Resources for Businesses
Recycling and Waste Reduction should be an inherent part of ANY business.
Whether you work at a retail store, a hotel, a restaurant, an office, or a school, you can incorporate sustainability and waste reduction into your workplace. Use our helpful suggestions below to guide your workplace towards a more sustainable future.
- Find a Hauler or Drop-off Center
- Bins and Location
- Hazardous Waste
- Recycled Products
- Use Less, Buy Less
- Train Your Staff
- Consider the Costs
- Brag About It
- Keep it Positive
Haulers and Drop-off Centers
Before you do anything, you have to decide where your recycled material is going and how it’s going to get there.
Hire a Hauler
Haulers collect, transport and unload materials (garbage or recyclables). Some haulers transport only recyclables, while others do both. While sorting often alleviates food contamination issues, some haulers are able to provide ‘co-mingled’ programs. Recycle Utah has created a list to the best of our knowledge of all commercial haulers and drop-off centers in Summit and Wasatch Counties. Recycle Utah does not endorse any particular hauler.
1. Ace Disposal
(Based in West Valley, 200 employees, hauls Recycle & Trash mostly in Utah. Accepts most materials and will co-mingle)
2. Curb It Recycling
(Small business based in Heber, hauls Recycle only in Summit and Wasatch counties & SLC. Accepts most materials and will co-mingle)
3. Dunn Recycling
(Based in Heber, 15 & 30 yd dumpsters for construction sites, but mostly a drop-off center for plastics, paper, metals, wood, cardboard, concrete/asphalt)
4. Good Earth Recycling
(Based in Park City, three employees, hauls Recycle only in Summit County. Accepts most materials and requires separation)
5. Republic Recycling (formerly Allied Waste)
(Based in U.S, 30,000 employees, hauls Recycle & Trash in U.S. & Puerto Rico. Accepts most materials and will co-mingle)
6. Recycle Services of Utah
(Based in Heber, three employees, hauls residential in Wasatch County only. Accepts most materials and will co-mingle)
Drop it Off
You can also drop off materials at Recycle Utah’s recycling center in Park City. While we offer our services free of charge, this option will require more training and man-hours on behalf of your staff. You will also have to have a way to get the materials to us. Recycle Utah DOES NOT pick up recyclables.
We expect that every business who uses our center will understand and abide by our sorting system.
Please also remember that we are a non-profit, and that we survive on donations for our services. If your business is using our center, consider becoming a Bin Sponsor.
Please see our list of accepted materials, and call us for more information: 435-649-9698.
Bins and Location
- In order to have a successful recycling set-up, you have to make it visible and accessible. Establish a consistent and well-marked recycling center within your workplace. If there isn’t an obvious place to recycle, people aren’t likely to do it.
- Place clearly marked bins in visible places. Depending on your work environment, this might mean small bins under every desk, bins in every conference room, or a collection of bins in one centralized location.
- If you deal with the public, do you want bins available to them, or are they just for the staff to see and use? If you want the public to recycle in your establishment, place bins near the door or in a highly visible area. Or, make it known that you recycle and offer to take a customer’s cup, bag, etc.
- Do you want to have separate bins for each material, or one co-mingled bin that gets sorted later? Keep in mind that most pick-up services require that the material is sorted. Recycle Utah also requires sorting at the drop-off center. While it is easier and space-efficient to use one co-mingled bin, it will likely require one or more staff members to sort it on a regular basis.
Build-A-Bin is now available for the Waste Watcher Series. Submit your customized Waste Watcher Station for your chance to win $250 towards your next purchase!
Hazardous Waste is Toxic. Deal With It! Establish a policy for treatment of hazardous materials.
Many common office items are considered hazardous and should never, ever be thrown away. Recycle Utah offers collections for some of these hazardous materials for residents, not for businesses.
Please recognize that businesses are required by law to use a collection agency for haz-mat disposal. Know, too, that anything that gets thrown out in your workplace will eventually work it’s way into the water supply, causing harm to local wildlife and the people that consume that water. You have a responsiblity to properly dispose of any hazardous material your business uses.
Here are some common office materials that are hazardous:
- Fluorescent Lights (including CFLs)
- Printer and Toner Cartridges
- Every single electronic device
- Items containing mercury (thermostats, switches, etc)
Recycle Utah can accept these materials from residents. We cannot accept paints or chemicals of any kind from anyone. There is a fee for disposal of electronic waste.
Buy Recycled Products
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Buy Recycled Materials
Many everyday items can now be purchased with recycled content. Whether it’s office paper, card stock, toilet tissue, paper bags, or to-go containers, there’s always a recycled option. Products made from recycled materials require less energy and water to make than those made of virgin materials.
Ask your supplier if they carry recycled products. If they don’t, find one that does. Here’s a few good places to start:
Similarly, buy materials that can be recycled, or at the very least, will break down in the landfill.
What’s the point of recycling in your business if you are giving away or selling materials that aren’t recyclable?
Restaurants must use recyclable or compostable take-out boxes and hot cups. Styrofoam is not recyclable. It does not break down in a landfill. There’s no excuse.
Whenever possible, don’t give your customers something they will likely throw away, such as plastic cutlery, paper cups, or excess packaging like plastic bags.
You can take it one step further and incorporate this philosophy into the decor of your work place, from cork flooring and refurbished wood to second-hand furniture.
