A workplace recycling programme is easy to set up and is an essential part of today’s socially aware business. We are all mindful of the damage that not recycling does to our environment, so why aren’t all businesses participating in recycling programmes? Time? Space? Cost? Convenience?
“The fact is, no matter what size the business, every company uses paper and has the power to make a difference towards saving the environment for future generations. Recycling at work helps reduce the environmental impact of the organisation because it means the paper can be used again in new products and applications, instead of simply going into landfill,” says Donna-Mari Noble, Communications manager of Mpact Recycling.
There are a number of motivations which drive recycling in the workplace. Across the globe, consumers are more environmentally and socially conscious and prepared to shun companies seen to not be doing the right thing. There are also economic factors at play, and recycling will be enthusiastically adopted where it is seen to grow the national GDP and create jobs.
“Furthermore, recycling by businesses saves space and can reduce clutter in the office resulting in an improved working environment. However, introducing a recycling scheme can require some initial effort as it means potentially challenging engrained habits. It should therefore be made as easy as possible for people to do. For instance, don’t expect employees to walk across the floor to the recycling bin – place bins in convenient locations close to employees’ desks and printers. This might require breaking bad habits by removing general desk bins into which everything gets tossed.”
It should include an education drive to raise awareness of what recycling can achieve, by highlighting such interesting green facts as:
- An average office generates around ½kg of waste paper per employee a day and almost all of this paper can be recycled.
- 35-50% less energy is required to recycle paper compared with making it from raw materials (http://www.ssshred.com/go-
- Most of the paper wasted is white office paper.
- 40% of all waste going to landfills is paper. Cutting down on paper waste will extend the lives of our landfills.
Noble points to various initiatives which can be instrumental in generating interest in recycling: “For instance, run a paper drive every quarter, or promote recycling by including information and resources on intranets and in newsletters. You can also host green meetings and green events, and challenge other offices of similar size to meet and beat your team’s collection. Celebrate National Recycling Day every September, and appoint a Green Ambassador who will be responsible for implementing and overseeing the programme. Then rally support by keeping staff up-to-date.”
Mpact Recycling is a good place to partner with such projects, says Noble. “By recycling, your company can lower its carbon footprint and help green South Africa. A business with 40 or more employees will generate a large amount of waste paper each month. Mpact Recycling can then come collect from your office. If you have less than 40 employees, your company can donate the paper to your local school or community paper bank as Mpact pays them on a rand-a-tonne basis for the materials collected from your office.”
Through the Ronnie recycler programme, Mpact Recycling can equip any office with bags, and Ronnie office recyclers can be purchased for easy separation and storage of paper in the office. The company also offers a shredding service at most of its Mpact Recycling branches for the disposal of confidential documentation.
“For more information about how you can do your part to make a difference, visit www.mpactrecycling.co.za,” concludes Noble.