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My workplace is super wastefull! Some ideas please.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Uuuuugh.....where do I even start with this one?

There are 2 drink machines (Coke and Pepsi) that sell pop and water in the kitchen at work. Yet there is no bin to recycle our bottles and cans or the many newspapers that get scattered around. They do have some bins around the common area of the call center where I work,but none of the "kitchen" stuff makes it's way to them. Most of the garbage in the 4 garbage cans could be recycled.

There is also a coffee machine,the kind that takes money. They supply styrofoam cups and often run out. Mostly b/c some one will come in and get a few sips of water and then toss the cup. Others will come in later looking for a cup to use for coffee and there won't be any left. One woman actually made a cup of coffee in one of the cups and then transferred it to her own plastic cup!: (see my other post about water wasters in the bathroom,she's the one who thinks water is free)

I'd like to send HR a message about the need to recycle more. I just want to be sure it's clear message that they will actually take into consideration and find helpful. I'm new at work and heard that they used to have a comment box but it was taken away when they got to many "stupid" comments by people who would complain about everything or make silly things up. When I complained and gave them feedback about they they did my training I believe they listened to me b/c tonight I found out they changed they way they train the new people It looks like they now use some of the ideas I gave them.

We NEED those recycle bins in the kitchen and maybe some notes to be up about recycling and a few more bins in the center as well. Maybe ones designed for bottles would help. I don't think they should offer those cups at all anymore b/c of how people misuse them to often. It's just as easy to bring your own cup or spend $1.25 on bottled water. They should turn the fountain back on as well. Tonight I saw a guy drink directly from the small water purifier thing we have and then when that didn't work well he drank directly from the sink! Gross!!!!

I never,ever drink water while at work!!!

I like the idea of having normal cups provided to us that we wash after,but even though there is a dishwasher I know not everyone would do their part in putting a cup in it and letting someone in HR start the dishwasher at the end of the night

Any ideas on how to word what needs to be done and how to go about doing it?
post #2 of 14
I can tell from your threads this has really got your goat right now - and rightly so IMO. However, I think in these situations if we really want to change something that seems ingrained we have to cool a little and think about how we can influence those changes without alienating people - because that will so not work. a very wise man I shared an office with once told me always to be hard on the issue never on the person, taking this into account has always worked for me. I know you wanted to kick the water waster, frankly I would have felt like it too, glad you didn't , but if this is the sort of attitude you're gonna come against you'll need a gently gently approach, it might not change things over night but changing things slowly is better than becoming perceived as the office "green nut" who people might revolt against.

In most situations it is better to "be the change you wish to see". Why not bring your own reusable cups (if you don't already), if the machines are often running out of cups then other people might see this as a practical solution for them even if they don't care about the environmental issues.

Regarding the recycling, you don't mention how big your work place is - but could you offer to be recycling monitor (i.e. you collect up at least some of the recycling) if they replace the bins? If not for the whole company then just your section of it? It may be extra work for you but when we care about these things sometimes we have to take it on the chin that "someone" is not going to do these things for us, it would also reflect positively on your character with the powers that be that you are a "doer" , it sounds like they don't react too well to "complainers". I suspect not all of your colleagues are bad apples and if they see you putting in this extra work, you'll no doubt get some of them doing it for themselves and some help when you're collecting up other people's stuff.

I'm sure you can think of other more site specific situations where you could take this approach too.

I know it's hard when you just wish everyone would do the right thing and some act like complete idiots about it - just take a deep breath, remember that there is always scope for change and just get on with giving a good example.

HTH, Sadystar :
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ok,maybe I should clear something up here.....when I said I felt like kicking the woman in the bathroom who was wasting water I didn't mean I WOULD actually kick the woman! I would NOT have kicked her no matter how angry I was with her. That would be a great way to lose my job and get into even more trouble.

