How to Start a Business Recycling Program

by Melissa Hopkins ; Updated September 26, 2017
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Businesses create a lot of waste, and without a recycling program that waste usually ends up in landfills. While many businesses have paper recycling bins, much of the rest of the waste that could be recycled goes into the trash. Starting a recycling program is an excellent way to address this environmental problem. By organizing a recycling program in the workplace, you can help the environment by making recycling options easily accessible to your employees and co-workers.

Decide what items you want to recycle. There are many things that can be recycled in an office, but you may want to narrow your focus to certain items. For example, coffee grounds can be recycled, but you need a recycling business that specializes in coffee grounds to cooperate in this effort. You also need to consider how much space is available for sorting bins. Check local recycling services to see what type of recycling is available. Assess how many receptacles for diverse recyclables can reasonably be accommodated.

Place receptacles for each type of item you want your business to recycle. Some offices have paper recycling bins at each desk, while others place these receptacles next to the copy machines. Place bins for recycling cans, plastic containers and coffee grounds in kitchen and break areas for easy access. Check with local waste management providers for guidelines on preparing the recycled materials for pick-up. Make arrangements for regularly scheduled pick-ups of your recycling. Ask employees to break down boxes and crush cans to minimize overflowing receptacles.

Let employees know about the recycling bins. Create a memo detailing where each recycling receptacle is located and what kinds of materials are appropriate for each bin. Explain the importance of recycling business-generated waste and encourage participation in the program. Remember, there are many things that should not be put in a recycling bin. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality suggests regular reminders to employees and co-workers regarding items that should not be put in the receptacles to avoid contamination.


  • Consider offering fun incentives like a company-paid lunch to encourage participation in the recycling program.

About the Author

Melissa Hopkins began writing for the Southern Illinois University newspaper in 2000, where she won several awards. After completing her Bachelor of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Hopkins moved to San Diego, where she worked as a stringer for various publications with the Pomerado Newspaper Group.

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