Ensure a Sustainable Program
Assessing your program periodically throughout the year can help you stay on target for achieving your recycling program goals. One of the most common causes of an under-performing recycling programs is the fact that nobody paused to ask the simple question, "How Are We Doing?" Below are a few ideas to help ensure that your program will continue to be successful for years to come.
Check-In with Stakeholders
Touch base with all the parties that worked to start your recycling program and see how they think things are progressing. Let them give honest feedback on improvements.
Check-In with your Hauler
As important as it is to touch base with internal operations, make sure you touch base with your hauler. Your program is a partnership with them, and their guidance and insight can be helpful to find more streamlined approaches that might help their turnaround time and help your internal operations as well. They can also give great feedback on the quality of the material leaving your facility.
A survey can be conducted with all staff to determine if they correctly understand what can and can't be recycled and whether they have ideas to improve the program.
Schedule Follow-Up Training
Have periodic training sessions with your teams. This can help make sure messages remain consistent. Make sure to highlight areas that could improve and success stories.
Use Data Driven Reports if Possible
Data can be a great tool to show tangible results to your company. Tracking how much trash vs. recyclables are being disposed each month can help illustrate progress and galvanize the rest of your employees to want to share new ideas on other recyclables that the company could target next. Data also can show cost savings to C-Suite members by illustrating the program's savings to the company’s bottom line.
Conduct a Follow-Up Waste Audit
Conducting a waste audits after your program has been implemented for a period of time can be a great tool to educate staff as well as understanding the progress they have made in recycling. Consider doing the audit in a highly visible area for staff to become engaged and see the results as well as ask questions. Make sure to publish results to the entire company to show progress.
The importance of custodial staff to the success of your program cannot be overstated.
Check in with them on:
- What are they seeing in the recycling and trash containers that they service?
- Are there certain areas of the building where they see more contamination in the recycling, or more recyclables in the trash?
- Are they experiencing any issues with the service provider?
- A check-in with custodial staff can be particularly important if you use outside, contracted custodial service. These companies sometimes experience high turnover, so the individuals who service your recycling containers at the end of the day may change frequently.
- Are they being trained on where to take your recyclables once they are collected?
- Do they understand your expectations regarding your recycling program?
- Regular check-ins with a contracted service can be an important step to prevent mishaps in the servicing of your recycling containers.