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Encouraging Recycling

Do you know someone who doesn’t seem as keen about recycling as you are? Do you live or work with anyone who has a tendency to toss out rather than sort? From roommates to coworkers, even spouses, friends or family-not everyone may be on your eco-friendly plateau. So, how do you sway them without making them develop an aversion to you? There are simple things you can do to encourage recycling at home, work or school.

The approach regarding recycling can be tricky, especially at a workplace that doesn’t do it. Being prepared to provide a quick outline of how recycling would help office-wide is favorable. Consider others and incorporate them into your recycling plan if they would like. Offer a quick thought about the positive monetary and resourceful aspects of recycling in that it saves money, supplies and can create sustainable jobs. Realize this may be your agenda, but point out how it affects them, too.

While you obviously don’t want to sound like a self-appointed recycling superhero beaming your world-saving ventures with a haughty drum, you can put the facts out there without sounding condescending. Most individuals who do not make it a point to recycle don’t do it purposefully, they just might not think about it. Those that don’t tend to recycle may not be aware of the effects of throwing away, for instance, just one plastic bottle. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stated plastic bottles do not even begin to compost for 700 years, and that in America around 2.5 million plastic bottles are used each hour, of which only about 20% are ever recycled. You don’t want to make people feel like they are in trouble, but just being a resource is often helpful.

Probably the most constructive thing you can do is to make it easy to recycle. Make sure everything needed is available and easily accessed. Set up clearly labeled centers so it is a simple process and put them within reach, like by trash containers, so it makes it just as easy to toss it into the recycling bin as it does to throw it in the trash.

Research on how to encourage recycling shows that if awareness and recycling receptacle instructions are clear people are more apt to recycle. Immediate, adverse details about what happens if people don’t recycle posted on signage were actually deemed the most motivating if they had comprehensive directions about how to recycle items. A more positive approach toward what is gained by recycling was found to be beneficial when paired with general details of why recycling is needed. If the knowledge is present and the means are accessible, most people will tend to recycle.

When you organize from the start and everyone knows what to put where, it also makes the trip to the recycling center simpler since everything is already sorted. Subsequently you may be the one making the trip, so this just makes it easier for you.

Also, present recycling with a fun twist. For example, save aluminum cans which you can trade in for a little cash at certain recycling centers, and put the earnings toward a day or night out, school field trip, office parties or extra supplies.

It isn’t hard to emphasize the importance of recycling for everyone’s benefit. Lending yourself to encouraging endeavors can stimulate sustainable behaviors all around.


Why Plastic Matters: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Facts. Retrieved from: Nonplasticpledge.com
It’s the Mind-Set That Matters: Journal of Marketing Research
RecyclingCenters.org: Simple Changes in Your Home to Encourage Recycling
RecyclingCenters.org: Three Reasons Why We Should Recycle

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