Communication is the First Step in Creating an Environmentally Conscious Culture

The UN Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26), postponed last year due to the pandemic, is now scheduled for October 31 – November 12, 2021, in Glasgow, UK. Representatives from more than 190 countries, including world leaders and tens of thousands of negotiators, are expected to attend, along with members of the press and observer organizations. An event of this magnitude certainly points out the global interest in paying closer attention to the environment. As countries look to rebuild their economies in the wake of COVID-19, many are putting a focus on what has been called a green recovery.

With this reawakened focus on the environment, businesses are increasingly prioritizing sustainability. With so many headlines about pollution and climate change, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by environmental challenges. We are seeing that facility managers, building operators and other real estate professionals are now being tasked to meet the demand for eco-friendly properties, while also combating environmental pollution and complying with state and local mandates to divert trash from landfills.

Getting tenants to cooperate can be a challenge, but environmental consciousness already has received significant publicity and many communities have either legally mandated or strongly recommended participation in recycling programs. While everyone understands the benefit of recycling, people tend to lapse into complacency unless they receive regular communications about where, what and how to recycle. One way to combat this is to initiate a building-wide campaign to ensure everyone understands how their individual recycling efforts contribute to the overall health of the property.

You can do this by first following the fundamentals of recycling that starts with educating tenants about proper recycling practices and posting signage about what can be recycled near each recycling bin. Color-coding the bins and stickers for each type of waste also helps to avoid confusion and makes it easier for everyone to distinguish which bins to use for each type of waste. The next step is deploying the latest monitoring technology that is AI assisted to take your diversion and sustainability programs to the next level. While your recycling program may never be perfect, putting practices and processes in place coupled with consistent communication and the latest technology are the first steps toward that final goal to ensuring everyone involved with the property takes a role in contributing to supporting a sustainable environment.

With so many other day-to-day responsibilities, you may struggle to implement an efficient recycling program. Engaging with experts in managing waste like RWS Facility Services can alleviate this burden with time-saving services that include performing audits to optimize waste disposal, educating tenants on recycling practices and implementing technology solutions to monitor tenant practices and recycling compliance.

As we watch what comes out of COP26, it is good to keep in mind that even the seemingly small things that support an environmentally conscious culture is important. So, whether you are reviving your recycling initiative after the pandemic, or designing something new, a well-designed recycling and waste program that everyone understands is a way to benefit the environment—and make your job easier in the process.