I'm now really hurt that it seems like some people are assuming that I'm so angry that I would actually kick someone and that I'm going to alienate my co-workers. I said what I said in the other post b/c it had just happened that night and I needed to vent a little,which is a very normal thing to do and healthy. I also thought this would be a safe place to do that.

After making the post about wasting water I got to thinking that other things need to be better about recycling in our office and made this post to get ideas,good ideas that I could share with my HR department and see if I can help bring about some change. I asked here b/c I want to sound more professional/smart/practical when I give my suggestions. I can't just say "not recycling is stupid,get some boxes in the kitchen". That is the kind of thing that wouldn't get listened to and when I do have a good idea later that wouldn't be listened to either.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sadystar View Post
In most situations it is better to "be the change you wish to see". Why not bring your own reusable cups (if you don't already), if the machines are often running out of cups then other people might see this as a practical solution for them even if they don't care about the environmental issues.

There are some people who do bring their own cups and reuse them and I would as well if I were going to get a coffee. I have taken my own bottles home from work and recycled them there,but not sure if people noticed that

Regarding the recycling, you don't mention how big your work place is - but could you offer to be recycling monitor (i.e. you collect up at least some of the recycling) if they replace the bins?

My company is a large call center with about 150 people in and out during the day I'd guess. All what they call "part time employees" who are in and out at different times and there are close to 250 who actually work for this office. I wouldn't really have a way to collect any of the recycling myself. I'm not allowed to stay after work to collect anything (you must leave within 5 minutes of the end of your shift) or anywhere to put it if I did come in 20 minutes early (as early as you're allowed to come in) as I can't have anything other then my purse,backpack and jacket at my desk. The building is quite big (about 15 floors maybe) but we only rent one floor and I'm not allowed to go to the floor they do take the recycling to. The janitor for the whole building does all this. I really wouldn't be allowed to for security reasons.
We have a lot of teenagers/younger people at my workplace and I think that some of them made some "silly complaints" and suggestions and the comment box was taken away. Comments like "we need a Tim Hortons counter in the kitchen" or something! lol The kids who made those complaints probably aren't even there now (call center=high turnover rate) but comment box hasn't been returned. We are encouraged to speak in private with HR if there is something we want to "complain" about or suggest and I've done that when it came to the training I felt wasn't helpful to me and a few others in my group.

It's important that I go to HR and make the right suggestions to them so they can implement them and make new policies with out sounding like a "green nut". I know if they out in the recycle bins more people would use them. There are lots of vegetarian/: types in my work.

I just want them to add a few more recycle bins,stop supplying paper cups,turn the water fountain back on and ask people to help out more. I'm not asking for them to supply us with "office cloth" in the bathrooms
post #5 of 14
I didn't think you literally wanted to kick her, neither would I - I could just empathise with your frustration - I'm a brit we use that kind of language all the time without actually meaning it (good job or I'd be in prison right now for all the people I "could've killed").

OK well I can see that being hands-on with the recycling is no-go for all the reasons you state. So how about you find some sympathetic and sensible ears amongst your colleagues and you make the suggestion to re-install the recycling bins together - you don't have to go as a gang, but two or three of you would make it apparent that there is some consensus and take the pressure off you, you may find that some of your colleagues have avoided making the suggestion for fear of being labelled "the" green nut.

The water issue seems odd - surely they are legally obliged to provide you with free potable water or have I missed something? Ah maybe it's because you can drink from a water fountain without the need for a cup? In that case I'd make the suggestion in terms of money and resources they will save whilst being green at the same time (all companies like to save $ and claim it's because they care about the environment!).

Reusable cups you may have a problem with, that might be the one you get some kick back from, offices can be a vipers nest when it comes to little petty inconveniences ("you mean I have to walk all the way to the dishwasher and put the cup in myself? they don't pay me for that"). I totally agree with you, but if I were playing this in a way to get what I wanted, I'd probably go for the other things first, see how they go down and let people get used to it. When you do make the suggestion, perhaps it can be put again in terms of cost. May be you can suggest they get some reusable cups with the corporate logo and some slogan about how they are saving the planet (!) by providing them.

