Office paper recycling tips

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Instead of throwing away office paper, try starting a recycling program
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Recycling office paper is the first step towards a greener business

Everyone knows businesses generate a lot of paper.  Unfortunately, most of that paper ends up in the trash, and ultimately, in our landfills.

But fortunately, there is something you can do about that. And it's easier than you might expect.

Setting up an office paper recycling program is a quick and simple way to reduce waste and help Mother Earth stay healthy. Here are some tips to get you started:

Make it easy to recycle

Many companies have started recycling programs and failed.  So what did they do wrong?  Usually they made the process too hard. 

One company required employees to sort papers into one of four bins -- plain white copy paper, color copy paper, other letter paper and slick paper.  And the bins were located outside.  Needless to say, few employees participated. There was too much confusion involved in the types of papers, too much effort required to keep four piles at each desk and weather issues often made going outside unpleasant.  So office paper went into the trash, or into the wrong bin.  The program was soon canceled.

Recycle one kind of paper

Instead of sorting, choose one kind of paper your employees use a lot of and set up a recycling program for that kind only.

Take it to the source

Give each employee a small recycling bin to keep at their desk, so they can drop papers in throughout the day. Station larger rolling bins around indoors so that employees can easily empty their small containers and someone can roll the accumulated paper out to the collection site daily.

Catch it where it starts

Place large rolling bins near copy machines if that is your target recycling, so misprints go directly into recycling.

Get people excited

Employees will do a much better job at recycling if they're excited about the process. Have a meeting, serve snacks, show a movie about the environment, then get everyone to buy in to the idea.  Consider offering a small gift to remind employees to recycle.  
Something like a seedling to grow on their desk, flower seeds for their home garden or even a small tokens like pens, magnets, or key chains imprinted with a reminder to recycle will help to increase the participation and commitment. (Just make sure whatever you provide as tokens is likely to be appreciated and used, rather than tossed into the nearest waste basket! That would pretty much defeat the purpose of a recycling program.) 

Offer feedback

Give employees regular reports on the recycling program, including the amount of paper recycled.  Create a display in a lunch room or other busy area with small trees to represent the trees saved by the program.  Add a new tree to the little forest each time another tree is saved. 

Make it part of a larger plan

Make recycling step one in your commitment to a greener company.  Changes in work schedules, energy use reduction and manufacturing processes can all be the next step in making your company or business a green and healthy one.

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