Learn about the best recycling options for businesses in San Diego, and how to make your work place more sustainable
These days, practically anything can be recycled. Many of us recycle at home, but what about our work place? According to the U.S. EPA 40% of all waste is generated in the work place, which makes recycling in the work place even more critical.
Recycling bins for our home are supplied through the city. Does it mean the city is in charge of our recycling bin at our business as well? Not necessarily. Now, how can you start a recycling program in your business? It might be a little more complicated without that bin around the curb, but recycling in the work place is simpler then it seem.
Is everything recyclable?
Well, not everything, but almost everything can be recycled. So the first step in creating a recycling program at your business is to determine what kind of waste is generated at your business and then what can be recycled in your area.
Most businesses use paper and ink cartridges, while other businesses might use different kind of batteries, packaging, electronics, organic waste etc. you would be amazed how much of your business waste can actually be recycled, if you just know where to go.
One easy solution for recycling program in your business could be just calling the company that handles the garbage in your business and ask them if they offer recycling services. This could help save money on transporting fees (to special recycling location for example). Some companies specialize in commercial recycling, and a quick look in the phone book might help you find one in your area. Otherwise, drop it off in a recycling center. Surprisingly, this can even end up by making you money.
The city of San Diego has a list of recycling centers/drop off site; earth911.com can also be helpful with finding recycling centers, according to the different materials and relevant areas. In addition, the state of California has put together a list of companies that specialize in manufacturing recycling containers. You can also take a look at the second hand shopping guide that offers good recycling tips.
Start a recycling program
In order for the recycling program to be successful it is important to assign one person to be in charge of the program. Otherwise, the chance that some materials might get into the wrong bin gets quite high as time goes by. The next step will be to distribute recycling bins in visible high-traffic area.
Make sure the bins are carefully labeled- it is imported to write down exactly what should go in each bin.
Now that you’ve analyze what are the widely used materials, where to drop it off and how to collect it on a daily basis your recycling program should be on its way.
At this point, it is important to make sure that other materials that are not that frequently used should be recycled as well. Materials like electronics rechargeable batteries can be gathered in a separate bin to be determined in a set date, like once a month, every quarter and so on. You might even share your program with other businesses. This will not only help in cutting expanses but also in getting some good PR for your business.
The Green Commitment
The Green Chamber of San Diego County asks their members to make a commitment to the green economy and agree to implement the Green commitment. The green commitment is an excellent way to help you start a recycling program in your business, and enjoy all the benefits of a successful sustainable business.
What goes where?
Follows is a partial list of items commonly used in work places that can and should be recycled. Remember to check every item before discarding of it- even cars can be recycled!
Rechargeable Batteries – RadioShack and Office Depot accept batteries from wireless phones, laptop computers, camcorders, cordless power tools, digital cameras and radio-controlled toys at no charge.
Books– nooks can be recycled by selling them to used bookstores (even online) or donated them to libraries and thrift stores. Otherwise, Some curbside recycling programs accept paperbacks, comic books and other soft-cover books.
Carpet and Padding– your carpet dealer might have access to a carpet recycling network. Find potential contacts and locations of carpet pick up at CarpetRecovery.org.
Cell Phones, Pagers, PDAs– It is now illegal in California to toss cell phones in the trash, so please drop them off at Staples office supply stores or go to Call2Recycle.org. You can even get cash for newer-model cell phones from CellForCash.com
Computers – Give your computer to charity or a school if it’s still good; if not, ask your community’s hazardous waste program for recommendations of responsible recyclers. Dell and HP also offer recycling program for printers, scanners, fax machines, monitors, handheld devices, plus their cables, mice, keyboards or other external components. Go to their web site and learn more.
Coffee Grounds, Tea Bags, Fruit Rinds, Veggie Scraps– why not create your own compost bin? Your garden will love it!
Paper, Cardboard Boxes – Curbside recycling program accepts more types of paper these days than just flattened cardboard boxes and newspapers. Check your program for its latest rules.
Plastic Bags– supermarket bags can be used as kitchen garbage bags or as pooper-scoopers for dog and cat waste. Some supermarkets recycle bags so check for a bin at the store entrance. Your curbside recycling program may also recycle plastic bags, so call to check.
Plastic Containers – plastic containers have several marking, from 1 through 7. Community curbside recycling programs often accept plastic bottles marked “1” or “2” on the bottom. Check your recycling program for its latest.
Packaging “Peanuts”– Most UPS Stores accept clean foam peanuts.
Printer Cartridges – you can save money by refilling inkjet cartridges a few times through ink-refill services. Exhausted cartridges can be taken to Office Depot or Staples which will trade you certain models for a free ream of recycled paper or store coupon.
Smoke Detectors – Send dead smoke detectors back to the manufacturer, up to five smoke alarms are accepted for free. On the front of the package, write “For Disposal.”