The bottome line: There’s more to recycling than throwing it in the bin. Buy it back.
Use Less, Buy Less
The less you use, the less you spend, the less you waste.
Look for ways you and your workplace can cut down on waste:
- Buy or stock products that come with as little packaging as possible. If you must use or sell a product that comes with excess packaging, talk to the creator and request a better solution. (A box inside of a box, or a bag inside of a box inside of a bag would be conisdered excess.)
- If you print anything, do it double sided. Most modern printers have the capability to do this.
- Use the printer settings that use the least amount of ink.
- Ask your customers if they want a bag, don’t just give it to them. Even better, ask if they brought their own first, then ask if they want one. If it is percieved as normal to have your own bag, this can help change others’ behavior.
- In retail or coffee shops, offer to recycle packaging or place very conspicuous recycling bins in your establishment. This can be very appealing to tourists who may not wish to carry around extra boxes or bags, and who are also not likely to have access to recycling facilities.
- Do as much electronically as you can: banking, emailing, electronic filing, telecommuniting, etc. We live in a digital world.
- For hotels and condos, assess your consumption of mini bath products. What gets used and what gets left? Are all of those products necessary? Perhaps encourage patrons to use only what they need by handing them out on request. At the very least, you can recycle excess soap and shampoo bottles with the following organizations: Clean the World and Global Soap Project.
Cut your waste by 1/3 with composting. Organic materials make up at least 30% of the garbage in our landfills. This is a huge source of valuable nutrients that is simply being wasted. All that compost requires is space and time.
- Set up a large bin at your home if there isn’t room at your office. Collect fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds, etc in a smaller container that you empty once a week.
- If you have a high volume of food, consider investing in a larger, on-sight composting system.
- Partner with a local farm that may want your raw materials, or look into the various commercial compost companies that may want your raw materials. Ecoscraps is one example.
- While it may not make financial sense to invest in a composting system or storage by yourself, by teaming up with other restaurants, businesses, and resorts around you, you can pool your resources and increase the draw for a commercial service.
- Encourage your local government to create municipal composting.
To find out more about composting, visit our composting page. Please feel free to contact us with questions: 435-649-9698.
For info. on commercial composting in the area, contact:
Park City Compost, LLC, (435) 200-5730, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Train your Staff
Sustainability is a Team Effort
In order to make any efforts to recycle and cut down on waste effective, all employees need to know what to do, how to do it, and why. Don’t just assume everyone knows what to do. Show everyone where items go, how to sort if necessary, and say a few words about why your bothering to do it. If you’re initiating a new policy, make sure it’s clear and direct. If you’re ordering new sustainable products, show them off and explain how they’re different.
You might also conisder initiating a “green team” made up of staff members to help guide your sustainability quest. Rather than imposing a policy from the top down, this will include others in the process who may have valuable input. It can also create buy-in from your employees (or employers) and ultimately help change their behavior and habits.
It is absolutely necessary that everyone, including non-English speakers, are trained. If you have a bilingual staff, make sure that everyone understands the policies. Bring in a translator to do an in-house training if necessary, or set aside time to it yourself. Any efforts you make to be sustainable will be unproductive if others in the workplace are not participating.
Consider the Costs – Is going green sustainable for you business?
Many waste reduction programs will save you money in the long run. Less material and energy consumed = less money spent. But there are undoubtedly up-front and on-going costs associated with adopting some of these practices.
Before you start investing, consider what is reasonable for your business. What kind of changes can you commit to that your business can maintain? If you don’t have the ability to start all of the policies or practices you would like to, design a sustainability program to incoroporate them over time, as you have the time and money.
Go Ahead and Brag About It!
Don’t be shy about the efforts you are making to cut down on waste and your impact as a business.
You can be proud of the changes you are making to your business, and the changes your are making in your community. Businesses have a huge impact on waste and pollution in our world. Taking steps to decrease the impact of yours is commendable.
By showing off your green side, you are sending positive messages to your employees and your customers. It shows that you care about more than just your profits, even as a small business. It can also encourage your patrons and clients to do the same. Don’t ignore the power of branding. And know that many people in today’s world seek out businesses that make the extra effort.
- Advertise your efforts on your menu, or your hotel welcome packets, on your sign, in your bathroom…wherever people will see it. Tell them what you’re doing. Tell them why.
- Definitely advertise it on your website, facebook, twitter, pinterest, your email signature, and anywhere else you’re connected.
- If you have the means, advertise through radio, newspaper, or tv ads. Let people know what’s new in your business.
Don’t Be a Mean Green Machine
Thinking Earth isn’t second nature to everyone. Not every employee or customer is going to get it. Maybe they’ve never been told in an accessible way why it matters. Maybe they have and they feel it doesn’t apply to them. Maybe (gasp!) they just don’t care. Whatever the reason, you’re not going to reach them by making them feel bad or guilty about not bringing their own bag or recycling their to-go cup.
People respond to positive reinforcement better than to punishment. Don’t make people feel bad for their choices, make them feel good for making good choices. Help them learn and be patient. Behavior that results from guilt is not usually sustainable behavior, meaning it won’t last. Be firm in your convictions, but be kind to others who are still learning, and alas, accept that there may be those out there who are beyond help and let them go. Get the next one.