Recycling for Businesses, Schools and Apartment Complexes
The City of Tulsa offers a voluntary curbside recycling service
to residential customers. However, the City of Tulsa does not offer
services for commercial customers such as businesses, schools, and
multi-family dwellings. These facilities should contract with a
hauler or commercial recycler for collection and disposal of
A directory of resources for recycling is available though the
Environmental Trust. The site includes a list of commercial
vendors who may be contacted to provide recycling services.
Before signing a contract for recycling services, ask these
- Must recyclables be source-separated or can they be mixed?
- Does the company have different rates for source separated
versus mixed recyclables?
- Does the company have free services that help with development
or enhancement of a recycling program?
- How does your company currently handle its waste?
- Do you use compactors or front - loading bins?
- How often are the compactors and bins picked up?
- Is pickup scheduled frequently or only on an as-needed
- How full are containers when they are picked up?
- How much does your company spend on waste disposal?
The answers to these questions are important when completing a
waste assessment or characterization.
Business Guide for Recycling Solid Waste
(from Chapter 1 of the USEPA's Guide,
Successful waste reduction programs hinge on careful planning
and organization. The first key steps to getting started are:
- Obtain management support and involvement.
- Establish your waste reduction team* and
- Set preliminary program objectives.
- Announce the program and its goals to all employees.
The support of company management is essential for developing a
lasting and successful waste reduction program. Stressing the range
of benefits that can come from waste reduction, such as cost
savings and enhanced company image, will help sell the program to
*The Waste Reduction Team
The waste reduction team is a group of employees who are
responsible for many of the tasks involved in planning, designing,
implementing, and maintaining the program. A team approach allows
these tasks to be distributed among several employees and enables
employees from all over the company to directly contribute to
Typically, members of your waste reduction team are responsible
- Working with company management to set the preliminary and
long-term goals of the waste reduction program.
- Gathering and analyzing information relevant to the design and
implementation of the program. (This is done through a waste
- Promoting the program to employees and educating them about how
they can participate in the effort.
- Monitoring the progress of the program
- Periodically reporting to management about the status of the
The size of your team depends on the size of your company and
should be representative of as many departments or operations as
- The ideal candidate for a one-person team would be an
individual who wears many hats and is familiar with the overall
operations of your company.
- A two-person team might consist of a company manager and an
administrative or technical support person.
- Larger businesses might opt to create a team of employees from
different departments to encourage widespread input and support.
These individuals can include environmental managers, building
supervisor, technical or operational staff, administrative staff,
maintenance staff, and waste management staff.
Team members can be volunteers or appointed members. Members
must be enthusiastic about the waste reduction program and able to
commit time to the effort.
Company management or the team should appoint a knowledgeable
and motivated team leader. Depending on the size of the company and
the type of program being implemented, the position can require a
significant amount of time and energy. The leader must be capable
of directing team efforts; administering the planning,
implementation, and operation of the waste reduction program; and
acting as a liaison between management and the team. Likely
candidates include a facilities manager, an environmental manager,
or an employee who has championed waste reduction in your company.
If possible, the task should be incorporated into the person's job
Once your team has been established, members should meet
regularly to develop a plan and begin program implementation. large
facilities incorporating many different options will need several
months to start up a program. Department-specific or more modest
programs might be implemented in less than a month. Some businesses
might even be able to implement simple options within a matter of
In any case, the investment of time and resources at this stage
will likely be returned by the savings realized through a
successful waste reduction program,
While the general objective of any waste reduction program is to
reduce the amount and/or toxicity of municipal solid waste being
generated, your first task as a team will be to work with
management to establish and record specific, preliminary goals for
the program. These goals might include enhancing the company's
corporate image or increasing operational efficiency. The goals
should be based primarily on how much waste reduction is possible
given the level of effort that the company is willing to dedicate
to the task.
The goals set by the team will provide a framework for specific
waste reduction efforts to follow. Keep in mind, however, that the
preliminary goals set by the team should be flexible, as they might
need to be reexamined and adjusted as specific waste reduction
options are considered later on.
Once the general direction of the waste reduction program has
been established, present the program to the rest of the company.
This is a good opportunity to get employees excited and generate
some momentum behind the team's efforts. The first step is an
announcement from the president or representative of the upper
management of the company, demonstrating that the program has full
management support and is a high priority for the company. The
- Introduce employees to waste reduction.
- Explain how waste reduction can benefit both the company and
- Outline the design and implementation stages of the
- Offer the team leader's name and number and encourage employees
to contact him or her with any ideas or suggestions.
Your program is more likely to succeed if you solicit
suggestions from employees for reducing waste. To reduce paper, the
announcement should be posted in a prominent place, circulated, or
distributed through electronic or voice mail, if available.
Throughout the duration of the program, periodic communications (in
the form of centrally posted memos or announcements, for example)
can help maintain employee support, Employees are likely to
appreciate being asked to join in your company's waste reduction
efforts, and such offers will encourage consistent