Recycling has been one of the many buzzwords of the last ten years as companies in the UK try to manage the amount of waste that they produce. With global warming a real problem all around the world, efforts to reduce companies’ carbon footprint have increased markedly in the last few years. This comes in many different forms, from using recycled material to ensuring that eco-friendly measures are met all across the office.
With the UK now under pressure to deliver significant reductions in carbon emissions as set out by the Kyoto Protocol and other regulations both in the UK and the EU as a whole, there are plenty of reasons for firms to go green as much as they can.
The Stats that matter
There has been a decrease in the amount of waste that is being collected each year, however, it isn’t enough to stem the amount of carbon dioxide that is being put into the atmosphere. Data collected from the government during 2004 and 2008 showed that total UK waste generation had decreased by 11.3 per cent, while out of those sectors that generated more than 25 metric tonnes of waste a year, the industrial and commercial industry recorded the largest percentage change with a 17.3 per cent decline.
Recent figures from the US governmen’s Earth Systems Research lab have shown we are still not doing enough to prevent waste. Indeed, the data showed that the concentration of carbon dioxide had passed the symbolically important 400 parts per million level in 2013. The last time that carbon dioxide levels were so high was estimated to be in the Pliocene epoch, between 3.2 million and five million years ago.
Education the First Way to Deal with Problem
Despite the fact that much of this information is emblazoned on news channels all over the world a lot of the time, most of us are still unsure of the facts and figures about recycling and its importance. This is where companies can help educate their workforce and their local communities. For example, you could develop a checklist of the things that you expect of your staff in terms of being eco-friendly.
The checklist could include trivial things such as ensuring all computer monitors are switched off at the end of the day and turning off the lights when you’re the last to leave the office. You could also incentivise eco-friendly behaviour e.g. by paying employees a small subsidy if they cycle to work, car share or use public transport.
Give your Workers a Helping Hand
Even if you educate your workforce about the benefits of recycling, it doesn’t necessarily mean the message will sink in so you might need to hold their hand somewhat. Have plenty of recycling bins available around the office with clear instructions on what can be recycled. You can also hand out recycled bags or holders for carrier bags to ensure people aren’t throwing away items unnecessarily when they could quite clearly be used again.