Open Plan Recycling

Gone are the days of closed offices and cubicles. Many companies, from start-ups to corporates, are working in open-plan offices. Open plan and agile workspaces are becoming increasingly popular due to their positive effect on encouraging collaboration, innovation and company culture. 

But not just any open plan office space can achieve these positive aspirations. Crafting the perfect open-plan office means creating a complete employee experience.  Re-thinking the way offices work has also opened up the opportunity to rethink how every aspect of the office is designed too, from the way we work at a desk to the way we recycle.

Open plan recycling reflects the same values of the open plan office through offering visible and accessible bins which foster movement within the workspace and increase engagement between co-workers. Sustainability is becoming a key focus in the modern office, as corporate responsibility and a commitment to environmental initiatives are increasingly being recognised as important for collective action against climate change. Open plan recycling encourages a change in lazy rubbish disposal habits, promoting a collective effort towards achieving sustainability goals. 

Recycling stations have always been an afterthought in corporate offices. Prior to open plan recycling, bins were ugly and often hidden in cabinetry as they completely conflicted with the aesthetic created by architects and designers. However, beautifully designed bins now allow recycling to become integrated with the office aesthetic. Being visible, the bins actively encourage and make it easy for people to separate their waste into different recycling streams.


The Benefits of Open Plan Recycling

First and foremost, open plan recycling stations are visible. Having recycling bins out in the open, ensures staff can easily access them without having to hunt for bins hiding in cabinetry. As it only takes a second to dispose of waste, many people will choose the most accessible and easiest disposal option. If the landfill bin is visible while recycling bins are hidden away, landfill will often become the default option. Free standing recycling bins make all recycling streams equally visible and accessible, transforming recycling into an effortless process.  
Having recycling bins out in the open encourages a sense of accountability when it comes to recycling in the work space. People adopt new habits through watching and following others. As open plan recycling makes recycling a visible process, people become more conscious about doing it properly. When people know they’re being watched, even subconsciously, they tend to make more conscious decisions.

Just as open plan offices give you flexibility in how you work, open plan recycling gives you flexibility in how you recycle. Freestanding recycling stations can be set up where they are needed most, and the number of bins, colours and waste-streams can be customised to cater to the specific needs of your office. Whether you just need a paper recycling bin by the printer, or a full-scale recycling station that separates organics, glass, plastic and landfill, open plan recycling can meet your office’s recycling requirements.

Flexibility is key as recycling evolves. For example, with the recycling of soft plastics becoming more prevalent, having easily interchangeable bins gives you the option of adding or amending waste streams as you see necessary.This need for flexibility is particularly prevalent in larger, corporate fit-outs, where bigger spatial changes occur as teams move or expand and spaces go from boardrooms to training rooms to large format event spaces.

By having shared bins, rather than individual desk bins, cleaners have fewer bins to empty. Clearly defined waste streams allow rubbish to be sorted at source, also saving cleaners time later on.

Finally, for those not easily convinced, encouraging recycling in your workplace can save and even make you money! While there is an initial cost to setting up a functioning recycling system in your workplace, this initiative will pay off within the first few months with significantly reduced costs of sending rubbish to landfill. According to a 2010 Colmar Brunton Better Business, Better World study, 88 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed want to buy from environmentally and socially responsible businesses. People are becoming more ethical consumers and recycling is a great place to start showing your commitment to environmental initiatives in order to attract customers and increase profits.