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Reuse, Recycling & Waste Reduction

How to Recycle

Whether you are looking to start or expand your recycling program, here are five simple steps to get your business or organization on the right recycling track:

Step 1: Get organized
Business waste reduction and recycling programs succeed when management and employees are organized, involved and committed to making change.

  • Identify a champion to lead the effort.
  • Set recycling goals to measure your success.
  • Create a Green Team to promote recycling efforts.
  • Learn what other companies have done. 


Step 2: Look in the bin
Take a look in the trash bins inside and outside of your business—you might just be throwing away money.

  • Perform a quick visual assessment of trash bins and containers and write down the most common recyclable materials you find.
  • Visit our Resources page to find organizations that provide waste audit services for businesses or use our resources to conduct your own waste sort. Also, some waste haulers will provide a waste audit to identify recycling opportunities.


Step 3: Reduce waste
Waste reduction can lower costs in every area of your business—from break rooms to shipping.

  • Identify waste reduction opportunities like renting equipment or reusing office supplies.
  • Encourage employees to use both sides of a sheet of paper when printing and copying.
  • Use the Minnesota Materials Exchange to buy and sell used office equipment.


Step 4: Start Recycling
Make sure you’re getting the most out of your business’s recycling program.

  • Verify what’s being accepted with your hauler or recycling service provider or use the Business Recycling Guide to find recycling drop-off centers or pick-up services.
  • Pair trash and recycling containers next to each other making it easy for customers and employees to recycle.
  • Label your recycling and trash bins so employees and visitors see your business’s commitment to recycling and know what types of items to recycle.
  • Look at your invoice to find out how much you’re paying for trash and recycling services and ask your service provider for cost savings associated with recycling.
  • Work with your service provider to “right-size” your external containers by making sure the containers for waste and recycling are the right size for the amount produced and are collected by the hauler at a frequency that saves you the most money. Generally, as recycling increases the amount of regular trash produced decreases, so the trash doesn’t need to be collected as frequently.
  • Reduce trash collection frequency as the recycling program matures.


Step 5: Spread the Word
Employee participation and training is critical to success. Spread the news about your recycling efforts.

  • Train staff on what to throw away, what to recycle and where.
  • Track your trash and recycling progress and celebrate successes.
  • Pledge to follow these five steps and improve recycling at your business. Visit Rethink Recycling and Take the Pledge to receive an electronic logo ("stamp") that you can share with employees and customers to demonstrate your commitment to recycling.

Last updated: 9/18/2014 9:18 AM