It seems like everyone is trying to be green these days.  Companies try to go paperless, they support green community efforts and most offices and workspaces have recycle bins at their desks and large blue commercial recycle bins sit outside most buildings.  Yet most workplaces we clean do not have a set recycling policy and most people do not use the blue boxes and bins that are available the way they should.

As professional cleaners and janitors we often find cardboard boxes filled with paper sitting under desks.  Are these cardboard boxes being used as recycle bins or are they simply storage space?  Unless clearly marked as recycle we will not empty them, and if we leave them alone they fill up and make the desk space and the office area look messy.

When blue bins are used they are used for everything.  We find paper, bottles, cartons and cans mixed together in one bin.   We don’t have time nor are we getting paid to separate them and everything goes into the blue commercial bin together.

Most staff kitchens and lounges have a recycle bin but almost always staff uses them exclusively for pop cans and bottles, everything else gets tossed into the garbage.

In today’s world almost everything comes in boxes, and cardboard is, by volume, one of the largest things we as professional cleaners have to deal with.

Most companies want to recycle and to stay green but unfortunately they often miss the mark because they assume that once they set blue bins under their desks they have done their due diligence and everything that needs to be done has been done.   The best way to ensure that as a company you are being environmentally friendly, following all the recycling guidelines and actually being as green as you can, with as little effort and workplace disruption is to put a hard fast policy on recycling in place and ensure that all your staff is aware of what is required.

In the staff area or other common area, set out a bin specifically for cardboard, as well as one for cans and bottles, and one for paper.

Ensure that large boxes are broken down, that way they will fit into the bin and you will not have a large pile of boxes that not only looks messy and disorganized but often gets in the way of staff.  It will save you money as well.  If your professional cleaning staff is forced to break down the cardboard to recycle it they are going to have you pay for the service.  Have someone designated to look after the cans and bottles.  Often they are kept and turned in for money to be put towards staff functions.  Unfortunately the bin is usually overflowing because no one is looking after returning them for a deposit.

Stop using cardboard boxes for recycling bins.  Get the blue boxes so that the cleaning professionals know what is recycle and what is not.  It will not only ensure that everything is recycled but your workspace will not seem so untidy.

These are little things, but if ignored they can make an office look untidy, messy and inefficient, not an impression you want to make with your customers or clients.  As well, going green is not only a good marketing strategy it is doing what is right and proper for our environment.  To do it properly and effectively takes only a few moments each day and will help create a safe healthy environment in and out of the workplace.