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Motivating your employees to recycle

No matter what size your business, big or small, you should be encouraging your employees to recycle. Recycling should be second nature to everyone whether at home or work and encouraging good habits in the workplace – particularly amongst those who may need a gentle nudge – will help instil lifelong habits which ultimately benefit everyone – including the planet. Spelling out the benefits of recycling to your employees is quite important in helping them become involved.

To encourage everyone in your office or business premises to recycle there are a number of simple steps you can take:

  • Communication is very important. Explain why you are introducing recycling – both the environmental benefits and the cost savings that may result from your recycling efforts. If your company generates a lot of waste it might be worth producing some factsheets about how much waste is generated every week, month or year. Statistics can be a very powerful motivator.
  • Senior management should be seen to be involved and ideally communication should come from them so staff realise the company is taking recycling seriously and not just paying lip service to it.
  • Make sure staff fully understand exactly what products can be recycled and where they should go. Keep it simple; if there are too many bins in too many different colours staff will just throw their waste away rather than bothering to find the right container.
  • In addition to recycling use this opportunity to encourage staff to be more environmentally aware generally. Remind them not to waste resources by, for example, printing double-sided rather than single-sided and to use mugs and glasses rather than disposable cups.
  • Rather than providing each member of staff with a bin under their desk install one waste bin at a recycling point. This will encourage people to think about what they are throwing away and consider whether it can in fact be recycled. This is quite important in helping them think more of waste recycling than waste collection.
  • Consider introducing some rewards for those who embrace the recycling initiative. You could set goals for waste reduction and reward teams which meet or exceed them or try comparing the ratio of rubbish to recycled material and reward staff who do the best job of improving their ratios.
  • Ensure cleaning staff are aware of the new system so that they too can participate.

Recycle Now, the national recycling campaign for England which is supported and funded by the Government, has a number of resources available for businesses.

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