You want to do your part by helping the environment. That’s why going green sounds so good! But why is it that in reality, we often skip the trip to the recycling bin after a few days and hit the trash instead? (oops…)
Forming and continuing good habits is the key to encouraging recycling- even when you’re feeling lazy or in a hurry. Try these recycling organization hacks at home and on the job, to make recycling a part of your everyday routine.
Get a recycling bin and learn your local regulations.
Call your trash provider and ask about getting a recycling bin. Different municipalities have different rules for separating recyclables. These include paper, plastic, glass, and some metals. Use these rules as a guide to create a recycling plan. Make a list and post it for easy reference. If you’re in the office, look for recycling bins in common areas or talk to your manager about getting a small bin for your desk.
Designate containers for each type of recycling.
Label each container clearly. If you’ve got small children, color code the containers or put pictures on them in addition to words. Choose containers that are easy to use. For example- containers with wheels can be easily moved, those with comfortable handles that can be easily lifted, stacking containers take up less floor space -etc. The easier it is, the more likely you will be to use it.
Carefully choose the locations for your containers.
If a recycling container is not nearby, you may be tempted to use the trash can. At home, put recycling bins in high usage spots such as the kitchen, bathrooms, the laundry room, and home office. In the office, you can put a paper recycling bin in the copy room, a plastic recycling bin in the break room, and so on. Ask your fellow employees for the best places to put the bins in terms of how they use the workspace. Make sure the bins are visible and easy to access.
Leave recyclables in the sink to rinse when you wash your dishes.
Whether it’s in your home kitchen or the office break room, you will likely have recyclable food containers with food residue. These need to be cleaned before they hit the recycle bin. At home, it’s easy to throw the empty containers in the sink and rinse them when you do the dishes. At the office, that won’t work as well… get in the habit of rinsing your containers as soon as you are finished with them and putting them in the recycling bin.
Be as digital as possible.
Adopt a paper-conscious policy at home and in the office. Discourage printing unless absolutely necessary, and when you do, print on both sides. The less paper you use, the less you have to recycle. Plus, there are so many wonderful options from calendars to bill paying, digital file-sharing, and more. There’s even an app to help you manage your waste and recycling schedules, set up reminders, and more.
Keep reusable bags in your car and at the office.
If you’re heading out to buy some groceries or pick up supplies for the office, bring your own reusable bags! You won’t need to use the store’s disposable bags, thus reducing the amount of waste you generate. Be aware of stores’ collection sites for batteries, ink cartridges, and plastic bags, and bring those along. (Pro tip: Collect them in one of the reusable bags that will you take to that store.)
Create a compost bin for your kitchen.
Composting is good for the earth. You can create your own simple compost container from a coffee can placed near your kitchen sink. Simply add fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, old oatmeal, bread crusts, and other items that will decompose. Then periodically transfer the contents of the can to a larger compost bin outside. You can then use it to fertilize your garden or landscaping.
Reduce, reuse, & recycle your office supplies.
Set up a space for used office supplies that can still be reused. Ask employees to check this space first before getting new supplies. In addition, you can buy recycled. Replace standard products with recycled products; oftentimes, it will save you money.
Make recycling a fun challenge.
Generate excitement about recycling with a challenge. If everyone else is motivated to recycle, then you won’t have to stay on top of them. They’ll do it themselves. At work, run a weekly contest by department to see how many recycling bins can be filled, or how much less trash is generated. Choose a recyclable of the week, and award departments that recycle the most. Recognition can include signage and perks such as leaving early, working from home, and free lunches. At home, reward environmentally-conscious kids with a special treat, later bedtime, or a family outing.
While you go green indoors, make sure your vegetation is staying green too! Use this guide to easily check the health of your trees and large shrubs, and avoid a possible future homeowner’s claim.
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