Recycling bins

Three quick wins to launch a recycling program

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Written by: Alexa Stone

The U.S. EPA presents a compelling case for recycling. Looking back a decade, their 2020 Recycling Economic Information (REI) Report found recycling and reuse activities that produced 681,000 jobs while contributing $37.8 billion in wages. For every 1,000 tons of recycled material, 1.17 jobs were created. Construction and Demolition waste provided the greatest employment benefits.

Well-run recycling programs cost less than landfills and incinerators. Costs decrease as volumes increase.

Recycling has minimal repercussions, day-to-day, while steadily returning savings on waste removal and landfill fees. Consider these quick-wins to reduce initial capital outlay to near-zero. Then begin enjoying customer and employee goodwill by supporting sustainability and resiliency.

Recycling bins

The initial costs can be as low as zero, if existing waste containers are converted to recycling bins. Ideally, the containers should be of a similar appearance. That way they are recognized at several locations.

For a more luster and easiest recognition, bins are available from many competing sources. You can check out some of the prices here:

If bins aren’t in the budget, empty shipping boxes or printer paper cartons are a practical start. They are likely to be plentiful, and their size and appearance seldom varies.

Labels for recycling bins

A clear, attractive label will transform an empty carton from trash to a recycling container. Recycle Across America offers low-cost labels for varied material types and container sizes. Even with many variations, the labels are standardized for easy recognition.

Several Pinterest boards offer free label designs along with links to commercial sources.

Signs and posters

Recycling signs

Posters and signs will add momentum to your recycling program. They don’t have to add cost. Several online sources offer free downloadable designs. The best of these clearly communicate the what and why, along with the where of recycling.

Companies like Hewlett Packard, Bank of America, and the U.S. Postal Service have made significant investments in recycling programs. In return, they receive a lot. Each of these companies claims more than a million dollars of recycling program benefit.

You may have seen social good proclaimed on large corporate websites. Recycling programs save enough energy to power 9 million homes per year. Recycling work provides 10 times more jobs than disposal. Recycled product manufacturing employs an additional million people.

At any scale, an organization’s recycling reduces landfill waste and the need and expense of manufacturing new materials. Just getting started? Your recycling activity can begin small and without cost. Then let the program grow as your organization discovers and claims the benefits.

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AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

Tools tailored to location and need

Disaster resilience requires a select toolset, identified, adapted, or created as needed based on planning calls and inclusive workshop participation.

Business and government organizations today are confronted by threat categories that range from drought to flood, from fire to hurricane, and extend globally to pandemics and sea level rise. Threat categories are broad and diverse, but ecoPreserve and collaborating organizations design resiliency tools for specific local context.

Local needs are identified and verified. Building from that essential understanding, tools are designed, tested in pilot programs, refined, then implemented through action plans.

Today's challenges/
tomorrow's potential

ecoPreserve collaborates with major community and private organizations in optimizing the resiliency and resource efficiency of their workplaces, venues, and public spaces.

In response to ever-increasing environmental, sociopolitical, and public health challenges, we advocate for and participate in assessment and planning actions that directly address disaster preparations, recovery activities, infrastructure improvements, and smart building/city design.

Online and in-person workshops

ecoPreserve designs and leads workshops in varied formats, to achieve varied goals.

Often an event is held for skill and knowledge development, but some needs of an organization or community are better resolved through collaboration to identify requirements and to design solutions. A range of Disaster Resilience workshops are available for solutions planning and development, as well as for training and communication.

Disaster Planning and Recovery Workshops

  • Identify technical and business process gaps
  • Define stakeholders, recovery teams, and processes/functionalities necessary for operation
  • Highlight missed expectations from a data loss and recovery time perspective
  • Address compliance with regulatory agencies and industry standards
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

  • PHYSICAL CONDITION
    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPREAD POTENTIAL
  • OPPORTUNITIES
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
  • ORDER OF MAGNITUDE RENOVATION BUDGET
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC EQUIPMENT
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
  • FLOORPLAN
    • Traffic patterns
  • FURNISHINGS
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.