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Getting Your Office to Recycle

I Got My Boss on Board With Recycling, and So Can You.

How to start an office recycling program, get your boss to recycle, green business

A few years ago, I was working a job in the retail industry at a company I really liked. The work was reasonably fun, my coworkers were nice and I had a decent parking spot. But there was one thing I had a problem with. We didn’t recycle.


At home, I was all about living green, and I always have been. I meticulously sort my recycling, try not to waste anything and do my best to buy products made from recycled goods.

At work, there was plenty of paper used to process and keep records as well as bits of plastic and cardboard that could easily be recycled. My company, though, did not have a recycling program set up.

So, I decided to take it upon myself to get my boss on board with recycling. Today, I present you with the lessons I learned from that undertaking, so that you, too, can get your company to be a little greener.

Appeal to Human Goodness

Your boss has probably heard about the benefits of recycling, but something has prevented it from hitting home. It’s up to you to get through to them.

In order to do that, focus on the issues relevant to your business. Throwing away a lot of paper? Talk to your boss about deforestation. Tossing out your fluorescent light bulbs? Bring to his or her attention that when those bulbs break, they can release toxins into the oceans that end up in fish, including the ones we eat.

Appeal to Their Business Side

If talking about the environmental benefits of recycling doesn’t convince your boss, try appealing to their business sense – something that’s getting easier to do as more people get on board with going green.

People today are willing to pay more for greener products, so explain to your boss how recycling could actually help your sales if you let people know about your new green initiative. Also, take a look at what your competitors are doing. Chances are at least a few of them are marketing themselves as green in some way, so show your boss where your company could be missing out.

Take the Lead

Although your boss may want to recycle after you explain the environmental and business benefits, he or she still might not do so because it seems more difficult than it really is.

Make starting the initiative easier for your boss by providing them with information about starting a recycling program and explaining how easy it is. You could even outline a plan and present it to your boss. The less it work it is for them, the more likely they are to go through with it.

If your boss is still reluctant, you could offer to take charge of the recycling program. It’s not likely that they will shoot down the idea if it doesn’t require any extra work for other employees. At that point, all upper management has to do is greenlight your recycling initiative.

Recycling is one of the main tenets of going green. While it’s fairly common today, some companies still aren’t on board. If that’s the case at your company, you may be able to do something to change it. Explain to your boss the environmental and economic benefits of recycling, the risks of not recycling and, if all else fails, offer to take charge of the program yourself.

I finally convinced my boss that our company should recycle and got my program started. It became one of the accomplishments at that job that I was most proud of, because I knew it could really make a difference. Now, I challenge you — go out and do the same!



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Kate Harveston writes about topics related to social change, sustainability, and human rights. She is a regular contributor for several environmental publications and enjoys living a healthy and green lifestyle. If you like her work, you can follow her on Twitter or visit her blog, Only Slightly Biased.
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