America Recycles Day, celebrated annually on Nov. 15, is a day dedicated to rallying the nation around the importance of recycling. While recycling is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to aid the environment, as a population we can still do so much more. Yes, America Recycles Day may be just a 24-hour period where we talk about the importance of recycling, but I see it as a call to action and a broader opportunity to engage others to think about the waste we generate every day.
At MillerCoors, we believe that waste is a resource out of place, and we take a creative approach toward meeting our waste reduction goals. In fact, four of our eight major breweries have reached zero waste to landfill, and in just two years our company has reduced our overall waste by more than 30 percent. This journey was led by a few passionate employees who sparked a movement; what began with a few voices is now ingrained in the culture of MillerCoors.
Let America Recycles Day be your call to educate and motivate your co-workers. Your movement can begin with these five easy steps:
1. Debunk the myths
Recycling at the office is different than at home. It can be confusing and may lead people to forgo recycling altogether. Find out what items your workplace recycles and educate co-workers by hanging up signs above communal recycling bins.
2. Train the eye
They say it takes 21 days to create a habit, so help create new ones by making recycling easier for the eye to see. Paint trash bins around the office red, for STOP, and recycling bins green, for GO GREEN. You can even take it a step further for source separation — for example, bins at MillerCoors breweries are painted brown to indicate disposal of corrugated cardboard and silver for aluminum recyclables.
3. Team up
In order to create a movement, work together. Partner with senior management and other co-workers to start a green team. Finding strength in numbers not only leads to new ideas, but also leads to action.
4. Stash your trash
What’s the easiest way to deter people from throwing recyclable materials into the trash bin? Get rid of the bin. At some of our facilities, we hosted a “Stash Your Trash” event to encourage employees to turn in their trash bin, and instead utilize one central bin in a common area. Adding that extra step gives us a little more time to ask ourselves, “Can this be recycled?”
5. Make it fun
A little reward can go a long way. By providing incentives for recycling, people are more likely to pay attention and stay engaged. Try rewarding random acts of recycling: once a week, reward a team member who is seen recycling with a prize, such as a $5 gift card, a reusable water bottle or mug, or even 30 extra minutes at lunch.
Kim Marotta is director of corporate social responsibility for MillerCoors.
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