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Recycling is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to go green with your small business. For starters, it vastly reduces the amount of landfill waste you produce. Recycling also saves you the money it would cost to have that waste hauled away. Moreover, recycling can earn you some great positive press coverage if you play your cards right.
Chances are your local community already picks up paper, aluminum and small plastic waste for recycling free of charge (if you're not sure about this, call your local government administrator or contact your local Chamber of Commerce to find out what free or discount recycling opportunities exist locally). But you might not know that there are many things in your office you can recycle for free instead of paying to have hauled away.
In addition to paper and plastic, items from the office that can be recycled for free include:
Some items you can easily recycle yourself, others you can have hauled away for free, and still others might require a specialist (old refrigerators, for example, contain coolant that needs to be contained before they are recycled). To find a recycling for your items, simply conduct a quick search engine search for local recyclers who handle the material.
If you can't find a recycling company, especially for big items, post an ad in a local paper offering your materials free to anyone who will haul them away. Chances are those in the know might know of a nearby recycling plant, metal works shop or other resource who can take them for you. They'll pick up your recycling for free and get a paycheck from the recycling plant. Even if you know that no such facility exists locally, you can look for a hauler who stores material until he has enough to justify taking a load to the nearest recycling plant. They'll get the money, but you'll get rid of your junk in an eco-friendly way without having to lift a finger.
If you want to go beyond your internal office with your recycling efforts, you can challenge employees to go green in their daily lives. Set up a way for employees to track their green efforts and reward those who accomplish their green goals. You can have most improved awards, most recycled awards, most green awards, best idea awards, best green office ideas awards, etc.
You can likewise challenge other businesses to see which can recycle the most materials every year (from a percentage of what was to be thrown out otherwise -you don't want to get into a contest to create waste!). Invite local media in and you'll likely earn some priceless PR and company branding simply for recycling.
Last but not least, evaluate your supply and distribution chains to identify opportunities to take advantage of already-recycled products. You can buy recycled light bulbs and office furniture, you can print marketing materials using eco-friendly soy inks and recycled paper (check prices for these options instantly on PsPrint), and you can explore many other arenas for going green with your company.