Basic Steps Involved in Setting up a Recycling Program
Get Leadership Support
An EPA study on the most effective solid waste management techniques found that people and persistence make the difference. Programs that have both peer and constant managerial support tend to be stronger and more effective programs. It is important to ensure that your recycling program is supported from the top. To do this, ask leaders to put out and/or visibly support memoranda introducing the recycling program. Discussing the recycling program at leadership meetings is another tool that can be used to demonstrate support for the recycling program.
Select a Recycling Coordinator
The Recycling Coordinator needs to be enthusiastic about recycling, and have good organizational and communication skills. They should also be familiar with, or have the time to become familiar with, current waste management practices at the facility.
This person is responsible for some or all of the following:
Determine Current Waste Management Practices
Determine the Waste Stream
The kinds of questions you want to answer with a waste assessment are:
To help calculate the types of solid wastes being generated, you can use volume-to-weight conversion charts, several examples of which are given below:
A volume to weight conversion chart can be used to estimate the amount of each material you are generating. Other methods can also be used for estimating the amount and type of waste generated include: Records Examination, Venue Walk-Through, and Waste Sort.
Practice Waste Prevention – Reduce, Reuse, Donate
Include Concessionaires, Staff, and Volunteers
To make the program successful, it will be helpful to have the support of concessionaires, staff and volunteers.
For ideas about how to include:
How to find a Hauler
Decide if you will contract out or haul recyclables using in-house staff.
You might have a choice between single stream and multi-stream collection of recyclables. The two methods are briefly compared below.
Reference: EPA. Paper Grades and Collection.
Note: Whether your facility will use singles-stream or separated contents recycling will largely depend on your local recycling facility.
It is recommended to have recycling bins next to every trash bin in major common areas and entrances. This sends the message the building and agency is serious, and also helps prevents recyclables from going into the trash bin and trash from going into the recycling bin.
Collection Bins and Liners
To avoid confusion, the recycling bins should look different from trash cans and be easy to identify. Consider purchasing recycled content bins and liners.
Storage and Pickup
“GSA will help other federal agencies set-up recycling programs in buildings they operate addressing not only the traditional office waste stream, but also include other related programs that direct employees on the proper disposal of newspaper, glass, beverage containers, phone books, carpet squares and even grass clippings.”
Facilitate Outreach and Education
Let people know:
EPA Recommendations for Education and Outreach:
For more information and access to outreach materials, refer to Educational Tools.
Reference: EPA. Setting up a Recycling Program Details.
U.S. Department of the Interior
Greening of the Interior