May 15, 2023

Why you need a workplace recycling policy – and how to implement it

Recycling is essential for any business that wants to operate sustainably. It’s estimated that the average UK office worker uses up to 45 pieces of paper daily, with two-thirds of that going to waste1. But this can’t come at the expense of security – businesses often have confidential paper documents and electronic devices that contain sensitive information that must be disposed of securely.

You may already be doing all of the right things when it comes to proper disposal and recycling. But by putting a secure recycling policy in place, you can eliminate risks and human error by making sure all employees – office and remote workers – are aware of the action they need to take when they no longer need confidential files. Importantly, you can also make secure disposal not just something employees “should” do, but part of the company culture.

In this blog, we look at the benefits of implementing such a policy – and why it’s not as time or cost-consuming as you might think.

The benefits of a strong recycling policy

Improper disposal of confidential documents can expose your business to significant security risks. Confidential information, such as personal details, financial information, and intellectual property, can fall into the wrong hands and be used for identity theft, fraud, or corporate espionage. It can also damage your business’s reputation and expose you to legal action.

So implementing a clear, comprehensive workplace recycling policy can help overcome these challenges and more, by:

  • Ensuring compliance – Data protection regulations require businesses to dispose of confidential information securely. A workplace recycling policy can ensure compliance with these regulations, reducing the risk of data breaches and fines. Partnering with a shredding and recycling company like Shred-it can also help ensure compliance and provide peace of mind.
  • Improving your business's reputation – Consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of businesses. By implementing a workplace recycling policy, you can show your customers that you take sustainability seriously and are committed to reducing your environmental footprint. This can improve your reputation and help you stand out from competitors.
  • Reducing costs – Recycling can also help businesses reduce costs by reducing waste disposal fees for example. Proper disposal of confidential documents can also reduce the risk of fines for non-compliance with regulations, as mentioned above.

How to create a workplace recycling policy

Implementing a workplace recycling policy doesn't have to be complicated. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Conduct an audit of your waste to identify opportunities for secure recycling.
  • Educate your employees on the importance of secure document disposal and how to recycle properly.
  • Partner with a shredding and recycling company like Shred-it to ensure secure disposal of confidential documents.
  • Make secure recycling bins and containers accessible throughout your workplace and clearly label them. Make sure bins for materials that can be freely recycled are also clearly marked as such so there is no confusion.
  • Monitor and track your progress to identify areas for improvement. Continue to communicate with employees through internal newsletters and other materials about any changes or updates to the policy – and don’t be afraid to celebrate successes.

Last year, we partnered with our customers to securely collect and recycle approximately 454,000 tonnes of sorted office paper. With the obvious environmental and security benefits that come with proper disposal of waste and confidential files, a solid, well-implemented policy can help good practice become second nature within your business.

For five easy tips on implementing a policy, click here. To learn more about Shred-it’s recycling processes – including our Shred-it all Policy, contact us today.