Where will you recycle?

At Home

The key to a successful home recycling program is your storage bin setup.

Once you learn which materials your local drop-off centre accepts (to find a drop-off centre near you here: click here), set up a corresponding storage bin system. The garage or your kitchen is a good place to locate the bins; if storing your bins outside, the lids will need to be covered to secure the contents from pests and wind. Try to use smaller containers, as they will be easier to lift when full. Label recycling bins to ensure materials are separated correctly. Once your system is set up, recycling is easy.

Rinse bottles and recyclable packaging before depositing in your recycling bin. This prevents flies both at home and the recycling station. When it comes to recycling PET bottles, here are a couple of specifics to remember:

At Work

Establishing an office recycling initiative won’t just reduce your carbon footprint, but it could also save your business money.

The first step to setting up an effective recycling programme is to survey your workplace, and figure out exactly what’s going into the bins. Then, you can figure out which products are recyclable and which ones you want to include in your workplace recycling initiative. The easiest way to do this is by reaching out to whoever collects your recycling, whether it’s your municipal waste management program or your building management, and asking them exactly what they recycle and what they do not.

It generally makes sense to start small. Paper, plastic, glass and cans are a good place to start. A few months after you launch your program, as employee participation and awareness increases, you can move onto other, larger recyclable objects, such as ink cartridges, computers, and other electronics. Whatever you decide to recycle, you’ll need to appoint a co-ordinator to oversee and organise the programme. This person should ideally be someone who is enthusiastic about sustainability and willing to help see the entire recycling initiative through.

Recycling at the office is not only a form of Corporate Social Investment but you can reap the rewards with green credentials, like carbon credits and enterprise development.

Encouraging Participation

Even if you’ve found the perfect programme co-ordinator, a successful recycling initiative needs to come from the top down in order to motivate employees to participate. People tend to respond more strongly when the CEO encourages and motivates the team. Be strategic about your placement of recycling bins. They need to go in places where the most waste is generated, like copy rooms, near printers, board rooms, and in staff cafeterias. They also need to be easily identifiable, with clear signage indicating that they are for recyclable materials only. (Make sure to specify which material goes into which bin.) Besides handy bins, another way to encourage employees to participate is through consistent communication. Make sure every worker in the office is aware of the programme and its goals. Track progress in public by counting up recycled materials, and letting everyone know what they’ve helped to accomplish.

Training Staff

It’s essential to reach out to your building management or your landlord to notify them of your recycling initiative, so they can make sure all their cleaning staff are on the same page. You need an on-going education program that lets your employees know the details of your program, and what they can and cannot recycle.

Arranging for Collection

One of the most important parts of the process is deciding how to collect and dispose of the recyclables.

There are many different types of paper products, like printer paper, magazines, cardboard, and construction paper.

Taking More Steps

Recycling programs are often only a smaller part of a broader workplace program to encourage sustainable business practices. If you’re looking to save on costs, combining your recycling programe with an effort to reduce office waste and reuse existing products can be a smart business strategy. When you’re auditing what goes into the waste bins, you might realise that you’re wasting a lot of paper. Try to find tasks that could be paperless, or products that could be reused.

Recycling, reducing, and reusing does not have to stop in the workplace, but can be done at home too.

At School

The benefits of well-run school recycling programmes can reach far beyond the school grounds; they can reach into the surrounding communities who can benefit from drop-off facilities or PET collection drives. Learners also pass the recycling lifestyle onto their families and friends.

A school recycling programme can be a hands-on, interdisciplinary ‘lesson’ that educates learners about the environment and how to reduce waste (including valuable PET materials) going to landfill, while ensuring personal responsibility and pride is taken for the upkeep of the school grounds.

The sale of recyclable materials could also become a source of revenue for your school and be used to fund sports tours, books, computers, computer programmes and more.

Before your school can start a recycling programme, there are three important steps that need to be completed first:

Step 1: Set up a waste management committee
Step 2: Conduct a waste audit
Step 3: Set up the school recycling collection centre

Download our full ‘School’s Guide for Recycling’ for tips and tricks on how to start PET recycling at school.

You’ll also find exciting educational material that explains the PET recycling process in simple terms, such as posters, DVDs and PET collection bags, for events. You can also hire banners for special events such as sports days, fun days or fêtes. Contact us for more info info@petco.co.za.

At University

Follow these main steps to starting a recycling programme at your campus: