Corporations play a leading role in implementing more sustainable practises in South Africa. It requires staff participation at all levels and by practically involving more people there is hope for a shift towards a sustainable South Africa.
What would be one of the first steps to take when becoming a more sustainable office?
Green Times was recently invited to attend Postwink’s “Office Recycling made Easy” workshop.
Simple steps to office recycling
Berenice Westmore, founder of Postwink Recycling Solutions, offers a simple method to green your office starting with something visible, like waste. Postwink has successfully set up over 450 recycling initiatives in different organizations. Berenice hoped that the recycling workshop would “set [us] up with tools for greater recycling success, how to communicate more effectively and how to be more impactful.”
Here are some steps that she suggested:
- “What makes a good plan?” she asked. A clear vision is necessary, such as zero waste to landfill, which may vary between companies.
- Source great proposals from waste management companies and pick one to suit your needs best e.g. type of waste, collection schedule and location.
- Someone, or a team, should be elected to be accountable for the initiative to really measure how successful the project is.
- It is important to keep track of these figures to ensure that the project is working, so ask waste management to keep track of how much of your waste is recycled, and what is still going to landfill.
- Decide how you will launch the initiative in a way that gets every person in the office excited and involved. (Incorporate competitions and rewards).
- Research recycling and educate yourself by using brochures, newsletters and Google.
- Establish where your waste statistics are currently sitting. How much of it is paper, food or plastic? The answers will inform you what kind of waste your company produces most and what can be reduced or recycled.
- Track changes in your waste over a period of time. There are many competitions rewarding effective waste management so explore possible contests in your area. This will help motivate the office and encourage teamwork.
- Communication is key! Getting everyone in the office excited is challenging. Many employees are focused on work and sideline sustainable responsibility. “Educate your team by saying why recycling is important to them,” advised Berenice. They will act upon it once they make recycling their own. People higher in the office should lead by example. If a certain department is doing well in the corporation publicize the success!
- Invest in green for the long term. “How can you green your calendar?” Berenice suggests celebrating environmental days to increase awareness around the office. “It is important to integrate the recycling culture.”If you want, you can start bringing green to you office parties, your culture and performance reviewing.
- Do not procrastinate. There are many sceptics who turn a blind eye to our looming waste problem. “It’s not our thing,” is a common remark amongst some sceptics. “
“Our current lifestyle is not conducive to a healthy planet for future generations,” Berenice closes. Start acting now.
Read more about Postwink’s work at www.postwink.co.za or call Berenice on 079 491 7615 or mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Soninke Combrinck