Update Your Waste Management Solutions For Plastic

Posted on: 13 September 2021


If your waste management solutions for plastic included encouraging employees to recycle and not much else, you'll need to update those policies. Now that China no longer accepts highly contaminated recyclables, America's recycling situation is more complicated.

Here are a few ways to update your policies to ensure your plastic waste management solutions are as green as possible.

1. Reduce plastic use 

The first way to reduce the impact of your plastic use is to replace single-use plastics with more eco-friendly materials. Some ways to do this in your business include:

  • Switching to packaging and shipping materials that are biodegradable
  • Sourcing plastic packaging-free versions of things you buy on a regular basis 
  • Educating your employees on how to minimize the plastic items they use at work

Replacing unrecyclable plastics is the most critical step, but in the current situation, you should replace even recyclable plastics if you can (especially #3-#7 plastics). The less plastic you use, the less plastic will potentially end up in the landfill if you can't find a way to recycle it.

2. Find domestic plastic recycling options

Instead of having used plastic sent off to a recycling center that may or may not landfill the recyclables if recycling turns out to be inconvenient, you can cut the middleman out for better control. For instance, you can use one of Terracycle's well-known programs to recycle a variety of different types of plastic.

You can also ask around to find small local companies in your area who may be making recycled items out of different types of used plastic materials. This type of in-house recycling can be more reliable (and less energy-intensive) since it doesn't depend on shipping the materials off to a foreign country to be processed.

3. Train employees to recycle correctly

One of the big reasons why recyclables get thrown in the landfill is due to too much contamination. This can mean either that the materials weren't cleaned properly or that someone added unrecyclable materials to the recyclables.

As you can imagine, training your employees to recycle correctly can go a long way towards making sure your recycling is actually recyclable. 

4. Look for upcycling opportunities

Instead of recycling, your business may be able to upcycle or donate used items. For example, office chairs and old (but still functional) printers may still be usable. Donating them to a nearby school or even thrift store may help keep them out of the waste stream.

These tips can help you update how you handle plastic to keep your waste management solutions green even though plastic recycling may seem less accessible than before. A green waste management solutions company can help you design the best waste management policies for your company's plastic use.