“What is America Recycles Day?” you may be wondering. It is a day – November 15th – designated by Keep America Beautiful to promote recycling nationwide. Besides reminding us to recycle and why we should recycle, we can use it as a reminder to review our recycling efforts each year and make adjustments for improvement. Here are ideas to help you do that.
Take a moment to think about the recycling you already have in place. You probably recycle corrugated cardboard boxes, office paper via HIPA shredding service, lightbulbs, electronics and maybe a few other items. You may even recycle pallets and metal from construction projects or discontinued equipment. But is there more you could be recycling? You bet! Many communities now have single stream (or zero sort) recycling that allows you to put many types of material together into one container. If your primary recycling program is corrugated cardboard and HIPA shredded documents, then single stream recycling can be a great addition. With it you can recycle bottles, cans and plastic containers as well as paper that does not need to be shredded for HIPA, potentially reducing shredding costs. Ask your recycling service providers about options to make sure you are recycling all types of material allowed in the programs available to you. They may also have ideas to help you recycle more.
A simple way to assess your recycling is to walk through your facility and peer in the wastebaskets and recycling receptacles. (It’s fresh trash, so it won’t be too gross!) Do you see recyclable items in the trash? Is there trash in the recycling? Are recycling containers lacking in places where they could be used? Even exam rooms have recyclable packaging. Many supplies come in paperboard packaging that is accepted in paper and single stream recycling programs. White plastic pharmaceutical bottles and similar plastic containers can be recycled in single stream programs when they are empty and dry. An investment in additional recycling containers for exam rooms or convenient, central locations may pay off through waste reduction benefits.
Finally, do not forget the human factor. Check to make sure recycling containers are labelled well and located near trash containers so they are just as convenient to use as trash bins. If you found common items being discarded that could be recycled, be sure to communicate this with staff who may not be aware those items can be recycled. This can be done through signage, employee newsletters or department meetings for example. If you want ideas for fun games and rewards to encourage staff even further, take a look at the America Recycles Day resources.
The Healthcare Hub keeps recycling in mind when we source items to help you meet your recycling goals. Contact us if you have questions.