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Tips for encouraging recycling at your manufacturing plant

Several manufacturing companies do not properly dispose of their waste, causing thousands of dollars to be lost. There are numerous reasons why recycling should be encouraged at your manufacturing plant. Not only is it beneficial for the environment, but it also saves your company money. Recycling plants often will contract with manufacturing companies to pick up their waste materials that can be recycled. If you do not have a recycling program already in place, here are a few tips to encourage recycling at your manufacturing plant:

Tip # 1 - Decide what products can be recycled.
One of the easiest ways to start recycling is to look at all the products that can be recycled. Paper, plastic, and metals can all be recycled. Look at all the items that are currently being tossed into the trash. Can any of these items be recycled? Can some of these items be used for other purposes at the facility? Find out what items can be re-used and hang onto them. Only save the materials that will benefit your company. Hanging onto a large wooden box won't do you much good if your company manufacturers metal or plastic.

Tip # 2 - Establish recycling rules at your plant.

The next thing you need to do is tell everyone at your plant about your new recycling program. Make sure they understand what materials can be recycled and where they need to place these items. Place large recycling bins around the workplace and encourage your staff members to use them. If you place smaller recycling bins in the same area as the trash cans, employees will remember to use them. Label the recycling bins so employees know what materials can be placed in them. For example, you can have 3 separate bins all marked with a different thing like "plastic", "paper", or "metal." The recycling bins only work if employees know where they are located. Picking central locations or placing them next to garbage cans will eliminate a lot of confusion.

Tip # 3 - Hold training meetings.
After you install the new recycling bins, pay attention to how they are being used. After about 2 weeks, hold another training meeting to tell your employees about the importance of recycling. If you notice your employees are still using the garbage cans, remove most of them from the facility. Only have one garbage can in the facility, this will encourage staff members to recycle because they have to walk further to find a trash can. If your employees still aren't catching onto the recycling program, bring in some recycling specialists to talk to them about recycling.

During the meeting, talk to your employees about the impact recycling has on the environment. The recycling specialist can talk to your employees about the benefits of recycling and the effects it has on them at an individual level. When people identify with a cause, they are willing to fix the problem.

Involve your employees in the recycling process by having them come up with some creative recycling ideas. Make the entire experience fun for everyone involved and not just another assignment that they have to do. A simple way to encourage recycling at your facility is to use a reward chart. Employees that are caught making efforts to recycle on a continual basis will be rewarded. The reward doesn't have to be something big, just something simple enough to get their attention and to show them they are appreciated. People love to get free stuff and they will make efforts toward recycling if they know there is a change of getting something for free. Over time recycling will become a habit and everyone at your facility will be involved.

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