When it comes to recycling, many businesses see it as nothing but a necessary evil, thrown at them by governments looking for public support. In reality, however, consumers value brands that embrace sustainability more than those who don’t care where their trash gets to and are more likely to want to do business with them. And judging by how much momentum the green movement has gained, it seems as if there is no better time than now to start making sustainable changes to your business.
But despite consumers expressing their desire to witness brands making a change and caring more about the environment, many businesses don’t want to do more than what is implied to actively advocate sustainability.
While there are certainly some that don’t care much about recycling, many entrepreneurs fear to take the plunge and rethink the way they manage waste simply because they have been overwhelmed with bogus information about sustainability and recycling.
We live in the era of information, yet misinformation seems to be more prevalent than ever. To put an end to some of these aspects once and for all, we put together a list of common misconceptions people still have about business recycling and what they can do to overcome them.
I don’t need to explain recycling to my employees
While it may be true that your employees know how to recycle at home and do so every day, assuming they are familiar with office recycling guidelines is wrong. Things that may be acceptable for residential recycling, such as some areas allowing people to put all recycling materials into one single bin that will be sorted out at the hauler’s facility, may not be permitted when it comes to office recycling.
Don’t assume you just need to put some colored bins in the hallways, and employees will know exactly what to do. Once you start implementing sustainable practices for your business, make sure all employees are notified and know exactly how things work. Label all recycling containers accordingly, consider posting signs to inform or remind everyone to sort their waste, and appropriately train your employees.
Recycling won’t save my business any money
While it is true that the amount of money your company will be saving depends on several factors, such as the type of waste you produce, the amount, and the frequency, it’s not accurate to say that recycling won’t financially benefit you. Many trash hauling companies charge you based on how much waste you produce, which means less waste will translate into lower fees, and that’s just one way your company can make money recycling.
Another option is to check with recycling centers in your area and find out if they pay for material. You can negotiate with them and turn waste into money with minimum effort.
Recycling is impractical and I don’t have any room to spare
Many entrepreneurs believe recycling takes up a lot of space or that they will have to deal with plenty of logistical inconveniences. While going green will require some money and time investments at first, they are by no means going to wreck your business.
Many vendors provide recycling collection in most areas, so you won’t have to wait for piles of waste to gather in order to take them to the recycling facility. What’s more, some waste management and recycling companies also provide balers and compactors for recycling, so that waste material takes up less space in your office. This way, you can recycle more, and your office won’t look like a paper kingdom.
I run a small business, so I don’t need to recycle
Every little action we take matters in the grand scheme of things, even if you run a small coffee shop at the corner of a street. Your small business produces waste just like any other business, so what you do with the waste matters just as much.
There are at least 30.7 million small businesses in the United States alone, not to mention the rest of the world. If every one of them believed their recycling efforts don’t matter, we’d be living under a pile of trash by now. Besides the fact that every action matters, some states have recycling laws in place, and every business, big or small, needs to follow them. The last thing you want for your company’s reputation and revenue is to be served with an environmental lawsuit.
Everything paper and plastic can be recycled
Many believe it is enough to just throw your used bottles of water in the designated trash bin, and their recycling efforts are over. In reality, however, recycling is a bit more serious than that. You can’t recycle everything that is made out of paper or plastic, no matter how well-intended you are.
One big aspect that many businesses overlook is that shredded paper, for example, is not recyclable. Paper is paper, yes, but when it gets shredded, the fibers are weakened, and they can not be reused. What’s more, if shredded paper is mixed into a recycling batch, it can clog the recycling machine, fall through the sorting screens, or cling to the machines, making the entire batch unusable.
Not all paper or plastic can be recycled, so pay close attention to the rules.
Recycling is an overreach or a scam
The reason why some people still believe recycling is just a scam to bring more profit to big businesses is beyond us, but this conspiracy couldn’t be farther from the truth. The environment is benefiting from every single piece of recyclable material that does not end up in the landfill, so even the smallest contribution counts.
Some find it easy to believe that recycling is just a scheme because they have no idea what happens to the recycled waste once it gets picked up from their home or office. Do your research, read, watch documentaries, and even visit a recycling facility if needed, but don’t go on assuming all waste ends up as fuel for the incinerator.