Office Recycling Bin

Recycling in the office is more than just a noble idea – it’s a practical step toward a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly workplace. By zeroing in on specific areas, offices can make a significant impact on reducing waste. Here are the top 10 focus areas for recycling around the office:

1. Paper Waste

Paper is a staple in offices, from memos to meetings notes. Set up easily accessible recycling bins specifically for paper products, such as office paper, envelopes, and newspapers. Encourage habits like double-sided printing and the use of digital documents to minimize paper use. Bonus tip: Keep a scrap paper tray for those quick notes and doodles!

2. Electronic Waste

Outdated electronics can quickly accumulate in storage closets. Items like old computers, monitors, phones, and other devices contain materials that shouldn’t end up in landfills. Implement an e-waste recycling program and partner with certified e-waste recyclers to ensure these items are disposed of responsibly. Plan regular collection days to make it easy for everyone to participate.

3. Plastic Bottles and Containers

Plastic waste is one of the biggest environmental issues we face. In the office, set up clearly labeled bins for recycling plastic bottles and containers. Educate employees about which types of plastics are recyclable to avoid contamination. Encourage the use of reusable water bottles and provide refill stations to reduce plastic waste even further. 

4. Batteries

Batteries power many office gadgets but contain hazardous materials that need special disposal. Place designated battery recycling containers – like the Busch Systems Battery Recycler – in convenient spots around the office. Partner with local facilities that specialize in battery recycling to ensure they are processed safely. Educate staff on the bin locations and remind them regularly about the importance of recycling batteries. 

Battery Recycling Container

Busch Systems Battery Recycler Container.

5. Packaging

From shipments of supplies to equipment deliveries, packaging materials are a significant part of office waste. Collect cardboard boxes, bubble wraps, and other packaging materials for recycling. Flatten boxes to save space and make recycling more efficient. Create a program within your company where you reuse packaging materials, when possible, for outgoing shipments to further reduce waste. You can also take this one step further and check with local companies who may be in the business of recycling packaging into pellet material that can be used in manufacturing of new items. 

6. Toner and Ink

Used toner and ink cartridges are a common office waste product, but many suppliers offer recycling programs. Set up a collection point for these cartridges and either return them to the supplier or take them to a designated recycling center. Some manufacturers even offer discounts or rewards for returning used cartridges, so it’s a win-win!

7. Paper Towels

Paper towels are indispensable in any office kitchen or bathroom, but they aren’t recyclable. However, they can be composted! Set up compost bins specifically for paper towels in restrooms and kitchen areas. This not only reduces landfill waste but also contributes to a more sustainable office environment. Make sure the bins are clearly labeled to avoid confusion. Busch Systems Waste Watcher containers and Spectrum Containers make great bathroom containers as you can adjust the number of containers you include in your station, thus giving you the option to include a paper towel only stream with designated signage. 

8. Coffee Cups

Disposable coffee cups, especially those with plastic linings, are a common sight in offices. Encourage employees to bring their own reusable coffee mugs and put in place a central coffee machine where employees can make their own coffee in the morning or for those afternoon pick-me-ups! For those who forget, provide recycling bins for coffee cups, or check your local regulations to see if coffee cups are compostable in your area! Educating employees on how to properly dispose of their coffee cups, ensuring the lids are separated and recycled, is important in any office setting. Some offices also offer incentives like a coffee club for employees who consistently use reusable mugs.

9. Cardboard

Cardboard is everywhere in the office, especially from packaging and shipping materials. Ensure that all cardboard is collected, flattened, and placed in recycling bins. Cardboard is highly recyclable and can be turned into new products. Encourage employees to break down boxes to save space and make the recycling process smoother. 

10. Food Waste

Food waste is often overlooked in office recycling programs, but it’s an important area to address. Implement a composting program for food scraps and organic waste. Place compost bins in kitchen and break areas to capture food waste. For smaller offices, you might opt for a smaller organics waste collection bin like the Busch Systems Kitchen Composter that can sit on the counter in the break room. Alternatively, choose a station that can accommodate several streams like the Waste Watcher Series, Mezzo Series, Aristata Series or Spectrum Series. This not only diverts waste from landfills but also creates valuable compost for gardens and green spaces. Be sure to check with your hauler about collection of organic waste as this might need to be arranged separately.

Recycling, Organics and Waste Containers in a kitchen

Busch Systems Waste Watcher Containers with Organic Collection in an office Kitchen.

Additional Tips for a Greener Office

Education and Awareness:

Keep employees informed about the importance of recycling and how to do it correctly. Regularly share tips and updates through emails, posters or meetings.

Proper Bin Placement:

Strategically place recycling bins in high traffic areas to make recycling convenient for everyone.

Recycling and Waste Containers in a high traffic area

Busch Systems Mezzo Series Containers in a high traffic office setting.

Reduce and Reuse:

Promote the use of reusable dishes, cutlery, and office supplies. Opt for digital documents over printed ones wherever possible to further cut down on waste.


By Focusing on these key areas, offices can make significant strides in reducing their environmental impact. Effective recycling programs not only help the planet but also foster a culture of sustainability within the workplace. Let’s all do our part to make our offices greener and more sustainable!

To learn more about recycling at the office, resources for corporate office locations and suggested Busch Systems containers for your office recycling program, check out our Corporate Offices Industry page.

Blue Deskside Recycling Container in an office setting

Deskside Recycling Container in blue.


Downloadable Resources:

Click to view and download this infographic to learn more about the top 10 focus areas for office recycling!

Infographic for facts and stats about office recycling