In case you haven’t already heard, November 15, 2016, is America Recycles Day. Although you may think that recycling your cardboard boxes won’t cure global warming, participating in eco-friendly initiatives and recycling campaigns makes a bigger difference to the environment and your company than you realize. As a business owner, you have the opportunity to improve the environment you live and benefit in even if it’s in a small way. You can also reap the benefits of recycling as a business such as improved sales, new opportunities, and reduced costs.
Benefits of Going Green in the Office
As the go green initiative continues to grow, a new group of customers may flock to you if your company offers eco-friendly products and continuously shows respect to the environment. As mentioned on Business.com, a Neilson study was conducted across 60 countries and concluded that 55 percent of consumers worldwide would pay a premium for products offered by eco-friendly and socially responsible companies. Being eco-friendly will make customers want to switch over to your company because it will leave them feeling better about the products that they buy, leaving the competitors behind. If your business doesn’t have the option of providing eco-friendly products, you can still attract customers with the constant upkeep of your immediate surroundings and by exploring other new opportunities.
Implementing an office recycling program is just one of the many ways to show your support of the environment. This will not only have a positive effect on the reputation of your business and well-being of the environment but could also positively influence employees who prefer working in an eco-friendly environment, which can lead to increased happiness and better productivity at work. According to Inc., up to 90 percent of office materials can be recycled. Think of all the documents, meeting notes, cardboard packages, and plastic used around your office that you could be recycling. Although 90 percent may seem like a scarily large amount, you can start small with recycling in your office by only recycling a few items in the beginning so that your employees don’t get overwhelmed and give up. You can kick start this program with a few simple steps, such as:
- Setting your photocopiers and printers to the default setting of double-sided printing.
- Place recycle bins and posters around the office to encourage staff to participate.
- Make computer files instead of paper files when possible. Embrace technology and encourage creating computer files and sending emails rather than printing documents and handing out paper memos.
- Switch from plastic foam cups to paper cups. Plastic foam isn’t a recyclable material and cannot decompose like paper can.
- Contact your local trash company to schedule a weekly recyclables pickup. All the effort you and your employees put into recycling won’t do any good unless those objects are actually being recycled properly. Check to see if your community has a local drop-off location or arrange to have the recycled items picked up.
Many businesses are afraid to participate in recycling initiatives because they fear the company will sustain extra costs or employees’ will expend valuable time on recycling instead of work. While there may be an extra cost of starting a recycling program or incorporating eco-friendly products into your merchandise in the beginning, the long-term savings are where the benefits really come into play. Once you have the basics down for recycling paper and plastic around the office, your company can begin to save money by:
- Buying recycled toner cartridges and sending your used toner cartridges to be recycled. The office supply company, Staples, has a recycling rewards program that offers rebates for customers who choose to recycle toner and ink cartridges bought from Staples within 180 days of purchase. Customers have the opportunity to recycle up to 10 cartridges per month and can even do so online. As mentioned by Inc., in 2008, Staples recycled more than 22 million ink and toner cartridges in the U.S.
- Encouraging staff to use reusable coffee mugs in the kitchen or break room. This way, you’re saving money on trash expenses and reducing waste in the environment by washing and reusing the same mugs.
- Investing in rechargeable batteries and battery chargers for digital cameras, flashlights, and other small devices. By informing your staff about rechargeable batteries and how to care for them, you could save money in the long run because rechargeable batteries are cheaper over time and better for the environment. For more information on recycling and proper disposal of batteries, please visit CalRecycle’s Batteries home page.
Recycling can provide long-term savings for your company, increase employee satisfaction, and boost sales by recruiting new customers to your business. If you’re looking for more ways to support sustainability in and out of the office, encourage your employees to take the pledge to #BeRecycled at http://americarecyclesday.org. You can create an environmentally friendly office that both your employees and customers can benefit from if you remember to take the extra steps to go green and celebrate America Recycles Day on November 15, 2016.
Madeline Neal is a senior at LSU studying Mass Communication. When she’s not taking selfies with her dog, Emma, you’ll find her at a local bakery eating chocolate chip cookies. In her spare time, she watches reruns of “The Office” and hopes one day to live in New York City.
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