4 Recycling Policy Updates Just in Time for Spring Cleaning

By updating your recycling policy to include proper e-waste disposal and eco-friendly product choices, you can protect the earth and your bottom line.

Building your business, Recycle

Springtime is a great opportunity to take a look at your business's recycling policy to see just how green your company really is. Having an effective green policy is a win?win; it's good for both the environment and your bottom line. Whether you have an existing recycling policy or you want to implement one, these four tips will help you create an easy and lasting program.

1. Responsibly Rid Your Space of E-Waste

Recycling e-waste (all electronics) is one of the most important aspects of a company's green policy. E-waste that is improperly disposed of in a landfill will leach harmful toxins into the environment.

Electronics contain dozens of valuable and recyclable materials like gold, copper, mercury and lead, which can be recovered to use in new products. When spring cleaning your office, ensure that all e-waste is separated and brought to a local e-waste recycling facility. This includes computers, monitors and anything with electrical circuitry. Depending on the county, some of these facilities will even pay you per pound for your e-waste. Staples also provides a free recycling program for businesses that takes any electronic waste, regardless of where it was purchased. In fact, in 2015 Staples collected 26.5 million pounds of e-waste from across the globe.

2. Collect and Recycle Used Batteries

Unfortunately, used batteries often either get tossed in the garbage or hoarded in a drawer somewhere until someone figures out what to do with them. Luckily, there are many easy options to recycle batteries. Many local municipalities offer programs that supply residents and business owners with plastic bags to collect used batteries. When the bags are full, residents can bring their used batteries to a recycling center. Call2Recycle also provides a searchable directory of local recyling centers and drop-off locations for rechargeable batteries.

3. Keep Light Bulbs out of Landfills

Many businesses have no idea what to do with used light bulbs. Just like batteries, they tend to be hoarded in a corner of the office until someone figures out how to safely get rid of them.

Properly disposing of light bulbs like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) is very important because of the mercury content inside the bulbs. Tossing these in the garbage creates unnecessary waste, and will result in the mercury leaching into the environment. Almost every part of a light bulb is recyclable, including the glass and metal.

Although federal law has not yet banned improper disposal, several states have specific laws that require the recycling of mercury-containing light bulbs. To find a local CFL disposal center in your area, visit www.search.earth911.com.

4. Buy Recycled Office Products

Recycling hazardous waste is a major step towards building a green company. The next step is to buy recycled office products when you're restocking your shelves after spring cleaning. For example, purchasing recycled printer paper helps conserve natural resources such as timber and the energy needed to extract it. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are over 4,500 recycled content products available in the United States, ranging from steel to cardboard to plastic.

With plenty of resources available to direct you to the proper disposal locations, improving your company's recycling policy is simpler than you might expect. It just takes a small effort and a little time to go green.