As we get back to the new normal in ways that are safe and smart, remember that waste reduction and recycling can be part of your long-term success in the workplace. (Waste Management)

As we get back to the new normal in ways that are safe and smart, remember that waste reduction and recycling can be part of your long-term success in the workplace. (Waste Management)

Back to work? Help your business save by recycling right

Waste Management offers recycling strategies to Snohomish County businesses during the pandemic.

COVID-19 has impacted our community in unprecedented ways, forcing Snohomish County businesses to find savings wherever possible. Creating smart and efficient recycling and garbage systems is one piece of that puzzle.

If you are transitioning back to work, your local recycling experts from Waste Management are offering advice for avoiding the hassle and extra expenses of a disorganized waste system. Follow these simple steps for a refreshed and sustainable waste program that promotes recycling right, waste reduction and cost savings at work.

Reassess waste and right-size your service. The first step is understanding what kind of materials you produce at work. Some will be reusable or recyclable; some will have to go to the landfill. Take a quick peek at what’s in your waste bin at the end of the day and write down what might be in the wrong bin.

Review what belongs in the recycling bin. Find guidelines at www.wmnorthwest.com to check your work or reach out to Waste Management at recyclenw@wm.com with questions. It’s important to put only accepted items in the recycling bin. Once you know what goes where, it is time to right-size your service. If you found that cardboard boxes were ending up in the garbage, you may need to increase your recycling service to accommodate this recyclable material. The good news? Recycling service is cheaper than garbage service on a yard-for-yard basis.

Refresh recycling stations. Set up your program for success by making it easy to recycle right. Garbage and recycle bins should be placed together and clearly labeled. Download and print signs at www.wmnorthwest.com for posting above bins. Waste stations should be conveniently located in areas where waste is produced, such as in break rooms and near printers.

Reeducate staff. Engaging staff to achieve your recycling goals is key, and there’s no wrong way to do it! Recycle guidelines can be communicated in an email, meeting, newsletter or posted on a bulletin board.

Don’t forget to reach out to janitorial staff. They need to know what goes where and about problems associated with plastic bags. Recyclable materials should be emptied loose into the bin — not in plastic bags. If your janitorial team uses plastic bags to collect material, simply instruct them to empty the recyclables loose into the bin and throw the plastic bag in the garbage (or reuse it).

Prioritize reducing and reusing. Reducing and reusing are even more impactful than recycling. Try replacing single-use items with their reusable counterparts. You can offer coffee mugs and cutlery in the break room, set printer default to double-sided printing and install scrap=paper trays near printers. Challenge your staff to come up with new and creative ways to reduce their waste in the workplace.

COVID-19 has upended how we do business in many ways. As we get back to the new normal in ways that are safe and smart, remember that waste reduction and recycling can be part of your long-term success in the workplace. These simple strategies can help.

Hannah Scholes is Waste Management’s education and outreach manager. Learn more at www.wmnorthwest.com.

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