Congratulations on taking the step toward improving your corporate image and sustaining the planet with your recycling plan. Now that you have made the commitment, the next step is to motivate your employees to stick to the plan.
Although this sounds easy, it can be especially difficult with everyone already being stressed and busy with their duties. Because of this, the additional effort required for a successful recycling program is often the first thing to fall by the wayside.
Even so, there are a few highly effective ways for warehouse managers, facility managers, and business owners to encourage employees to take recycling seriously. Continue reading for an easy-to-follow guide for helping your employees stick to the recycling plan.
Education Is Key to Integration
The first step in helping your employees stick to the company's recycling plan is to educate them on the importance of recycling. You can create a compelling visual fact sheet demonstrating the volume of plastic wasted in your facility on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis.
Make sure to place your factsheets in a visible location near the waste disposal facilities. This location will help ensure your employees are making reflective decisions anytime they throw something away. The ultimate goal is to continually educate your employees and remind them of the impact of their choices.
Inspire & Motivate Your Employees
Your efforts in motivating your workforce should be directly related to education initiatives. Remind your employees on the concrete ways their individual efforts benefit the earth, such as:
- Did you know one plastic bottle could take 1000 years to biodegrade?
- Did you know that 7 yards of landfill space is saved for every ton of plastic recycled?
- How many jobs did you create today? For every single job created through recycling collection, eight are created for manufacturing the recovered materials.
You can also explain the amount of money saved by the organization each year through recycling. Then transform some of these savings into rewards for employees, such as bonuses, parties, or gifts crafted from re-used or recycled materials.
Keep It Simple
One of the main reasons people fail to recycle is they find it too confusing. There are traditional trash cans, bins for aluminum cans, bins for paper, bins for "everything else," — and there are often colored bins for a variety of objects. Most people fear putting the wrong object in the wrong place and find it easier to toss it in the trash.
As a result, you should make your recycling program as simple and straightforward as possible. It may be easier to have one bin for all recyclables and pay extra to have it sorted later, if it will increase participation. The rule of thumb is — the easier it is for them to recycle, the more likely they will do it.
Creating a Culture of Conservation
In addition to your recycling program, emphasize the importance of conservation. It's not just about putting plastic in the proper recycling bin, you can extend your green recycling efforts by reminding them not to unnecessarily waste plastic, paper, or other materials. A few simple and actionable steps you can take to create a culture of conservation include:
- Printing documents double-sided instead of on one side.
- Encouraging employees to bring their own cups and mugs to the office instead of using plastic or paper ones.
- Investing in paperless processes to reduce paper and save your business money over the long run.
- Encouraging employees to turn off lights in spaces not being used and discussing energy efficiency in meetings
When your business recycles and creates a culture of conservation, you can share your successes with your customers, and they'll appreciate what you're doing for your community and environment.
Get Creative with Friendly Competition
A little friendly competition has never hurt anyone and is a highly effective way of encouraging behavioral changes.
- Set achievable waste reduction goals and reward the departments who do the best job of meeting the goals.
- Compare rates of trash to recycled materials and reward the departments with the best ratios.
- Reward creativity and get everyone involved on ways to measure and reward adherence to the recycling program.
However, you can always look to the businesses who have mastered recycling for inspirational ideas, such as the:
- University of Tennessee's notorious Recyclympics
- PepsiCo's Recycle Rally
- Ripley's Believe It or Not! Ripcycle - Unbelievable Art Contest
Get creative and inspire friendly competition amongst your employees to your organization achieve its recycling goals.
Contact AAA Polymer
Since 1974, AAA Polymer has been a leader in helping companies develop and execute effective recycling plans. We will use our expertise to help your facility achieve it's goals while earning cash for plastic and helping preserve the earth.
Contact AAA Polymer today.