Greening Up the Office Through Sorting and Recycling

The Story of One Bottle

Once upon a time, there was a bottle. She was sad and lonely because as soon as she was emptied she was thrown under the table where she rolled into a dark corner. The cleaning lady could not find her, so she lay there in the dark. One lonely bottle.

She was very sad there, because she could not fulfill her destiny of being filled once again, but only lay uselessly covered with dust. But, on one of the endless days, someone’s foot accidentally touched her. The bottle was delighted and for good reason. She was found! She was washed, lid removed, and sent to the sorting center. There she saw other bottles, and in the future, she was able to fulfill her destiny by being refilled and becoming a new bottle again.

How the office got into a good habit

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the history of the bottle has taught us a lesson about the importance of recycling by the use of a kind of “sorting station” within the office setting. Originally, our waste removal system could not be called a “sorting station”, as there were only a few containers exclusively for garbage, so this was rather a useful initiative in our office.

The “sorting movement” itself began in our office two years ago. As you know, these things start with some kind of personal pain. One old-timer of sorting Dima, (a team lead of a project not related to ecology), said this: When we go to the forest, to nature, or to the lake, we constantly see garbage, it is depressing and frustrating. Landfills on the outskirts and rubbish left by “outdoor enthusiasts” are destroying the environment and we understand the importance of such initiatives.

The first step was the installation of a plastic collection box, then more were added for tetra packs and glass. In the future a plan to add more containers, but for now these are the solution.

How habits are formed

Understanding the importance of this matter seems obvious, and really, what is so difficult about sorting garbage? But, if we said that it was enough to install the containers and everyone immediately became aware of what to do – we would be lying.

It all started with one of our office colleagues who were concerned about the problem of environmental pollution. Then a couple more people joined, but there were still difficulties in communicating the importance of sorting.

In order to help people understand we implemented a variety of strategies. At first, we made public mailings, made announcements, and pasted stickers. We asked everyone we caught in the kitchen to be conscientious and sort the garbage. Of course, not everyone was immediately convinced by this, but gradually people got used to it and realized that it’s easy and helpful.

What happens to office waste?

Today, more and more companies are trying to implement a sorting system within their offices, because of the realization that environmental problems are becoming more and more real. Furthermore, such initiatives have shown to have a positive effect on teams, work environments and even make an impression on job seekers. Green is good!

Of course, in our reality, sadly more often than not napkins lie in mountains on tables, bottles “hide” under the tables, and the bins are filled with garbage that will never reach the recycling centers. But this does not mean that we are not trying. Before the quarantine, every two weeks our main initiator Dima took out a couple of bags of PET bottles to the sorting base. Now, while we work mainly remotely, there are fewer people in the office, therefore, there is also garbage and Dima still takes care of this issue.

What do we end up with?

While the garbage sorting initiative has taken root, we are still actively encouraging sorting and recycling with every new team member. For people who have unknowingly thrown away garbage most of their lives, it is difficult to rebuild and start washing used containers. Old habits die hard, as they say. But every month the amount of garbage in the bins is shrinking, which means that the initiative has had its intended effect. In general, this can be considered a good sign. In fact, it is especially gratifying when we see someone implement sorting in their daily life and pay attention to this at home.

In general, so far, our efforts are paying off. We will continue to motivate ourselves and others, because if we don’t take care of our planet, who will?