How Every Can Counts is helping businesses improve workplace recycling, by Rick Hindley

It is no surprise that reducing waste and operating sustainably continues to be a priority for many organisations. As many facilities managers will attest, trying to encourage behavioural change amongst staff and also make a measurable impact on your organisation’s carbon footprint is a complex task that presents numerous challenges. Increasingly, improving recycling performance is playing a key role in achieving sustainability objectives, with many initiatives available to help set up or invigorate workplace recycling. Every Can Counts is one such programme that has proved successful with organisations ranging across the public and private sector and from SMEs to FTSE-listed businesses.

Every Can Counts, a metal packaging industry-led drinks can recycling programme, was originally launched as a trial to test the barriers and drivers to successful recycling outside the home. Three years on it has established a model to encourage and enable more people to recycle their drinks cans wherever they are. As every drinks can is infinitely recyclable without loss of quality, capturing cans used in workplaces and ‘on the go’ locations such as shopping centres, universities, and beaches can make a considerable contribution towards any business’s environmental goals.

In 2011 the programme accounted for 51 million used beverage cans collected for recycling, which equates to 774 tonnes of aluminium and steel collected from workplaces and ‘on the go’ locations across the UK. To date there are 700 organisation signed up to the programme, many of which are working towards ambitious sustainability objectives, such as zero waste to landfill.

Year on year, workplaces registered with the programme have experienced a 25% increase in drinks can recycling performance, with the average employee at registered workplaces recycling five cans per month. Feedback from registered organisations also show that encouraging and promoting recycling through Every Can Counts has a knock on effect, increasing demand for, and participation in, recycling of other materials.

The appeal of Every Can Counts is clear: it provides an attractive, branded programme which is easy to adopt, complements existing recycling schemes and is appealing to staff and customers. The programme combines practical support to businesses wanting to start recycling, or improve their recycling performance. Support ranges from help finding a recycling service provider, supplying collection containers and can crushers, advising on methods of promoting the programme and providing a comprehensive range of promotional materials, many of which are free of charge. Video case studies of how the programme has successfully been implemented in organisations such as Jaguar Land Rover, Emap and Durham University have also proven to be a useful resource for facilities managers. 

The programme is also a measurable recycling system, meaning it can help towards certifications such as ISO 14001 accreditation. Additionally, pre-treatment of waste legislation requires all business waste to be sorted for recycling prior to landfill, so establishing Every Can Counts enables a business to achieve compliance at very little cost, or effort.

Every Can Counts will be at Stand S20 at The Facilities Show in May 2012 providing more information and support to organisations looking to increase recycling rates and demonstrate their commitment CSR and sustainability objectives to staff and customers. Businesses and their employees want to waste less and recycle more. Working in partnership with established programmes, facilities managers can take measurable strides towards achieving this and other business environmental goals.

To find out more about how Every Can Counts is helping businesses achieve their sustainability objectives visit:  www.everycancounts.co.uk/business



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