Above all, start a conversation with your colleagues, find your allies and find out as much as you can about whether these things have be broached before and where things went wrong .

The same wise man I spoke of before, also taught me to begin any criticism with a positive (preferably 2), sometimes you might have to look hard for them, but a little flattery can make most people more receptive to any idea. I don't know your workplace but for me this would involve pointing out the reason you feel able to come and make suggestions is that you feel that you have been listened to and your ideas taken on board in the past, saying that environmental issues mean a lot to you and you can see that the company is making a good effort by doing X (this is where you might have to wrack your brains specially if they are not making an effort, but if you can find any little thing - signs encouraging people to switch off lights, providing cycle spaces, using less paper by doing most stuff on computer - it will definitely help) and that you have some other simple suggestions that you think will not only help the environment but save the company money in the long run......

And if you decide to take anyone with you for support just make sure they are cool with playing things this way and aren't likely to be of the "not having recycling bins is stupid" mentality.

hope that's more useful, Sadystar x
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
I do like the idea of going in with a co-worker,but sadly I'm alone in these types of things. When I talked to some other new people at work they all had the same problems as I did,but they said they didn't want to do anything about it and they'd just turn out fine in time. I was the only one who sent my HR department a note about and later on spoke with someone about the issues.

My "office" isn't like the typical office you may be thinking of. It's a call center with loads of people who come in and out,most are students or younger people and the shifts are short so more people come in and out then even most call centers. Sometimes I don't even see certain co-workers for a week or more at a time and I haven't made "outside of work" friendships yet so can't really talk about the recycling issues much at work and not at all outside of work.

We do have potable water in the form of water dispenser that's somehow hooked up the wall,but you need a cup or bottle for it and there's also the sink. There is a water fountain in the hallway,but they shut that off.

I love the ideas with coffee cups with the logo on it,they do have these,but not for the interviewers like me and my co-workers. Our supervisors etc... have a separate kitchen as well. To many people in our kitchen don't clean it and do think it's the cleaning staff job to do everything or they leave a mess at their desk for the next person who sits there. When that happens I do clean it,but I also let my supervisor know so he can tell that person he needs to clean it next time or maybe even get an infraction for breaking a rule.

What I'm really looking for here is the right words to use when I suggest that we have some well placed recycle bins in the kitchen,maybe some paper towels at the sink,and maybe re-thinking the idea of supplying free paper cups. They can easily make it a policy that people bring their own mugs for coffee and take them home each night.
post #7 of 14
I'm only going to go with one thought, the water fountain... why would they turn off a water fountain? Is it still there and the water supply has just been disconnected? tht seems odd... do they sell bottled water? Are they making a huge profit on the water, getting a % of the soda machine monies or what? Not having a water fountain is just weird... I think. That said... what to do?

Could you send an emil or a letter/ or stop by 'the powers that be' the HR department maybe and inquire about the water fountain and ask the why and once you know the reason behind that then asking that it be turned back on?

Small steps, in one way it makes sense to come up with ideas for all the different wastefulness problems that are happeneing, submit them all at once and hope they pick the easy ones (in their minds) to fix, but maybe if you tossed out one idea at a time that they may actually implement the changes to all of them.

okay how about soda cans? aluminum? could you get them to save and donate the cans to some sort of youth group that made money from their sell? Some sort of 'cause' or something. Maybe even if it was only for the next couple of months during the holiday season?... I don't know, not a long term solution and really not a good attitude to take on things but imagine headilines in the local paper... XYZ company was able to raise $200 that was donated to ABC food bank that provided a hot meal for the needy or something with all the news/paper buzz/ good deeds that XYZ company is doing for the community it may ... I don't know... it is so hard to change the way big companies do things, but one thing is for certain if someone would suggest a viable plan it to happen, more chances that it actually will happen, you might just need to be that person.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have no idea why they would turn off the water fountain. It's such an odd thing to do. Maybe to many people complained about the water tasting bad? The machines we have do sell water,juice and soft drinks and at "decent" prices for a machine. Cheaper then at the corner store near my work.

