Keep America Beautiful study finds we’re doing ok, but there is lots of room for improvement.
As you know, businesses measure everything to see how they are performing. Did we sell more than last year? Are we spending too much? They track everything. It should be no surprise then, that Keep America Beautiful set out to measure how well we are recycling at work. Since sustainability is a principle that is so important to us, we took a lot of interest in this study.
So how are we doing? Not bad, but there is lots of room for improvement. 87% of us recycle at home, but only 41% do it at work. And half of us think it’s difficult to extremely difficult to recycle in the workplace.
Those results come from the “Recycling at Work” study, commissioned by Keep America Beautiful, that found common sense approaches to recycling can have a big impact across offices. The overarching recommendation, which achieved a 20 percent increase in office recycling during the study, is to provide employees with a desk-side recycling bin along with smaller trash bin. In common areas, it’s recommended that recycling and trash bins be paired with simple, consistent signage provided on bins and posters with the most common recyclables identified on the recycling bin.
Based on the frequency of the 10 targeted items in the recycling and trash, the study suggests the following items should serve as higher priorities for an office recycling program:
- Office paper is the most frequently recycled material, but it was still present in the trash in 50 percent of offices.
- Plastic beverage bottles and aluminum beverage cans are about equally present in recycling bins and trash bins. Similar to paper, these materials remain a priority.
- Paper towels were very frequently ending up in the recycling bin, with a steady decrease of presence over the course of the project.
- Food scraps had enough of a similar pattern to deserve a priority focus, though they were not present in recycling bins as frequently as paper towels.
Do you find it difficult to recycle at work?
If you are having a hard time getting your office to go green, Keep America Beautiful has an easy to implement 10 Step Plan to develop and execute your own Recycling at Work action plan.
If you need help, we have a lot of experience in this area. We have spent a lot of time researching ways for companies to be “greener” and we’re proud members of the St. Louis Green Business Challenge.