Build a successful office recycling and waste program
For more information on how to build an exceptional recycling program for your office, click here.

As much as 90% of office waste can actually be recycled, but many offices simply don’t have the systems in place to make sure these items enter the circular economy instead of a landfill. Luckily there are several proven ways to create a system that encourages everyone in your office to recycle. We’ve compiled the 8 best reads that will help you implement an office recycling program that increases revenue, gives you greater access to state-driven green business incentives and boosts your brand through positive public relations.

Standardize your program, add more recycling stations, reduce contamination—these are all the typical phrases you’ll hear in the recycling community about how to improve diversion rates and reduce costs at your office. Although these practices are tried and true, there are many moving parts to each that makes tackling them successfully a little more difficult—but that’s where you come in!

Sustainability, corporate social responsibility and green initiatives are becoming widespread in modern business culture–and for good reason! One of the easiest ways for your company to help the environment is to start an office recycling program. Much of the common waste in your office (paper, cans, etc.) is recyclable. Starting a recycling program not only helps the environment, but can also save you money on waste disposal expenses.

Anyway, enough gabbin’ about the benefits, you already know them, that’s why you’re here! So let’s dive into these top 8 resources to get your office recycling program launched! If you know of some more resources that’ll help your fellow office managers/sustainability coordinators, please comment below with your suggestions and we’ll add them to the list. And don’t forget to bookmark this page, so you can refer back to it when you’ve got some more time to brush up on your office recycling & waste management skills.

      1. EPA – Office Recycling Handbook: Recycle Today for Tomorrow [pdf]~45 min read. First off, let’s take you down memory lane to a guide produced by the EPA in 1991! This guide provides you, the office recycling hero, with a convenient way to successfully plan your office recycling program launch. While this guide is certainly showing its age, it’s impressive to see the techniques still used to this day! 


      1. EPA – Managing and Reducing Wastes: A Guide for Commercial Buildings [Toolkit]~120+ min read. Now, let’s jump forward to the 21st century! Office buildings, schools, stores, hotels, restaurants and other commercial and institutional buildings generate significant amounts of materials and waste. Here are tools and resources to help facility managers, building owners, tenants and other stakeholders improve waste management in their buildings, reduce costs and enhance sustainability.


      1. Recycling@Work – 10-Step Action Plan [Toolkit]~20 min read. Recycling at Work is a national voluntary initiative challenging businesses, government agencies, schools, hospitals and other institutions to commit to increase workplace recycling by 10 percent. This is their quick 10-Step Action Plan with recommended actions and tools you can use to develop and execute your own Recycling at Work action plan.


      1. A Guide to Workplace Composting [Guide]~100 min read. Office compositing is that beautiful low-hanging fruit waiting to be plucked! The US Composting Council, with support from Kimberly-Clark Professional* and Keep America Beautiful, has developed this guide to provide information on workplace composting programs that support sustainability, waste reduction, and zero waste initiatives.


      1. SFEnvironment: Zero Waste Toolkit – Businesses [Toolkit]~120+ min read. This toolkit, developed by SFEnvironment (San Francisco Environment for those wondering what SF stands for), contains everything you need to build a successful office recycling program. These tools are designated for those living in San Francisco, which you may know, must adhere to the highest standards when it comes to recycling in the U.S.–so you know it’s good!


      1. EPA: Sustainable Materials Management [Toolkit]~120+ min read. Sustainable materials management (SMM) is a systemic approach to using and reusing materials more productively over their entire life cycles. It represents a change in how our society thinks about the use of natural resources and environmental protection. By looking at a product’s entire life cycle, we can find new opportunities to reduce environmental impacts, conserve resources and reduce costs.
        The EPA has provided this awesome toolkit that covers everything from basic information about SMM, the topics involved in SMM so far, how your organization can help and even tools like the ole’ tried and true WARM method.


      1. Georgia Department of Natural Resources: Sustainable Office Toolkit [Toolkit]~90+ min read. Created by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Sustainable Office Toolkit is a set of resources and tools to help offices of all types and size move toward sustainability through practices such as recycling, energy and water conservation and “green” building.


      1. An Office Waste Reduction, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Buy Recycled Resource Book [Guide] The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Bureau of Waste Reduction & Recycling put together this helpful guide. The purpose of this Resource Book is to provide you with basic information and ideas on a waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting and buying recycled products and packaging programs for your office.
        Okay, this one is a little dated as well, but again, it provides a lot of the basic information you’ll need to be successful on your journey to zero waste at your office!


And there you have it! Plenty of resources to get your journey to sustainable office waste management started. We’ll continue to update this page as we see more great information come down the pipe. And again, if you think we’ve missed some more resources, feel free to comment below.

Stay tuned!

For more information on how to build an exceptional recycling program for your office, click here.