Friday, July 19, 2013

Guest Post - Up-Cycling you’re Recycling

Recycling Symbol
One of the easiest things to do around the office is recycling: you make a huge difference, while not requiring people to change their habits or workload. The reasons behind recycling far outweigh any negatives to the process. It’s really easy to do, and you can see the difference it makes, especially when you start buying recycled products as well. Making products from raw materials costs more than from recycled products, so when manufacturers can use old objects, a lot of energy is conserved.

Not only does it protect the environment from draining natural resources, but recycling reduces landfill – something that is a huge problem at the moment

Around the office

Firstly, establish what can be recycled. Standard items include:
- glass
- plastic
- metal cans
- white paper
- mixed paper
There are exceptions to this, depending on your location. If you use hazardous materials or liquids, contact your local council for more information on how to sustainably dispose the items. There are plenty of bodies to help identify what you can and can’t recycle, so get in touch – some items you might be surprised by!

Setting up a recycling scheme is something that can be done in a day (or less!). Place recycling boxes around the office, and start spreading the word! It’s often a good idea to have a ‘green team’, who can oversee the process, and make sure people are sticking to it, and recycling the correct products. There are plenty of recycling collection companies who will come to empty your bins, or alternatively, you could take it down to your local recycling bank.

There are many organisations, such as WRAP, who will be able to guide you through starting a recycling scheme at work.

As well as recycling, it’s important to remember to reduce what you use:
  • Set photocopiers and printers to print on both sides by default
  • Make computer files, not paper files
  • Try not to print anything off unless it’s necessary – especially emails
  • Use email or the phone more than hard copy communication.

Alongside reusing anything if possible:
  • Try to reuse as much paper as possible. Do any unimportant printing on scrap pieces, and Always use both sides of a sheet of paper before recycling it
  • If possible use ‘recycled’ toner cartridges

Top tips:

  • Put recycling bins in convenient places so people don’t have to go out of their way
  • Put up posters about the scheme, with clear information on what can/can’t be recycled
  • Take away individual bins
  • Buy recycled products
  • Only order what you know the office will use.

Perks of recycling

Not only do you get that happy, guilt-free feeling that comes with helping to save the planet, there are several other considerable benefits that go with recycling in the office.


We live in a society where it’s good to be seen being green, and companies that can advertise being Eco-friendly and doing their part will seem a lot more appealing to potential customers than brands who don’t.

Helping the planet

This is a bit of a no-brainer: you recycle because you want to help. It’s such a simple lifestyle choice, and has a huge impact on the world around you. If you can’t go and save the Amazon in person, it’s a one step in the right direction.


There’s little to no effort involved in setting up a recycling scheme, and for all the good you can be doing, it’s well worth it.


Getting rid of huge stacks of paper, spare sheets floating around, and unwanted plastic bottle not only makes the office look better, but reduces clutter, and promotes a better workplace.


As the government are so hot on recycling and sustainability at the moment, there are loads of award programmes to encourage businesses to get involved.

Reinventing – Up cycling

Many people believe that a products life cycle does not have to end when the product is no longer required for its original purpose. With more people looking for sustainability and a more open attitude towards renovation can old products be “up-cycled” into a new product. Below are a few examples of up-cycling and how you can reinvent your waste.

Pen holder made from cassette cartridges.
Instead of buying a pen holder how about making one from the tapes you never listen to anymore?
Upcycled chair made from nature.
Good all out and back to nature and make a striking chair for the waiting room or for the boardroom.
Horse Shoe Wine Rack.
Reward yourself with a wine rack made from up-cycled horse shoes.

Author Bio
This post was written by Amanda Stockhill of Ecocleen, an office cleaning company that specialises in being green!