By Mark Slimmer, Director, Village Café, 1/138 Collins Avenue, Edge Hill
Hopefully you have made the move to commence recycling in your business. If so, you can probably expect some teething problems in the early stages, all of which should be straight forward to solve. Some common issues that arise in the early stages of separating your recycling waste are 1) Wrong items in bins, 2) contaminated recycled waste and 3) overflowing bins. Here are some suggestions to address each of these:
Kind regards, Mark
- Wrong items in Bins. Staff education is one of the most important areas to ensuring your waste recycling effort is successful. You have to ensure all staff clearly understand the importance you place on your recycling effort, the specific items you want recycled and how and where to dispose of them. Make sure your system of waste separation is easy to understand and easy to adhere to. Some places use separate labelled bins and some use labelled colour coded bins to assist with correct separation. It may be necessary to empower a staff member to be the driver for your recycling process, ensuring ongoing checking of waste processes and education/reiteration with staff. Choose a person who is interested in caring for the environment and perhaps an avid recycler at home.
- Contaminated recycled waste. This is a high focus area in the recycling world at the moment. Aside from the wrong items being in the wrong waste stream, contamination can be food or liquids that are left in containers. Ensure that items that are being recycled are emptied and rinsed prior to being placed in your recycle bins. This will assist in ensuring your effort is not wasted and the items rejected and sent to land fill. It will also assist in reducing insects and animals being attracted to your recycle waste. As in point one, having a dedicated person to drive your recycle effort will assist your success in this area.
- Overflowing bins. There are a few areas you need to look at if this is occurring with your recycled waste. The obvious ones are number and size of bins and the frequency of pick ups. It will take a few weeks into your recycling program before you get a good idea of the volumes you are producing of each waste streams so you can adjust bin numbers, bin size and frequency of pick ups. One not so obvious is how the waste is packed into the bins. Make sure all cardboard boxes are properly flattened and plastic bottles are crushed. If you do this right you can get possibly upwards of 20% more into a bin.