The Future of the Three R’s

In life we break issues into three’s, in the States it’s three strikes and you’re out. Universally, bad things happen in three’s and the three educational remits. In waste management we have Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. This triad was introduced to school children in the mid 1990’s and in some places sooner. Teaching them to treat their environment with respect and dignity through classroom engagement. In the work force it has been proven a little harder to implement because once adults have habits, they are harder to break.

Breaking Bad Habits

Workplace environment management is a key element of team development and work place pride. The physical environment a team engages in is one of the main mitigating factors in workplace happiness and productivity. Other correlating factors are consistent feedback and flexibility of role, if your goal is to keep employees, ensuring their environment is clean and well maintained is a key component. This ensures they are engaged in the essence of the business not simply space filling.

However, everyone in a workplace does not view their environment the same way, therefore breaking bad habits is essential. One set of employees can have spectacular habits, and the others can ignore issues until they stack to the ceiling, this causes interpersonal friction and should be addressed at supervisory level. Implementing a workplace plan where tasks are either taken care of by external forces or delegated equally to all employee’s will stop said friction dead in it’s tracks. If they are invested, and responsible it will show in their metrics and attitudes.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Reducing waste in the workplace is of paramount importance,waste from the commercial sector accounts for 12% of all UK waste.Commercial offices occupied by large financial sector companies typically produce around 500 kg of waste per employee each year, 60% of which is paper and cardboard. In 2000 a study found that almost 70% of all waste was disposed of to landfill. Data for 2018 is not available but is likely to be much less due to the widespread recycling of paper, plastics, glass and metals.

Best practice for the generation of office waste is around 200 kg of waste per employee, with 70% diverted away from landfill. Typical waste generated in a UK office (source: Waste Watch) The waste produced and its method of disposal in an office building can be determined from a waste audit. UK offices between 2015 and 2018, show an average around 130 kg of waste per person per year is generated (with a range of 100 to 175 kg), with over half due to paper and 30% due to food waste. White Paper, 20% Cardboard, 14% Newspapers & magazines, 13% Other paper, 13% Food, 21% Building (services & other), 4% Plastic Cups, 1% Cans, 3% Glass, 3% Office Equipment, 2% Other plastic, 6%.

Creating a Culture

 Culture is a huge part of any business. Building up a company culture of sustainability is a great way to help our environment and perpetuate the importance of conservation. A lot of businesses gladly volunteer for different organisations around the country to create a company culture of charity, which really helps engage employees and gives them a fun way to give back to the communities that support the company they work for!

Another great way to increase employee engagement and give back to our environment is to get your employees involved in a sustainability project. From recycling to composting, or a beach or forest clean up, the possibilities are endless!

Implementing environmental practices is a great way to let your employees and customers know that you take sustainability very seriously and that you really do care about our environment.Volunteer projects are a great way to get your employees involved in environmental care, there are a lot of other ways you can implement an environmentally positive program to get your employees engaged in sustainability.

Recycling Programs

A great way to get your employees to recycle more is to create programs that reward them for recycling. You could have monthly contests between departments to see who was able to recycle the most or reduce their output of waste the most.

In addition to contests, you should also have a system put in place to recycle electronic items like batteries and old technological equipment. Increasing awareness and understanding will lead to compliance, so try clearly labelling all recycling bins and putting up signs that explain what is recyclable. Not only will this reduce your waste output but it can also save you money when it comes to waste management.

So create recycling goals for your team and make sure they meet them. You could have the goal to produce 60 percent less waste each month. Have employees save and reuse any type of glass or plastic they can. And be sure to use recycled paper products as well to further make green thinking a part of your company culture.

Create Carpool Programs

Encourage your employees to walk to work, take public transportation, or carpool with one another to reduce greenhouse gas emission. You could provide preferred parking for those who do carpool, and you could give those who walk or take public transportation some sort of special monthly benefit like a half day or a free lunch once a month.

If any of these ideas sounds good to you or your team.If you need help with your companies three R’s give us a bell. We will be happy to assist you in developing an environmental sustainability plan for your workplace. Enterprise Waste Management on 0333 222 9945.


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