What To Recycle in the Office (and the Home Office)

Here's the upsetting truth about recycling:

From throwing garbage in the blue bin to only recycling 11% of plastics, Canadians are not doing a good job at recycling.

Recycling helps reduce air and water pollution, so learning what your office can recycle, and how to do it properly is important.

At G&T, we know that recycling in the workplace can help make a difference. So, what should you recycle in the office? Keep reading to find out.

Pens, Pencils and Markers

For most office workers, pens, pencils, markers and highlighters are part of our everyday work process. So, what happens when your trusty writing utensil runs out of ink? While many of us may throw these items in the waste bin and think nothing of it, we urge you to stop, think and recycle these items.

While it's important to recycle items like pens that have run dry, we don't mean simply throwing it in the blue box. The reason why it's important to recycle these types of materials properly is that they contain non-degradable waste that causes soil and water pollution.

So, how do you recycle these types of office supplies? We suggest using Terracycle - a program that collects these types of items and molds them into newly recycled products.

Batteries

The wireless keyboard and mouse you use are just two items that use batteries in the workplace. But like the ink in a pen, there comes a point where the batteries need to be replaced. Due to the number of different chemicals inside the battery, throwing it in the garbage harms the environment - contaminating the earth, water and air.

Once again, batteries are not your typical blue bin items. Once again you can use Terracycle, they recycle batteries and keep them out of landfills helping to reduce environmental pollution.

Cell Phone

Do you own a cell phone? Silly question, right? 86% of Canadians own a smartphone, some even have 2 (personal and a work). As a small business owner, you may have equipped some of your employees with a work phone.

What happens to any of these cell phones when they become old and need to be updated? Well, there tends to be a lot of cell phone waste - meaning people are incorrectly throwing their phones in the garbage. This type of behaviour negatively affects the environment as cell phones are made with toxic chemicals, metals and plastics.

We recommend that you start an office recycling program at work that encourages employees to bring in their old cell phones to recycle them. Within your community there are programs that allow you to safely dispose of your non-traditional recycling items. One way you can do so is by returning them to your phone carrier. So, if you and your employees are ready to upgrade your cell phones don't forget what you need to do.

Paper Products

From office paper, cardboard boxes, receipts and more - there are many different paper products in an office building. Luckily, paper products are something most employees recycle. But, are you and your employees recycling these products correctly?

Well, read along to find out!

An important thing to remember when it comes to recycling paper is that it needs to remain dry. Once paper becomes wet, it becomes cross-contaminated and unrecyclable. To avoid this from happening in the office, we suggest that you have a separate blue bin for paper products than other recyclable products. This will help to avoid cross-contamination. Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to remove any staples, paperclips and binding before putting paper in the blue bin.

Another tip when it comes to recycling paper is that surprisingly, not all paper is recyclable. For example, receipts contain BPA making them unrecyclable. Make sure to educate your employees on what type of paper is and is not recyclable. Other unrecyclable papers include shredded paper, photos, paper cups with plastic linings and more.

Now let's have a look at cardboard boxes. If you or your employees ever make online orders, chances are taped up cardboard boxes make appearances in your office. These tend to be larger recyclable items, so remember to break them down and remove the tape before putting them in the recycling bin.

Toner

No matter if you print off many sheets of paper or seldom print out paper, you will run out of toner at one point. And, toner is another office product that contains hazardous chemical waste. So, continuously recycling used cartridges will not only reduce the amount of waste your business has, but it will help save the environment too.

Although recycling cartridges isn't as easy to recycle as paper, it is possible to keep it green. An option includes the Grand & Toy THINK program. This system collects used ink and toner cartridges to be remanufactured and resold later.

Ready, Set, Recycle

Saving the environment can start at work (home offices included). So, make sure to educate yourself and your employees on what's recyclable in the office, and create a visible area, such as a printer room with all the right recycling systems (bins). It can change the environment for the better.