Amidst all the talk of carbon offsetting programmes, installation of new motion sensors for turning off unused lights, and a major overhaul of datacentre design to improve energy efficiency, Mike Ayres, head of business development at Easynet, explained how the company employed a simple and highly effective environmental initiative that every firm should take – he took away employees' bins.
In an effort to encourage staff to recycle more paper and other recyclable material Easynet took away bins under staff's desks and replaced them with recycling bins in communal areas. It might seem like a left field solution to the problem but as a result the amount the company recycled soared.
Personally, I am all too aware of how easy it is to chuck some paper in the bin by your desk rather than get up and walk over to the recycling bin and I'm guessing I'm not alone.
It would be easy to dismiss such a scheme as unworkable: claiming staff would get frustrated, or worse, swan round the office looking for a recycling bin rather than doing any work.
But Easynet claims these risks are unfounded. Given the current interest in environmental issues if you explain to staff why their bins have been moved most will probably approve. Secondly with survey after survey claiming productivity is damaged by the UK's always at your desk culture and doctors advising you should get up frequently to stop the blood in your legs turning to the consistency of lumpy porridge there is no harm in a mechanism that encourages people to get up occasionally.
Few firms will have the budget to emulate Easynet's commitment to going carbon neutral, but copying its innovative office recycling strategy is something any firm can do at hardly any cost. The result will be an improved environmental record, less office waste and possibly happier staff. And if the scheme doesn't work out for your office it doesn’t take much effort to just put the bins back.
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