In today’s world, just having great products and services is not enough. Your customers, and the planet, expect more from you.
Environmental sustainability is no longer an ‘optional extra’; it should have a prominent place in every company’s strategy, and recycling is a massive part of that. With our oceans filled with plastic waste and our country’s recycling reputation tarnished, your customers are looking to you to take action.
The good news is, it doesn’t need to be complicated, and it doesn’t need to be expensive. Keep reading for some tips on how to take your recycling to the next level, and give your brand a new, green image. So whether your image is tarnished and needs refurbishing, or your recycling is already top-class and you want to take it even further, there is something in this post to help you.
1. Don’t forget the 3Rs!
‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ has become a fairly tired cliche, but it doesn’t mean it’s no longer relevant. We tend to focus entirely on recycling, but that only deals with the waste once it’s been created. Why not stop creating the waste in the first place? Why not address the problem at source? For example:
Replace your single-use coffee cups with reusable ones
Think before you print; do you need to print off the whole document just to use one page? Do you need to print anything at all in today’s technological age?
Better still, apply the 3Rs to your manufacturing or operations process. Can you reduce the amount of packaging you use? Are there specific areas of your process where waste can be reduced? Not only will this thought process help the planet, it will reduce your costs and make your processes more lean.
2. Engage your Staff
It might sound obvious, but getting all your staff fully on board with your company’s environmental sustainability goals will massively boost your recycling rates. Here are a few ideas on how to do this:
Appoint a ‘Green Champion’
Have an employee whose job it is to make sure all employees are recycling and that they know what to recycle. However, the Green Champion should not be a ‘policeman’ but should foster the correct culture throughout the company; getting all staff to do more than just tick the boxes, but to think about how they can be more green, and how the company could be more committed to environmental sustainability.
Make it easy
If you had to walk to the other end of the office to recycle something, but didn’t have to get off your chair to put it in general waste, what would you do?
The first step in boosting your recycling is to make sure it’s easier to recycle waste than to put it in general waste. Keep all your bins in one place, with clear signage to ensure all staff know what goes in what bin. Consider building a recycling station or hub, such as the ones shown below, to facilitate this.
If you’re looking for efficient and aesthetic solutions to make recycling easier, check out our recycling stations for some ideas.
Office Recycling Stations
Who doesn’t like to be rewarded? Creating a culture of celebrating those who do the right thing will not only increase your recycling rates, it will boost employee morale as well – a win-win situation for you, your staff, and your entire organisation
There are several ways to reward your staff, but these are a couple of ideas to get you started:
Reverse Vending / Deposit Return Scheme – Single-use cups, bottles and cans create a massive 📷amount of waste. A reverse vending machine such as CafeCrush™ can reward staff through incentive options such as money off their next purchase at the staff canteen.
Celebrate your wins – shout about those in your staff who show their commitment and alignment to your environmental sustainability goals; make people feel special and create a warm and fuzzy feeling around recycling, however dull it may sound. You could hold competitions around your goals, or appoint a ‘green employee of the month’. Create a positive mindset around environmental sustainability, and foster a culture where your staff truly want to be green.
3. Involve Your Customers
If you’re looking to publicise your environmental sustainability, then get your customers to help you. Follow the example of companies such as Nike, with their Reuse-a-Shoe campaign, or Crocs and their Crocs Cares campaign. You don’t have to sell shoes though; do you have a product that can be re-used, or re-purposed into something different? Nike turn their old shoes into Nike Grind, which is used to create running tracks or sports courts. What can your product be turned into?
Stuck for ideas? How about incentivising your customers as well as your staff? Take a leaf out of Pizza Fusion’s book. They’re a Florida-based Pizza Take-away who offer their customers discounts for returning their used pizza boxes to recycle them. Or MAC Cosmetics, who offered a free lipstick for every 6 used product packages returned by the customer.
4. Partner Up
CafeCrush – Reverse Vending
For those of you who are already doing all this, don’t despair. It may be time to go all-out for the planet and partner up with another company, charity or other organisation and really start going places. We are privileged to have helped several of these partnerships, including Coca-Cola & Merlin, and Hubbub & RoadChef, who have both used CafeCrush™ machines to create recycling incentive schemes. Reverse vending isn’t the only option though; Amazon has teamed up with a dedicated recycler to process your used Kindle and re-use the parts. Crocs, in their Crocs Cares campaign we mentioned earlier, partnered with Soles4Souls.
Keeping these ideas in mind, the sky is the limit when it comes to how far you can go on your environmental sustainability journey, and you and your company can look forward to a better brand image and a whole lot more positive publicity. Starting with these simple ideas, we believe that you can become thought leaders for environmental sustainability in your industry.