and copy machine so it’s convenient for people when sorting their mail and making copies.
Make recycling easy
Color code waste containers and signage. Color coding makes it easier to quickly identify what the bin is meant for and is an important part of an effective recycling program. Blue for recycling, grey or red for trash, and green for organics recycling.
Place bins next to each other to create waste “stations”. This makes sorting waste easier and increases recycling by ensuring recycling is as accessible as trash.
Place bins in centralized locations or the locations where the most waste is generated.
Kick off your program
Gaining support and buy-in from everyone in your business is crucial to the success of your recycling program. Train your staff to make sure that everyone knows what can and cannot be recycled and to ensure that recyclables and organics are sorted, collected and stored properly. Plan training or a kick-off event. Plan a short monitoring period to ensure people are sorting correctly. Have someone available to answer questions. Train cleaning staff and make sure everyone knows which containers and bags to use.
Let your staff know more about recycling by posting information on intranet sites and sending out information in facility updates. Use these example articles and recycling guide to help spread the word.
View articles on recycling (DOCX).
View the recycling guide (PDF).
Promote your program
Promoting your program to employees and customers is critical to ongoing success. Some methods can include creating a competition between floors or departments to see who can improve recycling the most, forming a green team and conducting waste assessments. Let your business’s clients know about the program as well. Many customers take sustainability into account when choosing where to do business.