By Kathryn Cannon
While working in a small office in Port Allen, Louisiana as an administrative assistant I saw firsthand how much paper is thrown in the trash every day. I cannot even imagine how much paper larger companies could use and discard into the trash on a daily basis. Our office didn’t have a recycle program for recycle materials of any kind. I handled the mail that came into our office. We would throw out these thick catalogs on a daily basis along with other magazines no one had an interest in.
We are gaining awareness on how important recycling has become over the past several years not only for the environment but for ourselves as well. By recycling we can better our planet and the air we breathe. By recycling we can reuse materials more than once and keep it out of the growing landfills. My family has always taken recycling very seriously. In fact, we have more in our recycling bin on trash day than regular trash. It is mindboggling how much paper is used by office buildings ranging from messed up copies to discarded mail catalogs, or just small scraps of paper.
I couldn’t stand seeing all the paper going into the trash when we could recycle it and be able to reuse it in another form. Imagine the amount of trees we could save by trying to establish a small recycling program in our offices. So, I took it upon myself to start making a pile of recycled materials to take home with me. I would take things like catalogs, magazines, discarded paper, (paper with private information would go into the shredded bin which is recycled through a professional company) and bring them home to my own recycling bin once a week. Sometimes, I would take everyone’s plastic bottles home that would otherwise go into the trash. Recycling plastic is just as important as recycling discarded paper. It wasn’t much but every bit counts, and it made me happy knowing I was contributing to helping our environment.
Many companies do have a recycling system in place, but for those that don’t, there is a way you can start your very own. There is a national voluntary initiative called Recycling at Work that promotes the actions of businesses, government agencies, and institutions to increase recycling in the workplace. In fact you can even help recycling in your workplace by taking the Recycling at Work pledge. This will allow you to have access to free tools and resources to help you recycle more, encourage employee participation, and earn recognition.
Louisiana State University (LSU) is a great example to use because they have an excellent recycling program. They have recycling bins alongside trash bins at several locations all over campus. They have recycling bins for a variety of different things like plastic bottles, paper, and binders. inside of buildings and out. When we have home football games, giving people those options really makes a difference. Generally, if you provide the proper recycling container and make it accessible people will throw their plastic in the proper containers instead of just the regular trash. That is what we should try to incorporate in the work place everywhere.