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Caring for our environment is not only trendy, but actually supports our future. Recycling keeps materials out of the landfill. Some materials don’t deteriorate for hundreds or thousands of years. Case in point: plastic.

At Piedmont, we’ve set goals to increase all recycling, including plastic, and we ask that all team members find a way to “make it their own.” Our team is encouraged to bring ideas to the table, and two team members recently did just that.

Ying Thao and Bao Thao work at our Fabrication facility located in Charlotte, NC. They recently found a very creative way to use a weaving skill learned from their native Laos to repurpose discarded plastic banding used to bind raw materials and outbound finished products into intricately woven baskets. The weaving skills of Ying and Bao and the finished baskets are really quite remarkable. The plastic banding makes the baskets beautiful and very strong. They can even be washed in the dishwasher!

What do you do to contribute to your company’s recycling program? Don’t have a program? If you’re seeing mountains of cardboard and tumbleweeds of plastic shrink wrap, maybe you can start the initiative and gather a steering committee. Here are a few tips that can streamline your company’s recycling efforts to increase return on recyclables and decrease your carbon footprint while you’re at it.

Educate yourself.

Know what types of recyclables are coming out of your facility and what waste streams they occupy. Whether you’re in an office, warehouse, or manufacturing environment – the ability to reduce, reuse and recycle is all around us.

Develop a program.

  1. Designate an area for recycled materials to be deposited. Clearly mark each receptacle with its waste stream. If there are large quantities in different areas of your facility, create multiple depositories. Remember, the goal is to make it easy for your team to recycle. Making them walk a mile to recycle their soda bottle isn’t going to encourage them.
  2. Think through the collection process. How is the recycled material going to leave your facility? Who is going to pick it up? Where will it go from there? You may be able to arrange an agreement with a supplier or even receive money in exchange for the material. Think about what can be done with the money: a morale-boosting company cookout, holiday party, awards ceremony, or apparel for the team.

Talk about it.

Communicate to your team the value of recycling and what the corporate goals are. Create a committee that educates what is recyclable versus what is not. Tell them where recyclable content goes and how to get it there. Educate them on energy-saving habits and ways the company as a whole can reduce its carbon footprint.

Create measurables.

Quantify how much material is exiting your facility. Benchmark your program and then pat your team on the back for being good stewards.

Would you like to learn more about Piedmont’s recycling goals and programs? Visit the Environmental Responsibility page on our corporate website for more information.