Building a Recycling Culture

How is your corporate culture when it comes to recycling?

The start of any successful recycling program can be traced back to the culture of the company/organization. Senior management buy-in is a critical first step of setting up a new program or reviving an old one. The top decision makers need to be in agreement with the costs of the program as well as having a complete understanding of the return on investment (ROI) associated with the program. The leadership team also “puts the stake in the ground” on the expectations of program participation by all employees.

Every recycling program needs goals that are realistic and achievable. Employees are more likely to buy into the program and participate actively when there is consistency and transparency in messaging and process. When everyone can see the success of the program, they are more likely to participate and further its growth and success. When the recycling program constantly changes – F.O.T.M. (Flavor of the Month), participation begins to wane and employees may begin to question the integrity of the program.

Engagement also leads to employee buy-in. If employees feel they are a part of the process and are involved with the direction of the program, they will feel tied to the success of the program.

Managing resistance to your recycling program

One of the stumbling blocks that many organizations come up against when implementing a new recycling program are the C.A.V.E. people – Citizens Against Virtually Everything. Regardless of what you do to try to involve them in the process, regardless of the successes you have with the program, regardless of the leadership expectations, they will not participate or buy in. It is best to recognize that this small group often exists but do not let them dampen the enthusiasm others have for the program. The recycling program can still be successful without their involvement.

Discover the second C of Communication in our 3C’s Approach to Zero Waste, and read more information on program implementation, including naming your program, and customer success stories.

The start of any successful recycling program can be traced back to the culture of the company/organization. Senior management buy-in is a critical first step of setting up a new program or reviving an old one. The top decision makers need to be in agreement with the costs of the program as well as having a complete understanding of the ROI associated with the program. The leadership team also “puts the stake in the ground” on the expectations of program participation by all employees.
 
The recycling program needs realistic and achievable goals. Consistency and transparency will garner buy-in from employees. When they see the real successes and “wins” on the path to the final goal, they are more apt to participate fully. When the program constantly changes – F.O.T.M. (Flavor of the Month), participation begins to wane and employees may begin to question the integrity of the program.
 
Engagement also leads to employee buy-in. If employees feel they are a part of the process and are involved with the direction of the program, they will feel tied to the success of the program.
 
One of the stumbling blocks that many organizations come up against when implementing a new recycling program are the C.A.V.E. people – Citizens Against Virtually Everything. Regardless of what you do to try to involve them in the process, regardless of the successes you have with the program, regardless of the leadership expectations, they will not participate or buy-in. It is best to recognize that this small group often exists but do not let them dampen the enthusiasm others have for the program. The program can still be successful without their involvement.
 
Next month we look at the second C of Communication in our 3C’s Approach to Zero Waste.
 
Visit cleanriver.com for further information on program implementation, including naming your program, and customer success stories.