Sustainability 101

New Nationwide Study Reveals What Works in Workplace Recycling

Photo:  Keep America Beautiful
Photo: Keep America Beautiful

A new Keep America Beautiful study produced in partnership with Great Forest, Action Research, and CBRE, and made possible by PepsiCo Recycling, helps to define some best practices for workplace recycling.

Great Forest assisted with the waste audits for the study, provided typical office building waste profile data, and helped to confirm some of the findings.

The study recommends several effective bin placements, including a “little trash” scenario in which a small desk side recycling bin is paired with a little trash bin. During the study, the “little trash” scenario, achieved a 20 percent increase in office recycling, while paper in the trash bin was reduced to almost zero.

“This study defines some good baseline and common-sense approaches to recycling that can be applied widely,” says Great Forest COO Amy Marpman.

“When we design and implement recycling programs at offices and buildings around the country, we have to take into account that different workplaces may have different needs, layouts and restrictions, and that results can also be affected by corporate culture and issues like regional recycling capacity.  So we are always searching for the best fit and this study helps. The insights are very valuable.”

Great Forest has used variations in bin sizes and locations to improve corporate recycling programs.  In this case study, we show how changes in bin placement and bin size can produce big results with composting.

Research like this is key to improving recycling in the workplace, which, according to a national poll, is lagging behind recycling at home (87 percent of poll respondents indicated that they typically recycle in their home, but only 41 percent indicated they do so in the workplace).

This research throws more light on the different ways recycling programs can be implemented to maximize results.  Great Forest looks forward to more “Recycling at Work” research.

Learn more and read the Fact Sheet:  Effective Bin Placement in the Workplace.

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