Aluminum is resilient and resists corrosion. In fact, aluminum takes about 400 years to break down naturally. When you consider that Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild each commercial airplane in the United States every three months, you begin to realize the enormity of the problem when people choose not to recycle their aluminum cans. In 2004, enough aluminum was recycled in the United States to build 13 aircraft carriers.
With these statistics in mind, recycling cans is not only good for the environment, it's good for the nation's economy. Here are a few fun ways to get your employees involved in recycling cans.
Conducting a Waste Audit
Contract with a local aluminum can recycling pick up service, such as Weidle G F Sanitation. In order to see the progress of your employees' recycling attempts, have the recycling company conduct an audit of your current waste situation. They will remove the garbage from your facility, analyze the contents of the garbage, and weigh the different types of trash while making annotations in a report.
You will then receive an analysis of the garbage and how much of it could've been recycled. Doing this will give you a clear understanding of the results of your employees' recycling efforts when subsequent audits are done for comparison. Depending on the size of your facility and how many employees you have, this can be done monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.
Placing the Recycling Receptacles
Give your employees the ability to easily recycle their aluminum cans by placing the recycling receptacles in strategic and easy to use locations, such as beside the doorway of the break room and at each entrance to the building. This is particularly important if the environment in your facility is quite busy as it helps prevent an employee from absentmindedly tossing aluminum cans into the regular garbage bins.
Also, clearly mark which receptacles are designated for recycling aluminum cans and place them directly beside regular trash receptacles. If you have employees who are bilingual or who English is not their natural language, label the bins with pictures of cans rather than with words. If you will recycle other materials, such as newspapers and bottles, clearly mark each receptacle and never switch them around from their placed positions.
Giving Your Employees Incentives
Sometimes, a little incentivized competition among employees is enough to make the employees want to recycle more than asking them to recycle. Rewards for the top recycling amount, determined by future audits, can include an office party, an afternoon off, or a donation to their chosen charity. Split your employees up into groups and have the groups compete for the reward. This can be done by department or by floor, depending on the layout of your facility.
Giving your employees an incentive to recycle may bring out some innovative suggestions and recommendations as they share ideas with their teammates. By bringing your employees together and fostering an innovative environment, your business may benefit in more ways than just recycling, particularly if communication skills are lacking in particular groups.
Keeping It Going
After some time, your employees may lose their interest in recycling aluminum cans. Fortunately, you'll be able to tell from the waste audit whether or not the interest to recycle is continuing or has relaxed a bit. If you find a reduction in the amount of recycling, it may be time to reconsider the incentives you offer.
Should this happen, hold a meeting with your employees and, perhaps, they will give you some suggestions on how to improve the business's recycling efforts and what types of incentives will give them a boost to recycle more than they were before.