How can we recycle at work?

Here we outline why it’s great for workplaces to recycle and how to get started or enhance what you’re already doing.

Why recycle at work?

Recycling waste created in and by your business is great for your environmental impact and bottom line (in most cases, recycling services cost less than landfill collections). It also raises the brand perception of your business (people want to feel good about who they are purchasing from).

The changes you make to reduce your organisation's waste by recycling will have a ‘ripple effect’ – this means what your workplace does will help normalise recycling behaviour to your employees, suppliers, competitors and customers.

Recycling is a great way to start reducing your businesses rubbish. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing game – focus on recycling the largest amount/s of your workplace waste first, so people aren’t overwhelmed and any further changes will be made easier.

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With 73% of New Zealanders considering it important to work for a socially and environmentally responsible company,* workplace recycling is a great move!

Where do we start?

Implement recycling in a way and pace that suits your workplace. Focus on what you can do and make one change at a time.

Your recycling could include things like paper and card, plastic, aluminium, glass (or a mixture of all these), e-waste, metal, green gardening waste, building and construction waste, food waste.

A good place to start is by looking at what’s going in your bin that could be recycled. For example, a café may choose to organise a mixed recyclables collection for plastic/glass bottles and aluminium cans, and an office may decide that recycling their paper and card waste is the ‘quickest win’.

There is no kerbside collection for businesses, so chat to some waste collection companies to find one best suited to your workplace’s recycling needs.

Putting an organised recycling collection in place will make sure it’s easy for everyone at your workplace to recycle.

Tips on how to make workplace recycling a success

  • Ensure people understand why recycling and waste reduction is important, so they engage with the journey. The bonus here is that simple changes are achievable and help empower people to make personal changes too.
  • Organise recycling points that are easily accessible so people will use them. For example, it’s great if recycling facilities are close to where waste is created, such as in the kitchen or staff room.
  • Make sure it’s clear to workmates and visitors where recycling collection points are.
  • Use posters, signs or labels with the standardised recycling colours to help people recycle their waste correctly. Check out the WasteMINZ website for more info.
  • Keep recycling areas clean and tidy to encourage people to use them.
  • Create a ‘green team’ of people passionate about waste minimisation – they can help with implementing change and answering peoples’ questions.
  • Share your recycling processes with new employees when they start, so they’re clued up from the get-go.
  • Chat with your waste collection company about their process, so the recycling and collection runs smoothly for everyone.
  • Share the ‘wins’ together so the collective impact of everyone’s recycling actions is appreciated and celebrated. This could involve highlighting the actions people are taking and the results being achieved, such as how much your landfill waste collection amount has reduced over time.

Ready to go?

Download Reducing your Workplace Waste - it's a free, easy-to-follow guide that provides more information, ideas and tips to help you on your way.

If your workplace is eager to look at reducing waste in other areas, check out how we can reduce our waste at work.

*Colmar Brunton Better Futures Report 2017