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EXPERT COLUMN: Top six business recycling trends

Recycling has become a major part of our daily lives with more and more companies making it a staple among their team members, even down to how they do business. We’ve seen here in Southern Nevada some of the ways places are going green like switching to light-emitting diode lights and powering offices with renewable energy. As creative as businesses and individuals can get to be more sustainable, the one aspect of sustainability that has always rang true is good-old recycling.

Western Elite, one of the top waste management and recycling companies in Southern Nevada, works with local businesses to recycle their waste. We even partner with some of the major hotels and casinos on the Strip on recycling the waste from their employee dining rooms, which we collect and then use the leftover food to feed the animals that inhabit our pig farm at our landfill.

America has been working on growing its recycling rate for decades by learning the different ways companies can recycle and doing it in a way that will reduce costs as well as waste. The State of Nevada takes the issue of recycling so seriously that a website was created about it. According to NevadaRecycles.nv.gov, “The recycling rate for 2016 in Nevada was 22.4 percent.” This has been achieved by creating events and activities like the Nevada Recycled Art Contest, the Green Ambassador Program Scholarship, and through partnerships with local artists and the Downtown Project for the resurgence of downtown Las Vegas.

There are many ways companies recycle, but here are some of the top six recycling trends currently popular among U.S. companies and tips on how to execute each one:

1. Location and type of recycling Bins

• Make sure recycle bins are placed next to each trash can throughout the business.

• Place small recycle bins in the restrooms.

• Have one recycle bin that gets sorted versus separate bins for paper, plastic and glass.

2. Upcycling

• This is the practice of businesses returning their products to create entirely new items. For example, Nike takes old shoes and recycles them by creating playground surfaces.

• One website, RecycleNation.com, gives tips on what to do with recycled items. They put together an entire infographic on what to do with old items rather than throwing them away, such as making shoebox lids into picture frames.

3. Keep the team accountable

• Businesses typically monitor their company’s recycling on a monthly basis.

• Create charts to see if your company is improving your recycling numbers.

• Hold friendly competitions between departments/employees.

4. 3-D Printing

• A 3-D printer can create metal parts at commercial production speeds. According to an article on NextBigFuture.com, “A new 3-D printer is being produced that would create a car part that would have taken more than 100 hours in 20 minutes and at a cost of $30 compared to $3,000.”

• Businesses are using recycled plastic materials for 3-D printing projects.

5. Recycle cigarettes

• Encourage employees who smoke to recycle their cigarettes.

• Cigarettes can be recycled through companies, such as Terracycle, which is a cigarette waste recycling program.

• Some of the waste products accepted through Terracycle are extinguished cigarettes, cigarette filters, loose tobacco pouches, outer plastic packaging, inner foil packaging, rolling paper and ash.

• According to Terracycle’s website, “for every pound of cigarette waste collected, $1 will be donated toward the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.”

• Employers can provide their offices with cigarette recycling receptacles.

6. Recycling E-waste

• Donate electronic waste to local charities that accept them and/or a thrift store.

• The Blind Center of Nevada has an electronic recycling program where they accept everything from DVD players to office phones. For business customers, they offer free asset-removal, which is carried out by their in-house removal team. After the items are repurposed or recycled, 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to The Blind Center of Nevada.

• Some of the electronics that are accepted include: computers, printers, fax machines, televisions.

Scott Seastrand is the vice president of Western Elite. For more information, visit westernelite.com.

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