How to Start a Recycling Program for Your Small Business

Every business has room to help reduce its environmental impact, and the best way to do this is with a business recycling program. After all, the average American office worker can use up to 10,000 sheets of paper every year. This is 4 tons!

If your small business hasn’t begun a recycling program yet, then it’s time to get started. If your small business needs help getting started with a recycling program, let us show you how.

Make a Plan

You can start by looking at what your business uses a lot of and consider whether or not it can be recycled. For something that can be recycled, set a goal for how much of it you’re going to try and recycle. Then, decide how you intend to separate and collect the materials you’ll be recycling.

You could have different colored bins for different items, or you could group them together if this is acceptable for the service that is collecting the recyclables. Whatever your plan is, you’ll want to make sure you explain it to your employees. It will also help to clearly label your recycling bins.

Start Out Small

Many municipalities offer single-stream recycling, which makes it easy to start recycling without worrying about you or your employees separating different recyclables like cardboard or glass.

However, if your recycling still needs to be separated, then your employees may not be ready for disposing of recyclables in too many separate receptacles. The best way is to start out by recycling paper because this is likely to have the largest impact. Then once your employees become used to it, you can start adding more receptacles focused on what your company uses most.

If your company runs through a lot of printer cartridges, then you can start recycling printer cartridges. Next, if your employees use a lot of aluminum cans, then you can start recycling cans. Another great idea is to try a reusable soda maker to reduce waste in the first place.

Place Recycling Bins Where They’re Needed

Recycling bins can be placed in the places that employees need them most. Recycling bins for aluminum cans can be placed in the break room and next to vending machines. Paper receptacles can go next to copiers and desk areas.

The key is to make recycling as easy as it can be for all your employees. In many offices, it may be convenient to even place recycling bins next to every garbage bin. Just make sure employees can easily distinguish recycling receptacles from regular trash receptacles to avoid confusion.

Get Employees Involved

A successful small business recycling program requires employee cooperation. If you have any employees who are passionate about the environment, they can help inspire their colleagues and even help plan the program.

Some employees may not have much interest in participating in the recycling program, but in this case, they may just need some encouragement. Consider offering department rewards for successful recycling habits.

Show Your Employees You  Appreciate Their Help

Show your employees recognition for their help in making the program successful. There are many ways to do this, from recognizing standout employees in a company newsletter to creating bonuses or regular awards.

One of the best ways to inspire your employees is to try and quantify the amount of trash you’ve successfully diverted due to your recycling program. You can share this with your employees as well as through your company newsletter and social media.


There is no better way for your small business to help the environment than starting a recycling program. If your business is just getting started recycling, then begin small and grow with time. This can give your employees time to adjust and learn to do their part in protecting our planet too.

Contact Us

For more information on business recycling or to schedule recycling pickup for your business, call us at 781-399-4808 or connect with us on Facebook.