For more information on how to build an exceptional recycling program for your Janitorial Services, click here.
An overview of the Economic, Social & Environmental benefits associated with building a solid waste management program.
Whether a facility has a recycling and waste management program in place already or not, we want to help you build a program that works to serve both you and your client! You work hard to keep your client’s facility clean and well maintained – you deserve a waste management program upgrade to make your job easier. So many businesses and facilities have already taken steps to improve their waste program such as adding recycling and organics streams while developing a standardized and easy to follow system for all users. Getting your client’s staff and visitors on board with a seamless recycling program can drastically improve it in several ways. Here is a small list of the major benefits of having a successful waste management program!
Impact on Janitorial Staff
One of the most obvious benefits of making program changes is the ways in which these changes can benefit you and all custodial staff at the facility! Many containers do not consider ergonomics or ease of service, making collection a constant battle. These are some of the factors to consider when upgrading your client’s recycling and waste program that will have a major impact on all involved custodial staff.
- The right sized container for the intended area can help reduce the number of times a custodian needs to collect waste but can also detour large and unwanted items in improper streams.
- Proper bin placement can also help improve the frequency of collection if there are enough containers placed strategically throughout a facility.
- Bright colors and clear signage encourages visitors to use the correct stream, reducing contamination and therefore decreasing the time custodians spends sorting waste
- Program education to the public and staff can also ensure a decrease in contamination and ensure program success
- Consideration of ergonomics and servicing when purchasing a bin is such an important part of your waste management program. Considering the ease of servicing can drastically improve the safety and physical health of all janitorial staff. Whether your company or your client is making the purchase, be sure that they have these considerations in mind.
You are probably wondering about your client’s budget, and how you can get approval to make these kinds of changes for their facility. It is no secret that implementing a new program or revamping an existing program costs money, but there are many ways in which it can actually save money! In addition to the many obvious social and environmental upsides to recycling, here is a list of economic benefits to take to your client when you propose changes to their waste management:
- Drastically Reduced Waste Removal Costs:
Trash removal costs can be exorbitantly expensive, especially in dense cities or remote areas. By removing paper, plastic and other recyclables from the waste stream, facilities can cut their waste disposal bill by as much as 50 percent. Of course, costs will differ from facility to facility and there is always a cost involved in recycling collection. However, the price paid for recycling collection is often recouped by the savings of having less waste collected by your waste hauler.
- Promotes a healthy economy
In a study performed by Waste Wise, they point out that “Recycling is an important segment of the national and state economy, creates jobs and saves money for generators of waste. The businesses, institutions, and local government entities highlighted in this report all understand that recycling makes both environmental sense and economic sense”. The amount of jobs that the recycling industry sustains has a major impact on the overall economy.
- Procurement of Recycled Materials
Many recyclable materials are valuable enough to sell and be reused. This not only promotes a circular economy but also creates a potential for cost savings from your client’s recycling hauler.
- Clean Facility
Providing more options and communicating a clear waste management system encourages people to refrain from leaving trash and litter in places they do not belong. Not only can this improve the aesthetics and clean environment of your client’s facility, attracting and pleasing more guests, but it can also reduce the hardship on janitorial or maintenance staff. Encouraging guests and staff to properly use your new and improved waste management system means that they are more likely to clean up after themselves, benefitting you and the client!
Successful facilities are often involved with philanthropic and social causes to promote their interest in the success of their community. If your client is looking for reasons to let you expand their waste management program, share some of these social benefits with them.
- Companies or facilities that actively recycle and collect organics send the message that they are passionate about the environment.
- Eco-friendly actions show a commitment to a greener future, which can help to empower guests and employees to further personal actions.
- Setting a green standard in the community creates more jobs. These jobs support a shared transition to a more sustainable and resilient society. In fact, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance reports that industries engaged in sorting and processing recyclable material employ 10 times more people than traditional waste disposal firms do.
- People tend to feel a sense of social pressure to participate in recycling themselves if they see that it is encouraged in all aspects of their community.
- The same social pressure applies to keeping public spaces clean. Visitors and guests are more likely to use recycling and waste receptacles properly if the environment around them is litter-free, and the options of waste, recycling, and organics are provided.
The need for action to help save our planet becomes more crucial every day, and the pressure on janitorial staff to make changes is more intense than ever. One of the most effective ways for a facility to have a major impact is to expand their collection beyond waste to include recycling and organics, while also communicating their program effectively.
By now, you are likely familiar with the main environmental benefits of recycling, but here is a recap of what recycling in your client’s facility can do for our planet:
- Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste as harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are often released from plastics and other recyclable materials in landfill sites.
- Recycling reduces the need for raw materials so that the rainforests can be preserved, allowing natural habitats to remain safe.
- Large amounts of energy are used when making products from raw materials. Recycling requires much less energy and therefore helps to preserve natural resources.
Beyond these, the environmental benefits of recycling are plentiful, but have you considered the further benefits of suggesting organics collection at your client’s facility?
Some people believe that food will simply decompose once in the landfill, but this is not usually true. Diverting organic matter from the waste stream has many ecological benefits, including, but not limited to the following:
- Reducing methane emissions, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than CO2.
- Minimizing the formation of leachate, a toxic runoff which threatens ground and surface water.
- Returning nutrients to soil, which both improves soil health and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Boosts the ability of soil to retain water and decreases runoff.
Organics aside, landfills are a primary contributor to the greenhouse gas output of the United States. Decomposing garbage generates methane, which is about twenty times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. With that said, all the waste generated within your community ends up in landfills and has a direct negative impact on climate change.
As with any environmental change discussion, the common thought is that any of these efforts are just a drop in the bucket, however, your program has a much larger influence than you may think. Making these types of changes to your client’s waste management not only sets a standard for all other organizations, but it also sets a positive example for every person who enters the facility, encouraging them to practice recycling and proper waste disposal in their everyday lives. Making changes to your client’s program reflects your organization’s passion for the environment and encourages potentially thousands of other people to re-consider their recycling habits.
Now that we’ve filled you in on the quick list of benefits, we’re confident that you will find further success in your own program improvements, and when you do, we hope you share it with us! We would love to hear your challenges, successes, and any other industry knowledge that you have to share so that we can continue to educate and update our resources for you and other janitorial companies in the future.