Binning Responsibility: Green Initiatives in the Workplace


Waste recycling is an important part of environmental preservation. The United Kingdom alone generated 222.9 million tonnes of waste, recyclable and non-recyclable, in 2016 and recycled or recovered nearly half of it in the same year. Of this waste, 41.1 million tonnes were of commercial and industrial origin.

England, in particular, accounted for 31.1 million tonnes or about 80 percent of C&I waste in the UK. in 2016. Many offices and corporate entities are creating recycling programs to contribute to the efforts to reduce the amount of waste generated by their businesses. Among the most common initiatives employed are:

Three Bin System

Japanese manufacturers created the Kanban or three bin system to regulate the manufacturing and inventory system across the supply chain. The waste version of the three bin system is applicable for households, schools, and workplaces.

Implemented in Australia and Canada, the three bin system presupposes three categories of waste: trash, recyclables, and “for composting”. The recyclable bin contains glass and aluminum items, paper and cardboard, rigid plastics, and stiff cartons. Composting or organic bins contain food scraps, anything of organic origin, and paper towels. The waste bin is for everything else—styrofoam, broken glassware, clothing, nappies, and soft plastics.

Batteries, appliances, light fixtures, hot ashes, chemicals and liquids of a similar ilk, human waste, medical waste, and a host of other items must be disposed of in a different way.

Skip Bins

Skip bins are massive, rectangular trash receptacles used by businesses or apartment blocks to contain large amounts of trash until they are collected by lorries. “Green” businesses hire skip bins or waste skips to consolidate all of their waste in a single place and reduce the number of times their garbage is collected.

Waste skips for hire are normally hired by worksites that produce a high amount of garbage. Construction sites normally have a number of waste skips at their job site and may employ a large scale version of the three bin system with these skips.

Recycling Program and Composting

Community vegetable garden boxes

Most large-scale businesses in the world have a standard recycling program. A few of them go beyond and create composting initiatives to take care of the biodegradable waste their offices produce. All are powered and managed by volunteers or assigned employees who feel the need to contribute to their workplace’s green initiatives.

The most basic of recycling programs aim to use the highly recyclable waste produced in most corporate settings. Paper, used electronic equipment, ink cartridges, and other materials are segregated and sent to specific waste recycling plants or companies with electronics recycling programs. Unusual items are sent off to the appropriate facilities.

Organic wastes such as food byproducts are incorporated into vermicomposting programs. Though highly unusual and unthinkable in some countries, proactive businesses that aren’t afraid to get dirty take organic waste, such as coffee grounds, and feed it into special bins that nurse earthworms. Worm-rich soil is then used to grow a variety of greens, such as organic herbs and fruits.

Businesses typically adopt a number of these practices as part of their corporate social responsibility programs. Successful models are recognized by green bodies that advocate for commercial and industrial ecological responsibility. Eco-conscious employees are pushing for any sort of green initiative in their workplace—and most companies are happy to support.

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