Oh and they also waste the little cloths we use at the start of a shift to clean our booths with. I mean some people take about 5-10 wipes to clean the keyboard,head phones and mouse. I take just one. I think they should limit it to 1-2 wipes per use. There is no reason that 5-10 need to be used!

My plan is to send an e-mail to HR with some questions and some suggestions on how we can be less wasteful. Suggestions that sound practical and easy and cheap to start doing.

The donating money to a cause with the cans and bottles is a super idea! Thank you!!! I'll look into that for sure.
post #9 of 14
It is against legal codes in the US to not have an operating water fountain. Period. I'd be quick to point that out to the building management (anonymously )
post #10 of 14
My suggested letter:

Dear HR,
I have noticed there is nowhere to recycle the high volume of beverage bottles and cans purchased in the kitchen. I, as well as others, would appreciate recycling bins to use. This would save the company money as well as be environmentally friendly.

I would also like to see the water fountain turned on. I believe this to be a necessity. Without it, people are drinking out of the sink, or wasting several styrofoam cups per shift. If this is not possible, please consider providing reusable cups.

I believe these changes would improve productivity, and save the company money, while making us more 'green'.

Signed (or not signed),
You
post #11 of 14
Older water fountains often contain all sorts of bad stuff. Many offices are switching to water purification systems because of this. So I don't think having a water purifier on the sink and people needing to fill a cup with that water should be an issue.

If you are on such tight regulations that one must leave within 5 minutes of ending a shift, its not clear just when people will have time to wash cups and such. The company isn't going to want to pay for people to do this on company time - they need to do it at the end of their shift.

I'm not saying these things to discourage you. I just think that you need to consider them when framing your request to HR.
post #12 of 14
Those are both good points. You might want to start small and just ask for somewhere to recycle, while setting a good example and bringing your own reusable cup or bottle.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pumpkin View Post
Older water fountains often contain all sorts of bad stuff. Many offices are switching to water purification systems because of this. So I don't think having a water purifier on the sink and people needing to fill a cup with that water should be an issue.

If you are on such tight regulations that one must leave within 5 minutes of ending a shift, its not clear just when people will have time to wash cups and such. The company isn't going to want to pay for people to do this on company time - they need to do it at the end of their shift.

I'm not saying these things to discourage you. I just think that you need to consider them when framing your request to HR.
In the kitchen there is a sink to wash dishes or hands or whatever and the water is drinkable,thought it isn't filtered. Across from the sink is a water filter thing (for lack of a better word) that you can get clean,cold and filtered water from if you have a cup. I refuse to use this though since I have seen so many people put their water used (aka dirty) bottles right against the dispenser to fill them. Ewwwwww! A totally different issue though. I bring my own drink or buy an apple juice from the machine for $1.75 (reasonable price).

When I said 5 minutes,that was an exagertation (now I'm annoyed I can't spell that right). You do need to get going as soon as you can though at the end of the shift to make room for the person who comes in to take over your desk when you leave. On break you would have time to wash a cup OR put it in the dishwasher before returning to your desk.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by weliveintheforest View Post
My suggested letter:

Dear HR,
I have noticed there is nowhere to recycle the high volume of beverage bottles and cans purchased in the kitchen. I, as well as others, would appreciate recycling bins to use. This would save the company money as well as be environmentally friendly.

I would also like to see the water fountain turned on. I believe this to be a necessity. Without it, people are drinking out of the sink, or wasting several styrofoam cups per shift. If this is not possible, please consider providing reusable cups.

I believe these changes would improve productivity, and save the company money, while making us more 'green'.

Signed (or not signed),
You
I think I might just have to copy and paste this it's so perfect! lol I have talked to a few co-workers about the wasting of cups and the lack of a water fountain. They feel the same way I do,but would never say anything to HR about it. Chickens! lol
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