At my office, we have recycling containers all over the building. There are containers for plastic and aluminum in all of the food areas, and boxes for paper at everyone’s desk. We have a group of people that are on a sort of environmental team, with a focus of being green, and they have encouraged us to bring in phone books and put them in the recycling bins, as well.
There was a rumor a few years ago that the cleaning crew was taking the paper in the recycling bins at our desks and just throwing it in with the regular trash. Our facilities group was asked about this, and they said they would talk to the cleaning crew and make sure that didn’t happen anymore.
Recently, someone asked the facilities group if we recycle, and again mentioned hearing that the cleaning crew was throwing stuff in the recycle containers in with the regular trash.
According to Facilities, we are not currently recycling any materials, because of the cost factor involved. We got very little revenue from cardboard, and no revenue from aluminum or plastic recycling, but we were paying for dumpster rental and pickup. Because of this, we are not currently recycling, although they are “still looking for ways to make recycling happen.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand that this is a business, one currently trying to save money and cut costs so it doesn’t go bankrupt. But, correct me if I’m wrong, the point of recycling isn’t actually to turn a profit, it’s to be environmentally conscious. To “save the planet” and reduce our carbon footprint and all that.
My condo complex doesn’t have recycling bins. There a several reasons for this – there’s no room for an extra dumpster, the HOA board worries about the cleanup involved (people will overthrow trash into the normal dumpster and leave it, making someone else, usually a board member, clean it up), and the cost of the dumpster. It would obviously raise our HOA rates, which no one wants. I get that. Instead, I take my recycling to the center, which is less than a mile away, every couple of weeks. It’s not difficult, and I feel like I’m doing my part.
The difference between the HOA not wanting to pay for recycling and my place of business not wanting to pay for recycling is in the encouragement factor, even if silent. Why put bins out if you’re not going to recycle? Why encourage people to bring in phone books to recycle? If I had known the company didn’t recycle, I probably would have been taking my plastic bottles home to recycle. I think it’s a little disingenuous of them.
And how about this for an idea? How about someone takes it to a recycling center? Maybe they could get volunteers to take it a couple times a week. Even offer the person an extra half hour on their lunch break or after work to go and take it? Someone with a truck, who cares a smidgen about the environment. Heck, I’d even offer to take some to the recycling center, but I don’t know how much we actually go through in a week, and I don’t know how much I could hold in my car.