Why Does It Matter?
Did you know that in Indiana paper makes up 29% of our waste stream, plastic 17%, metal 6%, glass 3% and food waste 10%? Did you also know that all of those items are things we not only commonly throw away at home, but also at work and at school? And with just a little bit of effort, all of these things can be recycled or composted. One or two people that are willing to spearhead the effort is usually all it takes to get a new recycling program started. If you are a one of those and would like to start recycling at your church, school or your office, we can help get you started.
What Should You Do?
-Get buy-in from your peers, leadership and building maintenance staff
-Form a Green Team of others that can help you plan, educate, troubleshoot and encourage
-Conduct a waste audit to objectively learn what materials to target in your recycling program
-Contact your waste management company to understand the recycling services offered and learn how you can offset your waste hauling costs by recycling
-Once you know what materials to collect, you need the correct type of recycling bins to ensure a successful program—remember to locate the bins in sensible places and to consider the weight of the bins when it comes time to empty them
-Educate, educate, educate—provide clear instructions about what will be recycled, how the items should be prepared for recycling and where to place the materials
-Reiterate the recycling instructions in emails, newsletter and on signs near the recycling containers
-Generate excitement for the new program—set some early, attainable goals for the program and celebrate those early milestones
-As your recycling program gets underway, check the bins for contamination, listen for feedback from peers, maintenance staff, leadership and others
-Make adjustments as needed
If you want to begin a recycling program but are intimidated about the size of the task, start small. The Solid Waste Management District lends recycling bins for events. So if your school or organization is having an event, try recycling just bottles and cans and see how it goes. You can always expand your program as you go. If you are interested in the District’s recycling bin lending program, give us a call or you can find more information on our website.
Next time we’ll share more about how the District may be able to help your organization launch a new recycling or waste reduction program through our Community Grants Program. Stay tuned!