Recycle Week 2016

13/09/2016

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Recycle Week this year is taking place from 12th – 18th September 2016. An exciting theme of ‘The Unusual Suspects’ has been lined up and we’re keen for businesses to get involved.

Now in its 13th year, the aim of Recycle Week 2016 is to encourage everyone to think about all those items that often get forgotten about when recycling at home and in the workplace. September 2016 is the month of action; to encourage everyone to recycle more, waste less and to promote the benefits of sustainable living.

WRAP, who work with governments, businesses and communities to deliver practical solutions to improve resource efficiency, are big advocates of Recycle Week. They’ve been working with Zero Waste Week (5th – 9th September) and Keep Britain’s Waste Less, Live More Week (19th – 25th September) to link activities and messages throughout the month.

Take a look at Recycle Now’s guide below to see how to get involved in Recycle Week 2016:

With all of this in mind, we’ve created a new and improved guide to recycling in the office, so you can start to make a difference to the environment and promote being green to use your employees and clients alike.

Set a target

The UK has come a long way when it comes to recycling. From recycling only 7.5% of our waste in the mid-90s, today we’re recycling nearer 43%. There’s still room for improvement in the workplace though, and that’s usually because people don’t take personal ownership of the problem.

The scale of the issue and opportunity for improvement is vast. An office of 100 people produces, on average, 20 bags of waste a week – 90% which can be recycled… But is it?

We’d recommend the first step should be to calculate how much waste your office is producing and take a look at the potential of what can be reduced in terms of usage, what could have been reused, and what can be recycled. This may involve discussions with landlords, councils, existing waste disposal companies and cleaners to work out exactly what your recycling options are, and how best to implement them.

Once you’ve assessed the situation, what are the results? You could rank departments or event individuals to get the competitive juices flowing. Managers may also raise an eyebrow if you could illustrate the potential money that can be saved by doing a better job of reusing and recycling materials! The point is, you need to make it personal.

Make it easy

As the old saying goes, old habits die hard. Take a look at the office – if printers outnumber people, then an easy way to win is to get teams and departments to share equipment. Before you know it, printing doesn’t become quite as essential as it used to be.

On the other hand, recycling needs to be easy. Try to ensure recycling bins outnumber regular ones, so your colleagues start to really think about what they’re throwing away, and which bin they’re using.

Reinforcing the message by displaying posters near printers and bins in worthwhile, but also consider a progress chart so the team know they are heading in the right direction – this is also a great team motivator!

Stop the addiction

Recycling is great, but ideally we should look to reduce use in the first place. Paper’s the most obvious target in an office environment, and with Kyocera’s research finding the average employee uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year, the most alarming statistic is that as many as 6,800 of those sheets are completely wasted.

Simple changes can slash paper use; reducing print margins, font sizes and remembering to delete unnecessary headers, footers and images when printing, can save reams of people when you multiply the effect across the whole company.

DID YOU KNOW? 17 reams of paper requires a whole tree!

For the paper you do need to use, see if it can go further. If you designate a printer for internal printing only, you can simply flip over used paper so the other side can be printed on.

Another quick win is packaging. Remember, when it comes to receiving goods in packaging, you’re the customer; why not ask suppliers if they could use less, or more eco-friendly materials? Of the packaging you do receive, could you reuse it?

No one likes receiving junk mail – and it’s something that can easily be thrown in the regular bin by accident rather than in the recycling. You can cut the annoyance by being proactive; make the effort to unsubscribe from lists, remove subscriptions to magazines that no one reads, or see if there’s an e-version you could access as an alternative.

Another office recycling crime is the use of paper cups! You may assume these are easy to recycle, but for durability and convenience most are coated in plastic resin, so can’t be recycled. Let’s face is, they’re a lazy option; get people using their own mugs instead.

DID YOU KNOW? The UK throws away 2.5bn non-recyclable coffee cups each year


Want to go further? We’ve got lots of other great tips for becoming a leaner, greener business in our regular updates to the Knowledge Bank. Follow @TheBABOfficial on Twitter for the latest updates, stats and green news.

We’re here to help! Our new White Paper ‘Why ISO 14001 is Right for You’ is available for free download, or can be listened to as a podcast while on the move.