Creating an “Eco-Friendly” Culture at Work Part #2

The following article is part of a series of posts I am dedicating to improving environmental awareness in the workplace. No matter who you work for, there is always an opportunity to make your job a little “greener”.

Step #2) Organize Your Resources

As I mentioned in Step #1, the first environmental project that you undertake at work should be as innocuous as possible while still providing a positive affect on the environment.

Your supervisor and co-workers may not share the same passion for changing the world that you do, but they will be receptive to more ambitious projects if you demonstrate success with less “invasive” improvements first.

Step #2 in my system to reduce the environmental impact of your work place is to organize any and all available resources that can help you achieve the goal you identified in step #1.

For the sake of this example, lets say we’ve identified an opportunity to improve your employer’s recycling program. By now most companies around the United States have at least a basic recycling program in place but almost all of them could be improved.

Organizing your resources may involve identifying and recruiting people within your organization that can help you with your project.

In the case of our recycling example, it also means evaluating the current waste management program to determine what is and what isn’t working.

Are people still throwing recyclable material in the general waste bins?

Are people aware of what can and what cannot be recycled?

Does your company offer recycling bins for all recyclable materials such as paper, plastic, aluminum, glass, tin, batteries, printer cartridges, etc?

Are recycling bins easily accessible in areas where people are likely to generate recyclable waste?

You may find that your municipality has the capability of recycling material that your didn’t even know was recyclable creating even more opportunities. Some facilities are now able to recycle wood, batteries, paint, and used motor oil and even polystyrene (Styrofoam) material.

As each improvement opportunity is identified, try to come up with quick and easy solutions to help resolve them.

In my company, many people were throwing recyclable materials in the general waste bins. I would routinely find soda bottles, coffee containers, aluminum cans, cardboard boxes (among other thins) that could easily of been thrown into a corresponding recycle bin.

The simplest solution to this was to send out an email to my co-workers reminding them of where the recycle bins are located, and what can and cannot be recycled.

If you feel that the recycle bins are not conveniently located in your working environment, perhaps you can relocate them, or make new recycle bins out of cardboard boxes.

You may also consider making a flow chart or spreadsheet and printing the page out and placing it in a conspicuous place (break rooms, hallways, etc.).

Whether your revamping your company’s recycling program, utilizing more energy efficient manufacturing techniques, or helping to organize a carpool at work, creating environmental change at work is a worthwhile goal, and one that you can obtain if you are methodical in your approach.

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