Starting a recycling program can feel daunting at first but, with the right process, a facilitywide recycling program can be implemented rather easily. Regardless of whether you want to create a facilitywide program, with multiple tenants, or single unit/floor options, there are plenty of steps both big and small that you can take.
Perform a Waste Audit: Ask questions and collect all the necessary data so you can make informed decisions.
What is your current waste volume?
Are your tenants primarily throwing away paper, boxes, and biodegradable food?
What kind of disposal equipment do you have?
What options do you have with your trash collector?
What are your monthly waste costs?
Are your tenants recycling already?
Is there a community event tied to recycling pickup that you could coordinate with?
Create Initiatives that Make Sense: Once you have a clear picture of your current waste situation create recycling goals that make sense for your situation. A "one size fits all" solution isn't productive for every building owner/facility manager. A few examples include:
If 50% of your waste is biodegradable food, start a composting program and donate to a local community garden.
If you have a large amount of boxes and paper, ask your current trash vendor if they have a dumpster that is dedicated solely to recyclable materials.
If your building is in a city that has a spring clean up initiative, participate and leverage your good deeds on social media.
Look for community partners to reduce costs. There are organizations that will come and pick up old electronics and similar.
Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate Again: Don't create a program in a silo that no one will use later because you didn't interpret their needs correctly.
Hold town hall meetings
Send out surveys and ask your tenants what their needs are
Schedule a Zoom call
Take a similar approach when you have an established program. Communicate to your tenants and tell them how they can participate, where recycle bins are located, and what to put where.
Create infographics and email to tenants so they understand what qualifies for the paper bin, the food bin, etc.
Monitor and Be Flexible: Create measurable goals and action plans to leverage your new program. Track costs and communicate to your tenants and brag about your efforts on social media. You're doing a good thing for the world; make sure you tell them. Remember to take small steps and be ready to pivot when needed. Your program doesn't have to be perfect, and it's okay to change mid-plan if something isn't working.