Develop a Recycling Plan

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A recycling plan helps to organize the information necessary for a successful recycling program. The plan can also identify responsibilities for implementing the program and the goals that you would like to achieve.  A recycling plan also serves as an important reference document when things change.  For example, if a contracted custodial service provider changes, the plan is a great reference for how recycling is handled in your place of business.   Similarly, elements of the plan can be helpful during on-boarding of new employees or opening a new location. A Recycling Plan Template has been provided at the bottom of this page to get you started!

Include these representatives:

In order to create an effective plan, you’ll want to include a cross-section of departments and employees.  Involving the right people in the planning of a program not only allows for the identification of potential challenges that need to be addressed prior to starting a program, it creates a deeper understanding of the program and employee buy-in when it is time to move to implementation. Consider including the following representatives when creating your plan:

  • Upper Management
  • Department Managers
  • Facility Manager
  • Interested employees
  • Operations Manager
  • Your Recycling Service Provider (if you have one)
  • Housekeeping/Custodial

Questions your plan should answer?

  • What are the goals for program?
    • Goals can be helpful to organize and prioritize the appropriate actions to take
    • Consider making your goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound (“SMART”)
  • What materials will be accepted in the recycling program?
    • Determined by your Recycling Service Provider
    • Does this change for specific parts of your operation?
  • What type of collection containers will be used?
    • Will different containers be used in different places, such as deskside, adjacent to copiers, in break rooms, and in public spaces?
  • What kind of signage will be used on the containers?
    • Where can employees find copies of the signage if it needs to be replaced?
  • Where will the recycling collection containers be located?
    • Floor Plans showing the exact locations of the containers can be helpful
  • Who is responsible for service/collection of the recycling containers?
    • Internally (Housekeeping/Custodial)
      • How often is that service to be expected?
      • Who is responsible for maintaining internal recycling containers?
      • Where will recyclables be stored internally prior to collection by your service provider?
      • Who will be the point of contact for the internal service?
    • Externally (Service Provider/Hauler)
      • How often is that service to be expected?
      • Where will the recyclables be stored externally?   
      • Who will be the internal point of contact for the service provider?

Green Teams

Some businesses organize Green Teams to help develop recycling plans and programs. Green Teams are typically comprised of employees who are highly interested in sustainability issues. The most successful Green Teams are supported by their leadership.

Some Benefits to having a Green Team:

  • Leverages the energy of employees who are interested in sustainability
  • Provides feedback to management on potential sustainability programs
  • Can organize and engage other co-workers on sustainability projects

Click to Download Recycling Plan Template

Recycling Plan Template

SWACO has created a Recycling Plan Template filled with questions you and your team can answer to help organize important information pertaining to your program.