Keeping Clean and Green: Waste Management Checklist for Facilities Managers

Managing and reducing your company’s waste output can do a lot more than save your company money. It can help you reach higher health and safety standards, reduce unused office space and improve your organization’s environmental credentials. If any of these initiatives are featured in your to-do list, work your way through this checklist and start optimizing your waste practices.

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Complete a waste audit of your facility to identify any opportunities for improvement. Make use of free online tools like ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to track waste, water and energy data over time. This will help you develop a new waste management program that is uniquely tailored to your organization.

Hire external consultants to help pinpoint areas for improvement around your office. Sustainability professionals can measure your organization’s carbon emissions and provide suggestions for reducing your environmental footprint. Bring in the pros to ensure you effectively implement new processes in the areas where they’re needed most.

Do a deep dive into the waste management programs and regulations where your facility is located. Has your organization been monitoring changes in collection systems, city regulations and recycling options? Have they recently introduced a green bin to the recycling program? Using a tool like Recycling Locator can help you to identify collection programs and facilities in your local area to ensure you stay on top of your waste processes.

Set short- and long-term waste reduction goals. In which areas of sustainability and waste management do you want to improve, and by how much? Set short-term, individual goals like ordering fewer take-out meals, as well as long-term, company-wide goals, like achieving B Corp status.

Let the entire office create the plan. Set up brainstorming sessions that allow staff members to contribute their ideas around waste management. This will offer different perspectives, encourage collaboration and help staff feel involved in setting bigger picture goals.

Set a good example from the top down. This means ensuring that management is actively participating in and advocating for any new green initiatives. Additionally, the organization can set a good example by donating used items like electrical equipment rather than simply throwing them out.

Educate staff on ways to participate in waste reduction. Set-up information sessions for employees on waste prevention methods and recycling best practices, then upload information and reading materials to the company site. Update your new employee onboarding processes to include information on the company’s values related to environmentally-friendly practices, as well as sustainability training.

Organize a reliable team to keep you green. Put together a solid team that is committed to the cause. This should ensure you have help in maintaining waste reduction activities. Invest in secure bins and containers, and provide a clear instructions for how to sort waste and recyclables.

Offer employee incentives to reduce waste. Instigate competitions or monthly recognition programs that encourage and reward employees who use reusable coffee cups and utensils and pack zero-waste lunches. Celebrating even small successes can keep employees motivated to continue making a difference.

Measure the results of your green efforts and share them with the entire company. Highlight big wins and major improvements to keep everyone moving in the right direction. This can instill trust through transparency.

Managing waste isn’t always fun—or easy—but with a solid plan of action and the support of a committed team, it is possible for any office to go green. Adopting a proactive environmental policy will help you reduce your company’s operating costs and it will also help you have a positive impact on the planet.

When you hear “waste management” you might automatically think of garbage and recycling practices, but waste comes in all shapes and sizes. Energy, for example, is a major consumer in an office space—and as a facility manager, it’s your job to find ways to reduce energy waste.

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