Scorecard Highlights: Waste Reduction

Scorecard Highlights: Waste Reduction

When Green Check businesses begin their certification process, waste reduction is usually the first area of sustainability they choose to focus their efforts. Perhaps this is because this area of sustainability usually produces immediate results in regards to going green and becoming more economical. A few of the Green Check scorecard initiatives in this area are highlighted below.

Implement a basic recycling program – Lexington businesses with city waste collection service can request recycling carts and pick up by calling LexCall at 311 or at this link. Once recycling pickup is organized, it is important to ensure staff and customers know what they can and cannot place in the recycling bin. A downloadable recycling flyer can be found here

Provide clearly marked recycling bins at work stations and/or in common areas – Providing a recycling bin next to every waste bin will increase the likelihood that employees and customers will make the extra effort to place recyclables in the correct bin. Ensure flyers and labels are provided so contamination is decreased. 

Use reusable mugs and dishware instead of disposable plates, cups, and utensils. – Utilizing reusable dishware cuts down on waste going to the landfill as well as the amount of money spent on single use plastics.

Implement an environmentally friendly printing policy- Every Green Check certified business is required to adopt a policy that clearly outlines requirements for sustainable printing. The policies must state that if digital document sharing is not available for any given reason, then staff will utilize double sided printing or reuse the blank side of documents that are no longer relevant. Many businesses practice the latter with documents that remain internal. 

Implement an electronic waste policy – These policies generally state that businesses will not send unwanted electronics to the landfill. The Lexington Electronic Recycling Center only accepts items from residents. However, businesses can utilize the Lexington Green Guide to find local stores that can reuse or recycle their electronics. 

Develop a composting program – Depending on how much organic waste a business generates, it might be worth investing in a compost bin to place on site. Compost bins can be purchased at stores like Lowe’s and Target in a variety of sizes. However, compost bins are relatively easy to build by hand. You can learn more about building a bin and how to compost here. 

Conduct a waste audit- Green Check certified businesses are able to utilize this free resource for assessing recycling contamination. Waste audits measure the percentage of contamination in the recycling as well as the amount of recyclable items that are being sent to the landfill by being placed in waste bins. This assessment is specifically useful when sharing information on how employees and customers can recycling right. 

Additional waste reduction tips:

  • Consider switching paper desk calendars to digital through Google Calendar or Outlook.
  • Use a coffee pot or grinding machine instead of a Keurig. The K-cups required for a Keurig are not recyclable and are actually more expensive than coffee bags. Green Check business, A Cup of Common Wealth, sells their coffee by the bag.  
  • Buy local whenever possible! Buying local not only supports the local economy, it also reduces the carbon footprint of a product by reducing the travel/shipping journey from the store to your hands. 
  • Purchase sugar, tea, and other break room items in bulk instead of individually wrapped items. 
  • Reuse file folders. Flipping an old file folder inside out or placing a new label over the old will give the folder a second life. 
  • Consider attaching a filter to the break room faucet or purchasing a Brita filter pitcher. Employees will be encouraged to bring reusable water bottles to refill throughout the day instead of using wasteful plastic water bottles. 

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