GRN Recycle Talk FAQ

Date: Tue Oct 21 1997 - 04:00:00 EDT

Date: Tue, 21 Oct 97 09:00 WET DST
Subject: Re: Company recycling programs

Oct. 21, 1997

Company recycling programs vary widely. The best offer multimaterial collections based on waste audits of their trash and attempt at maximum, to recycle and cooperatively market (with their largest natural grouping, corporately or geographically, especially place-based within their offices, high rises and plants) a source separated, binned, and contracted for materials mix: newspaper, computer paper, high grade white office paper, color paper, cardboard, mixed plastics, glass, all beverage containers, electronics (excessed computers and photocopiers chiefly), and then, have a procurement program to buy recycled goods and services. Examples of this type include some of the largest multinationals, as well as 'environmentally conscious' firms such as Patagonia or Toms of Maine or Ben Jerry's.

One usual pattern is a tokenistic collection program that seeks maximum publicity and employee buy-in for materials such as newspapers and aluminum soda cans.

Another usual pattern is not tokenistic, but starts small and goes larger (more materials) as the recycling idea becomes a bought-into reality, going from e.g. collecting newspaper only to newspaper and high grade white office paper only, to those two and OCC only, and so on.

Another usual pattern predating the 1988+ recycling era is the recycling of industrial scrap materials from manufacturing processes. This is probably the largest unsung and misunderstood pattern of corporate recycling. It IS recycling, but its not what society thinks of as recycling since its waste that society doesn't see, use, and which doesn't flow into municipal landfills by and large.

In general, an intelligent, studied and tested approach, for which there are many precedents, beginning with upper management commitment to recycling and the expending of resources to conduct a waste audit, is common.

See also the National Recycling Coalition's Buy Recycled Business Alliance , US EPA's WasteWi$e Program (which is mostly about waste reduction), the U..S. Conference of Mayors' National Office Paper Recycling Project and similar audience programs of business assistance arms of major governmental and NGO agencies.

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