As COVID-19 spread around the world, many sustainability initiatives that were helping to improve the earth for the long-term were put on the back burner. Things like recycling and conservation took a backseat to disinfection and improving IAQ.
It made sense.
But we are now eight months into the pandemic and in honor of America Recycles Day on November 15, sustainability initiatives should once again move to the forefront of business strategies and employees’ minds.
During these last eight months, a lot of consumption has moved from the workplace, where millions of people would spend eight hours or more a day, to the home.
Millions of employees are working full-time from a home office during COVID-19, and others are splitting their time between the office and home. Even employees that have to report to a facility for work are taking steps to self-quarantine during their off hours in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.
The world has changed, but the importance of recycling has not.
Recycling prevents valuable materials from going to waste and adds significant value to the nation’s economy as a whole. There are new opportunities that come every day to add more economic and environmental value. In a recycling success story, one corporation recorded 99% of its waste was recycled and avoided the landfill.
A simple way of increasing the total economic value of recycling is by expanding the quantity and quality of material collected and recycled.
Unlike other green initiatives, recycling is much more visible and takes the participation of many, which is why it is an important service and helps increase environmental awareness.
Recycling has produced substantial benefits, and by increasing or improving recycling opportunities, especially in areas where it is under- or inefficiently utilized, can produce even more benefits.
Luckily, your employees may already be recycling within their homes and sorting their own trash to help reduce their household’s carbon footprint. However, you may have employees who want to recycle but community programs aren’t set up in their area. Despite their situation, both may want to make recycling a big initiative in their home to build a better future for generations to come.
Here are some ways you can encourage your employees to continue their recycling initiatives even if they are not coming into the facility every day.
Set up a virtual competition with employees
The gamification of regular, routine things can make it more fun for employees and increase the number of participants and the hours of participation.
Creating a virtual competition can be fun and get a lot of employees involved. The competition can be on a single renewable resource, or all recyclables. It can be based on time, weight or a raffle based on participation points.
It may encourage employees to get their entire household working towards a goal and smaller groups or teams may create their own competition between one another. Sometimes the best part of a competition is watching how it unfolds.
Challenge employees to a virtual community cleanup
Get employees excited about cleaning up their community. In the current COVID-19 world, you won’t want employees to gather to clean up an area but asking for volunteers to clean up their own community is productive.
You can supply gloves and bags or ask the volunteers to use their personal items and walk around their neighborhood and pick up recyclables. It seems that especially on trash day, there is a lot of refuse that is left behind. Employees can volunteer to walk around their community and help clean up by collecting recyclable material from the street and sidewalk.
To provide additional support, the company can allow employees to complete the challenge during scheduled working hours or provide certificates for free lunch delivery.
Then give your employees a virtual space to talk about what they experienced and share their stories.
Let employees drop off recycling at the facility
Allow employees to sign up for staggered drop off times for recyclables. Local cities and communities may not have the same supportive recycling programs as others. Some individuals may find it hard to recycle even if they want to help make a difference.
By offering access to the corporate recycling bins, employees can easily stop at the facility and drop off their recyclables when it’s convenient for them.
Ask your teams for innovative ideas
If you want to create your own innovative program, go straight to you employees, and ask what they would like. It is the best way to find great ideas and ensure employee involvement.
Getting employees engaged during these current circumstances is not easy. However, promoting a good cause like recycling may help improve employee engagement and wellness. It can also have substantial benefits for the environment and the economy.
Use tips for setting up a work recycling program to help start a conversation with employees. Record their feedback and implement adjusted processes to sustain a successful program both inside your facility and virtually.
Promote knowledge, cultivate new ideas and encourage employee engagement.
These are challenging times but Flagship's customizable approach to your facility's needs will help you protect employees and your assets now and into the future.