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4 Ways To Convince The Older Generation To Recycle

Aug. 22, 2019

The importance of recycling has been engrained into the minds of the younger generation for years now, but this concept can still seem new to the older generation.

We get it, it can be hard to wrap your head around. “Why not just throw your paper into the trash? We’ve been doing it for years.” With climate change and environmental issues on the rise, this is a mentality we need to break and we need everyone to get on board.

It’s easy to recycle and every little bit makes a difference. Check out our top 4 ways to convince the older generation to recycle:

1. Make your recycling program easy for everyone

The biggest barrier to recycling is that it can seem inconvenient and confusing. People want to do the right thing when it comes to recycling, but we need to make it simple, clear, and consistent. To make it easy, use high impact recycling graphics on your recycling bins. Not only will this eliminate confusion, but it will ensure quick decisions are made. Make sure your graphics are clear with detailed images, at eye level, colourful and kept simple with 3-6 images maximum.  Don’t clutter and confuse your labels by showing multiple versions of the same thing.

Another way to make recycling easy is to keep your waste and recycling streams together. Make it a one-stop collection. Don’t place the garbage stream on the opposite side of the room as the recycling stream. Keep your streams together and placed in high traffic areas so that they are easily accessible.  When your streams are separated people don’t have the choice of where to dispose of their garbage, so they often just toss it into the closest bin. This causes contamination in your recycling and waste streams, which is detrimental to your sustainability goals because contaminated recycling will often end up in the landfill rather than properly sorted at the Material Recovery Facilities. Convenience is everything in helping people do the right thing!

2. Explain how recycling programs can make an extra buck on the side

Many of today’s business owners are of an older generation and may not even be aware of the financial benefits when comes to becoming a more sustainable organization.  Without an effective recycling program in place, your organization could be throwing away thousands of dollars every year.

When companies make sustainable choices and implement recycling programs, they have the potential to sell their recyclable waste for alternative uses. This helps organizations earn back the money that was used to finance the program, and can even generate more money than the original cost.

Here are just some of those items that can be recycled for cash:

  • Scrap metal: Copper, steel and aluminum.
  • Car batteries
  • Wine corks
  • Bottles and cans: By returning cans and bottles you can redeem cash, roughly 5-10 cents a bottle.
  • Gift cards
  • Electronics: Even if the phone is broken, companies will take it to be disposed of properly. Many cell phone providers will trade electronics for gift cards.
  • Ink cartridges
  • Tennis balls: There are 300 million tennis balls manufactured each year from rubber that is not biodegradable. A small company, called “Rebounces” will give you money in exchange for tennis balls.
  • Soap

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