Six Companies That Help Make Recycling Easier

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In some respects, waste is immeasurable—it touches every aspect of your business, from the scrap paper that fills your waste bins to the fuel you use for business travel.

And while we know that that aiming for zero waste is a fast, cheap and effective strategy for combating climate change, its not always easy to do. You can’t find the resources, it involves trips here and there, its expensive. There are all sorts of obstacles. However, these six companies (some are actually non-profit organizations and government agencies) make recycling easy.

1. Earth911.org is an excellent site with good recycling information.  Their recycling search tool makes it easy to locate waste collectors and drop-off sites.  It covers resources for paper, metal, hazardous waste, plastic, glass, electronics, automotive, household, garden, and construction waste. Two of my favorite resources are: 1) a great list of manufacturer and retail take-back e-waste programs and 2) an awesome free widget for your website that can not only give your customers access to the world’s largest database of over 100,000 recycling locations, but can pre-populate recyclable materials search to fit your readers. For example, a blog focused on car care can auto-populate the widget to search for locations that accept used motor oil or car batteries.

2. LampRecycling.com is a new online resource for facilities that need a simple and cost-effective way to recycle their fluorescent bulbs, CFLs, batteries, ballasts, and electronic waste. These guys make it super easy to recycle. You can order recycling containers for multiple types of waste and return them via pre-paid FedEx. Once the waste has been received for recycling, a recurring order is triggered and a new EasyPak container is shipped out automatically. You can view recycling reports that give totals of all waste you have recycled and every time waste is recycled with EasyPak, you are issued a certificate of recycling that verifies your recycling efforts and details exactly how much waste was recycled.

3. TerraCycle provides turnkey recycling programs for typically unrecyclable materials such as cookie wrappers, drink pouches, energy bar wrappers, yogurt cups, and wine corks. Anyone can join the company’s programs and I especially like the secondary marketing opportunities that a Terracycle program provides: If you run a children’s products, health and fitness, or liquor business, TerraCycle programs can help bring new customers to you when they come to use your drop-off facilities.

4. www.recyclereminders.com makes recycling easier by offering free customizable, downloadable recycling and waste reduction signs. Studies have shown that people significantly increase their recycling behavior when signs are present. So, posting signs around your workplace reminding everyone to conserve and recycle is one of the most effective and inexpensive green practices you can implement (See “Can Signs Make You Greener? for more).  The California Integrated Waste Management Board also offers free downloadable recycling posters and stickers to California businesses.

5. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) is a nonprofit organization that collects old cell phones rechargeable batteries. Call2Recycle is a free programs for retailers, businesses, communities, and public agencies. You collect used rechargeable batteries and old cell phones and ship them free in pre-paid packaging to their recycling facility. They reclaim reuseable materials such as nickel, iron, cadmium, lead, and cobalt from the batteries and a portion of the proceeds from resale of refurbished phones benefits select charities. They also provide free promotional materialssuch as downloadable web banners, logos and images to help “get the word out to your customers and community.”

6. The State of Connecticut has an excellent site called “Setting Up a Recycling Program at Your Small Business.” It includes resources for conducting your own audit and learning more about the composition of your waste stream; a discussion of which materials you should reduce, reuse and recycle; how to collect materials; who will take your stuff; tips to save money; and general resources for small business recycling.

Their mantra, and it can apply to all of us, is:

Whether you are looking to learn how to set up a recycling program at your business because you want to do the right thing or because it’s the law – recycling is easier than you think!

Do you know of any companies or organizations that make recycling easy? Please share!

About the Author

Jennifer Kaplan writes regularly about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for EatDrinkBetter.com and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was been named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - find her on .