Encourage your employees to recycle

Encourage your employees to recycle

Many facility managers find it difficult to get company employees to recycle more. Our waste management specialists have put together some proven suggestions for implementing behavioural change at your facility.

If you’d like to speak with Panda about changing the waste management culture in your company please contact our commercial waste management specialists.

1. Increase Employee Awareness  

The first way to increase participation in your company is by making sure your employees know that you have a recycling program. Do not assume that bins and signage placed throughout your facilities speak for themselves. Go a step further by referencing your recycling programme during company meetings, or including a section about your recycling program within employee training materials.  


2. Make Recycling Part Of Your Company Culture 

The more people see recycling as an expected behaviour in the work place, the more likely they are to participate.


3. Place Recycling bins by general waste bins 

There are 2 reasons for placing general waste and recycling bins next to each other:

A. If an employee happens upon a general waste bin without a recycling bin beside it, they are less likely to exert the effort to find the recycling bin. By placing the two bins together, choosing to recycle becomes as easy as throwing the same item in the general waste bin.

B.The second reason your bins should be together is to help reduce contamination of your recycling stream. If an employee has easier access to recycling stations than to general waste bins, they may start throwing general waste into the recycling from convenience. This could have devastating effects on your recycling program as regular contamination can cause vendors to refuse recycling loads.


4. Use Colour Coding 

Colours are a great tool for creating psychological associations that affect behaviour change. Therefore, if you have the resources available, try colour coding your bins as much as possible. Some ways to use colour coding include:

  • Designate one colour for all your recycling bins and another for all your general waste bins. For instance, your recycling bins could all be green and your general waste bins could all be grey. Using these colours to consistently differentiate between recycling and general waste will help employees quickly distinguish between the two.
  • If you have multiple recycling bins for different types of materials or commodities, use different colours to label each commodity type. For instance, if you have bins for collecting mixed paper, give them all a red label; if you have containers for LDPE plastic bags, give them all a purple label; etc. The specific colour you choose for each material is irrelevant as long as you use that colour consistently throughout your facility.


5. Place Signage On Or Near Bins

The clearer you distinguish between each type of bin, the better. Labelling your bins will help cut down on possible confusion regarding what each employees should place in each bin.


6. Use Specific Examples For Each Commodity Type  

Employees are not necessarily used to categorising their waste. They may be confused about whether or not specific items are recyclable and which bin to use for what. To assist with clarification, try including specific examples of items employees encounter on a daily basis for each recyclable commodity. For instance, if your employees produce a lot of paper label backing waste, and your recycling service provider is willing to accept this material with mixed paper, list “paper label backing” as an example on your mixed paper bin.

If you are unsure what examples to use, consider reaching out to our commercial waste specialists


7. Celebrate Success

Positivity can do a lot for increasing employee enthusiasm. Therefore, any success stories you can share with employees about the great work they are doing by recycling will help reinforce this behaviour and encourage others. This can come in the form of rewarding individuals for recycling, talking about improvements to diversion numbers, or mentioning any positive environmental impacts your recycling program has had.