Recycling Plastic Is Serious On Many Levels
With landfills hitting capacity and toxins from plastics seeping into our food and drinking water, recycling is the solution to ending up like Pixar’s Wall-E or worse. But in 2009 alone, over 13 million tons of plastic were used and disposed of, and only 7 percent of that 13 million was recycled. You can see how much recyclable waste your business generates with this recycling calculator.
This is a huge problem that needs to be addressed and we can start by recycling in the places where we use the most disposable plastic, in the workplace. Here are some ideas on how to successfully recycle in your workplace.
Get the Proper Receptacles
Get a designated receptacle for your plastic recycling in Chicago. Make sure that it’s clearly marked so employees don’t throw trash in it. Make sure you have a service, like CRI, to pick up your plastic.
Generate a Workplace Campaign
In order to let your colleagues in Chicago know that you’re making an effort to recycle, start a campaign. Put out flyers, send emails and create incentives to continue to recycle. Offer an office party to the group with the most recycled items or give a gift, like a recycled fleece or other recycled items.
Look for the PET or PETE Number
Those chasing arrows aren’t just recycling emblem, the number inside the emblem indicates the type of plastic used to make the bottle and therefore how recyclable it is. Water bottles are mostly made of Number 1 PET or polyethylene terephthalate, which is sometimes abbreviated as “PETE” as well Number 1 PET is generally a recyclable plastic, but because recycling centers vary in the types of plastic they can process, you should contact your local municipality to determine the plastics accepted for recycling in your area. Once you’ve found that out, place only bottles with those designated numbers in your recycling bins. Adding bottles with other numbers just adds to the workload of the recycling municipalities.
Clean and Flatten Your Bottles
First you need to rinse the bottles and remove the labels. Then place them in your recycling receptacle. Remove the lids. Use them for art projects or throw them away, because the lids are made of a different type of plastic and it can contaminate the recycling process. Flatten water bottles before adding them to the bin.
Buy or Bring Recyclable Items
Before you buy, always check the number on the bottom of the container to make sure your municipality can recycle it. If not, look for a recyclable alternative. The arrows on the bottom of the bottle don’t necessarily mean the item is recyclable. All plastic containers have the triangular, chasing arrow emblem, however the number indicates if the item can be recycled.
Use Refillable Bottles Instead of Plastic
The EPA encourages consumers encourages us to use or buy products that contribute to the solid waste problem. Relying on reusable items reduces toxic waste from production and disposal. It saves money for communities, businesses and consumers, as well. Stainless steel water bottles are a great alternative to disposable plastic containers. They are durable and lessen the problem of waste. But if you have to take a water bottle to work, please recycle.
Your Recycling Efforts Shouldn’t Stop Here
These ideas are just the beginning, research and find out more ways to successfully recycle not only plastic, but paper and metal as well. You’ll be keeping your workplace waste out of landfills and keep the cash generated by renewable resources in your community.
To learn more about starting a recycling program in your workplace, contact Combined Resources, Inc. at 855-782-8490. Learn more about our plastic recycling services, here.