Recycling is an important part of our everyday life at the office. It is highly beneficial in the workplace where consumption is high, but when done improperly, it can cause more bad than good. By educating staff on your local recycling do’s and don’ts you can save time, money, and resources, and improve efficiency. Recycling contamination can cause recyclable materials to be disposed of in landfills instead of being recycled. Here are some common mistakes you may be unaware of.

Not Rinsing Dirty Containers Before Recycling

Most recycling is performed by machines. The machines are not built to handle leftover food, condiments, or other substances and can cause damage to the machinery or the worker processing them. Recycling dirty containers can also cause contamination of not only the package itself but the entire load, resulting in having to be thrown out rather than recycled. This defeats the purpose of recycling and makes the production workers’ jobs more challenging.

Recycling Electronics in Blue Bin

Electronics are often recyclable, but cannot be recycled in your office blue bin. They require a special method for recycling and must be recycled at a local Return-It Electronics collection site or another electronic recycling facility. Select grocery and convenience stores are now implementing electronic recycling programs to make recycling easier and more convenient. 

Putting Plastic Bags in Recycling Bin

Plastic bags are considered soft plastics and should not be placed in blue bins. They are too flimsy to be sorted properly during the recycling production process and cause the machinery to jam. Bring plastic bags to a recycling depot or your nearest grocery store. Not all grocery stores accept used plastic bags, so be sure to check.

Recycling Single-Use Coffee Cups in the Paper Bin

Although the exterior of a coffee cup appears to be made of paper, the interior is lined in a thin plastic film to prevent the cup from becoming flimsy when liquid is present. Used single-use coffee cups should be placed in your blue bin along with other containers.

Putting Soft Plastics in Blue Bin

Not all plastics are made equal. This means that soft plastics and hard plastics are not recycled in the same way. They have a different recycling process, melt at different temperatures, and should be recycled separately. The same thing goes for small plastics. Small plastic items cannot easily be sorted in the recycling machinery and often get mixed into the landfill.

Putting Paper Towels and Tissues in Blue Bin

Paper towels and tissues are made from paper by-products that cannot be recycled. They are non-reusable due to being made from recycled products and chemicals. Used paper towels or tissues should go in the garbage. Unused ones can go in your compost bin.

It is important to establish green policies and practices at the office for a greener future. Social responsibility contributes to a positive brand image, and happier employees, and helps attract like-minded customers. For more eco-friendly office cleaning tips, visit our blog