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Eco-Office

Working out a recycling program for your company isn't as hard as you'd think.

It's a universal problem: dealing with the mountains of paper your office produces every week. Granted, it takes time to implement an effective recycling program--but think about it: You can reduce waste-disposal costs and eliminate the guilt that comes with wasting dead trees (not to mention the environmental benefits).

Lorrie Ostlind, who fought hard for a recycling program as property manager for Parkside Towers, an office building in Salt Lake City, offers these tree-friendly program tips:

  • Conduct a trash audit. Determine which materials will be thrown away and which will be recycled, so you can properly design your program.
  • Contact several recycling companies. Find out what services they offer and how much (if anything) they cost. Find out what sort of containers the company provides and how they handle pickups. Ostlind also recommends visiting the particular recycling company's site to ensure they are recycling materials and not just dumping them in a landfill.
  • Introduce the program to employees. Ostlind recommends providing information on the importance of recycling and giving clear instructions about how the program works. Don't forget to establish a system for keeping the recycle bins free of trash.
  • Start simple. Begin with paper, the easiest product for an office to recycle, and then move on to other discarded items, such as cardboard.
  • Keep tabs on what you've saved. Your recycling company should be able to help you track the amount of natural resources your efforts have preserved. Make sure to share these figures with your employees. Says Ostlind, "Knowing [they]'re making a difference is enough for most people to cooperate with the program."

Jacquelyn Lynn left the corporate world more than 13 years ago and has been writing about business and management from her home office in Winter Park, Florida, ever since.

Contact Sources

Parkside Towers, (801) 350-0215

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This article was originally published in the March 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Eco-Office.

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