Keep America Beautiful study: convenience and education crucial to workplace recycling

Dive Brief:

  • Keep America Beautiful announced the first wave results of a study, “Recycling at Work” aimed at reducing waste and increasing recycling in the workplace.
  • The purpose of the study is to determine the best practices for a recycling program that promotes better recycling at work, resulting in a greater number of quality materials collected. 
  • The main takeaway from the study is that a  20% increase in recycling can be achieved in offices when employees have access to a recycling bin within reach, in addition to a small trash bin located nearby. 

Dive Insight:

Data was compiled from 200 audits; the study concluded that: paper represents 50% of the waste in offices; recyclable beverage containers are discarded in both recycling and trash bins equally; a majority of paper towels are tossed into the recycling bin; food waste deserves to be a primary focus of workplace recycling efforts.  

Jennifer Jehn, the president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, said, “Our research shows that by combining specific-sized trash and recycling receptacles, with simple signage and messaging, businesses and other organizations can increase employee participation and improve their rate of recycling of office-generated materials.”

In May of 2014, public works staff in Minneapolis, MN tested out a similar experiment. Mini waste bins were distributed to employees; results indicated that those with bins produced 12% less waste, yielding a savings of $11,000. 

Filed Under: Recycling
Top image credit: flickr user brownpau