There’s a growing trend among big businesses. You can see it in commercial offices, educational institutions, and even government buildings. More and more, businesses are realising the benefits of switching from individual desk side bins, to centralised bins.
On the surface, individual desk side bins may look more convenient. After all, employees can toss their trash under their desk without putting a second thought to it.
But overall, the costs of desk-side bins outweigh the benefits. Instead, opt for centralised bins. Not only will the switch increase your recycling rates, it can also save your business money.Bin liners might seem cheap, but the costs can add up over time. With centralised bins, you use fewer bin liners. This can save your business about 50% of your yearly cleaning costs.
Take a look at the table to the left. These figures are based on a company that has 100 employees, and 250 working days in a year. In the individual desk bins column, each employee has 2 bins: one for recycling, and one for waste.When your workspace uses centralised bins, your custodial staff doesn’t have to go desk to desk to collect waste. That means rubbish can be disposed of quickly, and more efficiently. It’s the difference between emptying 100 individual desk bins, versus 20 centralised bins. This can easily save up to 50-60% of cleaners’ time. That’s time they can spend focusing on their other duties, leading to a cleaner and more pleasant work environment.Centralised bins don’t just help businesses waste less, they can also help you recycle more. The recyclable material collected from centralised bins even tends to have less contamination.
Centralised bins have a psychological effect on recycling behaviour. They encourage people to think about their waste, instead of just casually throwing it into the nearest bin. When collection bins are clearly marked, sorting materials is easy. This can help people realise that many of the things that they throw away are actually valuable recyclable materials. And when everyone takes responsibility for sorting their own trash, needless waste contamination can be avoided.
Many businesses have found that, within just a month of moving to centralised bins, they are already seeing improved recycling rates and reduced recycling contamination.At Google’s London office, employees don’t get individual desk bins. Instead, all waste is collected at a centralised recycling station. There, employees can sort out their garbage and recyclables. By making the switch to centralised bins, Google’s London office gained a 50% rise in recycling rates. In fact, the program was so successful that other Google offices — including the one in Santa Monica, CA — picked up on the idea.In 2013, Etsy removed all individual bins from employee desks in their Brooklyn headquarters. From then on, employees were expected to dispose of their trash at central collection points with containers for composting, recycling, and landfill.
At first, the initiative was met with backlash from employees. However, the program decreased Etsy’s waste costs by 18%. It also increased compost and recycling rates by 300% and 20% respectively.
Not only did it improve Etsy’s waste management, employees also reported that the program had a positive effect on their interactions with each other.Harvard University also made the switch to a centralised waste station. They eliminated all individual trash cans on campus, in favour of one central waste station. There, students and staff members can segregate their waste into containers for recycling, compost, and trash.
In just the first year of the program’s launch, Harvard saved almost USD21,000. They also found that the program encouraged people to be more conscious about how they handle trash.The Ontario Provincial government implemented a waste reduction initiative under their Max Green program. Buildings that participated in the program were required to cancel individual waste pick up. Employees were then made responsible for emptying their own trash into centralised waste collection stations. The result? The program was able to reach a 50% reduction of waste well before the expected five years. In fact, buildings that participated in the program were able to reduce 75-95% of their waste. This saved nearly $1 million in yearly waste disposal costs.
One building in Toronto found that, on a floor with 100 tenants, centralised binds saved custodial workers so much time that the business was able to save an estimated $50 per employee in custodial costs. This means that a business of 100 people can save $5000 a year just by using centralised bins.Throwing out the trash should be easy and convenient. Consider setting up your centralised bins in high-traffic areas. Think of places like the break room, or the kitchen.
You will also want to make sure your recycling and trash bins are next to each other. This helps enforce the idea that trash should be segregated. This, in turn, reduces contamination of recyclable materials.Label each container clearly so your employees know which materials go into which bin. It’s also a good idea to use the label to provide common examples of what should go in the bin. For example, the sign for the “plastics” bin can list plastic cups and water bottles as examples. You might also want to colour code the bins themselves, so people can quickly differentiate the bins with one look.Once you have your centralised bins set up, it’s time to make an announcement to your staff. Send a memo out to the whole workplace. In it, you should explain the following:
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from switching to centralised bins. Not only can switching to centralised bins improve your recycling rates, it can even save your business money.
If you’re interested in making the switch, Whistle Clean Australia can help with the design and implementation of your new centralised bin system.
If you have any friends, family, or associates who are looking for commercial or office cleaning, we would be delighted to assist them. We are passionate about helping businesses stay clean and healthy, so please pass on our details. Or alternatively, please provide us with their details and we will contact them directly.
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