The man who took our bins away

Creating the bin less office

I recently facilitated a course for FMs and afterwards we got involved in a fascinating conversation about the realities of creating a bin less office. One FM had just started trialling the removal of all office bins and introducing ‘central recycling stations’ which in his own words was creating ‘anarchy’. He asked the group what they’d tried to help convince colleagues to go this way. Here’s the top tips offered by the rest of the group:

1. Communicate, Communicate and Communicate, it’s essential if the project is to succeed. Promote the reasons you are doing it, and use as many methods as possible, e.g. email, articles in the company newsletter, posters on notice boards, etc.

2. Get senior management buy-in and make sure they understand what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, are advocates for the project and above-all set a good example.

3. Provide real facts such as landfill taxes, corporate responsibility, environmental benefits, etc. If you contact the recycling companies, most will be happy to send you posters and information/facts that will support your campaign.

4. Put posters above each bin giving examples of what packaging and products go into the different bins, e.g. plastic food cartons, cans, paper. Even consider colour coding them to match the bins. Expect that even the most intelligent of people will take time working out what should go where!

5. Some staff may protest by leaving their rubbish on their desks for the cleaners to pick up. One way around that is to inform the cleaners not to remove any such rubbish and people will soon get the message. Another is to provide small ‘personal desk-top recycling boxes’. They’re only for paper and it’s the responsibility of the staff to empty the contents into the main recycling point each day, but it helps with goodwill. They cost between £2-4 each.

6. Display recycling results for your building and/or business on notice boards or include them in your newsletter to help people see that the project has a purpose and show that it is being closely monitored.

7. Expect mayhem, at least for a while and some people may treat you like you’ve stolen their right arm and done it just for fun. But time is a healer and with this one, people will just have to accept it and get used to it.

8. Communicate, Communicate and Communicate. Did I say that already? Well it can’t be stressed enough. It’s the key to making it all work.

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