Years ago, we invested in recycle cans for each staff member so they all had access to a trash can and a recycle can at their desk. The majority of the staff have been recycling since it became an available choice. We all want to cut down on trash but is taking away the city-owned trash can and replacing it with a personal one really going to make a difference?
Does anyone measure the amount of trash produced or how much is saved by recycling? Is there a goal amount for trash reduction?
I'm also curious about what happened to all of those trash cans - were they stored, recycled or put in the trash?
Answer by Matt Lighthart, Green Team lead: Thank you for your thoughtful questions about our conversion of trash cans at staff workstations to recycling containers. The original intent of this change was threefold:
- Encourage and facilitate recycling by converting existing trash cans into "Recycling Only" containers. Recycling is easier because it is your first option.
- Increase awareness amongst staff about what materials can and cannot be recycled
- Promote a healthy workplace by encouraging staff to get up out of their seats when they need to throw away materials that cannot be recycled
We do not measure, in any reliable way, the amount of trash or recycling generated by any particular staff member or agency. There are no goals for trash reduction.
I'm excited to hear that you and your coworkers have been diligently recycling for years now, but you are missing out on the benefits associated with the third goad if you simply replace the trash can at your desk. Research indicating the negative health effects associated with sitting for long, uninterrupted periods continues to accumulate. Getting up periodically to throw away trash in a centrally located receptacle is an each way to mitigate those negative effects.