As many of you already are aware, RVC Offices offers all type of recycling free of charge to our tenants. I really love the idea of recycling as it makes so much sense but when I pass this big gas guzzling garbage truck rumbling down my street to pick up my one little tub of paper and wine bottles, I wonder if I’m really making a meaningful impact. Yet when I get to work and walk into the RVC loading dock and see our huge recycling dumpster full of cardboard and paper that gets dumped every single day, I start to feel a bit better. It seems clear to me that the real difference in recycling is made at the workplace. In fact, according to the EPA, almost 80% of paper waste in the average workplace is recyclable and commercial and residential paper waste accounts for more than 40% of the waste in our landfills. I’ve never been accused of being a mathematician but even I can figure out that eliminating this waste would nearly double the lives of our current landfills.
So, if this news makes you want to start a more comprehensive recycling program in your own office, then, according to the experts, it’s better to start small. “If you’re offering 20 different things workers can recycle on the first day, people are going to be overwhelmed,” says Jennifer Berry, a spokesperson for Earth911, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based company that hosts the nation’s largest recycling directory. “Starting small is easier, just like you would with any other new change in an organization.”
Paper products are a typical place to start. In U.S. workplaces, one to two pounds of paper product waste is generated on average each day, according to Kent Forester, an environmental protection specialist at the EPA. Whatever you decide to recycle, it works best if you appoint a coordinator to oversee and organize the program. This person should ideally be someone who is enthusiastic about sustainability and willing to help plan and see the entire recycling initiative through.
Currently, our cleaning staff picks up the paper recycling from each office on every Friday. It’s be great if we had to increase that to two or three times a week because the baskets are overflowing. For us, it works best if you have one large container that each employee dumps the paper into. This way we can better manage it if it starts to get full then we can take it down to the paper recycling dumpster.
But don’t just stop at the paper, we also offer plastic, cans and glass recycling. These items may be combined in one container separate from paper and cardboard.
Please understand that our cleaning staff just doesn’t have the time or capacity to pick up the cardboard and other recyclable items, just the paper. We have all the containers down in the loading dock area just waiting to be filled up with recycling goodies. The cardboard can go into the large blue dumpster (along with any paper) but please make sure you break down any cardboard boxes nice and flat to save room for more stuff. For glass, metal and plastic we have a couple of blue 80 gallon rolling carts located in the loading dock right next to the paper/cardboard dumpster.
Hope you find this information helpful and I look forward to seeing you down in the loading dock area busily filling up our blue recycling containers with all sorts of goodies.