How to encourage recycling at work

Environmental Journal: Entry 4. Oh, the bins…

My laptop’s Google history is awash with bins. I currently have 16, yes 16 tabs open and each one of them is dedicated to recycling bins. I have even delved into the world of Pinteresting (if that is even a word?) recycling bins. This a world I do not prescribe.

Recycling has long been the arch-enemy in my fight for total waste control, and at present, I am losing. (it is also bloody confusing).

I am looking to purchase recycling bins for The Granary (our roastery), and I have a theory…

Clear labelling is key!

We currently have 3 bins at work: one for general waste, one for mixed recycling (paper, glass, tin, plastic) and one for organic waste that we compost. By and large, we tend to do a good job at using the correct bins for the correct job, but now and then I find myself scratting around in said bins fishing out something that is in the wrong bin.

So, without wanting to become the bin police, I have decided we need something that will incentivise all of us to use them correctly (including myself).

This is where the theory comes in: Buy the correct bins. As I said, this is a job in itself. I am trying my hardest not to be seduced by the fancy looking eco-chic bins that promise to “make me look stylish while I recycle” and I have come to the conclusion that I just need to get something that is large, durable, clearly labelled and colour coded for the correct recyclable item. My thinking is if we have designated bins for specific items that are clearly labelled, this will encourage us to use the correct bin and deter us from misusing them. Easy, right? This also has a little science attached and will hopefully back up my theory – “product transformation salience”.

Fancy, eh? Well, this fancy term just means, if we are confronted with images or a message detailing what our recycling will end up becoming, i.e. plastic becoming a backpack or tin cans becoming bicycle parts (you get the idea), then it has been proven to increase recycling rates.

As always, I am slightly sceptical that all of these things can (and will) be used as huge marketing ploys, but I can get behind the fundamentals. Creative signage to follow.

Unfortunately, the bin saga does not end here, and I want to dig a little deeper. I want to see what happens to our recycling when it leaves us. I will, however, park this here for now as I’m aware there is only so much bin talk one can take. But, I will leave you with my bins of choice. Money well spent if you ask me….

One last note: if you are looking for help to wade through this confusing environmental landscape, then give this podcast a listen. It has helped me.

One last thing I promise. Reuse is always better than recycle.

Burts x

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