Northeast Paving, a contractor that produces asphalt, paves roads, and constructs roadways, is conscious about the way its offices separate recyclables and handle food waste.
Intent on maximizing waste diversion, Northeast Paving reached out to the RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks) hotline for assistance with recycling and food scraps collection at their Northfield office. RecyclingWorks staff observed the office’s current waste program, including waste bin placement and color-coding, educational signage, outdoor collection points, and more.
At the time of the RecyclingWorks site visit, waste collection bins were stored beneath the office’s kitchen sink. It may be instinctual to store discarded materials away from view, but this habit is more likely to lead to contamination in recycling streams. Together, Northeast Paving and RecyclingWorks staff evaluated possible locations for a new waste station, considering the kitchen, break rooms, and rest of the office space as options.
Following the assessment, RecyclingWorks shared recommendations with Northeast Paving that outlined potential improvements to the layout of their waste collection system, offered guidance on source separating different recyclable materials, and provided a host of practical resources. These resources included a Facilities Materials Management Plan that clearly presents recycling procedure by material, and a bin inventory spreadsheet that enables businesses to catalogue waste containers and signage throughout their facilities.
Northeast Paving established a new designated waste station just off the break room in their Northfield office. The waste station utilizes a three-bin system for food scraps, single stream recyclables, and trash. Centralizing and placing these bins side-by-side helps encourage positive recycling behaviors. To help facilitate proper material sorting, RecyclingWorks also provided customized signage that clearly displays what can be placed in each receptacle. Waste station signage is placed at eye-level above each bin.
Following the waste station setup, RecyclingWorks hosted a virtual lunch and learn for office staff to review recycling best practices that aligned with the new waste station setup. It was emphasized that real people handle our recyclables (and contamination by unwanted materials, which can pose a hazard) at recycling facilities. Businesses and institutions can request similar presentations by contacting RecyclingWorks, or learn about how materials are recycled on RecyclingWorks’ Materials Guidance webpage.
The Northeast Paving office is now better prepared to collect clean streams of recyclables and organics. Effective programs like this one help strengthen the recycling marketplace and avoid the negative environmental effects of disposal. Seeing recycling programs through to success as a team can also boost staff morale. The RecyclingWorks website has recycling guidance and case studies specific to office spaces. If you are ready to improve the recycling and/or food waste diversion programs at your business or institution, contact RecyclingWorks for assistance at (888) 254-5525 or firstname.lastname@example.org.