For the past four weeks, this blog series has gone in depth with each step to the RUBICONMethod, a six-step proven system for building a successful waste and recycling program within any business. Thus far, readers have successfully completed Step 1: Determine, Step 2: Initiate, Step 3: Vocalize and Step 4: Eliminate. After just a few short weeks of planning and preparing, we’re ready for Step 5: Roll-Out.
Tune in each week for information on each of the six steps to the RUBICONMethod, or download the full guide to work through each step at your own pace and access the checklists and worksheets provided.
Now, goals have been set, plans established, critical players educated, and initial reduction steps taken. It’s time to roll-out the plan.
Step 5: Roll-Out
A plan is only as successful as it’s execution. Seemingly trivial details such as bin placement and liner colors have proven to be critical to the success of any waste reduction program. This step is designed to help you roll-out your program successfully from Day 1.
Side-by-side bin stations
First, it’s critical to decide on the placement of your bins (i.e. recycling and “trash cans”), ensuring that they are consistently available throughout the workplace. Every trash bin should have a recycling bin next to it (not across the room or down the hall). Bins should always be placed side-by-side with recycling always on the right. See the example above, standardized by Recycle Across America.
This system of side-by-side bin placement ensures that users select the most appropriate bin for their waste instead of the most convenient. As a result, your bins will be less contaminated and your plan more successful. If you are providing bins for material such as food waste, make sure the bins are convenient by placing them in the kitchen, cafeteria, break rooms, etc.
Another important tip in the RUBICONMethod is to remove all waste bins from personal workstations or desks, and placing bins in high-traffic, communal areas instead. This requires employees to get up and think about their waste. It also reduces janitorial work by cutting down the number of bins that need to be attended to and enables the custodial team to focus more on implementing the new recycling plan.
Now, it’s time to line the bins…
Color-coded bin liners
In each waste or recycling bin, it’s critical to use standardized, colored liners (i.e. bags). For example, a black liner for trash (or landfill), a blue/clear liner for recycling, a biodegradable green liner for organics recycling. If possible, match the color of the bin on the outside of the liner.
People are visual learners and these colors have been used for years to designate waste bins nationwide. Over time, they’ve become internalized, habituated, and standardized with help from Recycle Across America.
Finally, consider adding bins that help turn trash into treasure…
Bins for donations and hard-to-recycle materials
Determine a convenient, accessible location and schedule for the drop-off and pickup of donated materials, such as food, clothing or books. Ensure the bins are labeled with the types of materials and condition accepted. Organizations like TerraCycle provide bins for hard-to-recycle material collection. This includes items such as chip bags, candy wrappers, coffee pods and office equipment.
Once a successful roll-out is complete, you will be ready to move on to Step 6, the final step of the RUBICONMethod.
For the complete step-by-step guide to implementing a successful waste and recycling program, click here.