Step Five: Designing Your Recycling Program

Step Five: Design Your Recycling Program

Next, determine the best method for getting recyclables to market. Then decide how to efficiently collect and store these materials at your location.
Determine the Best Option for Getting Recyclables to Market

There are two options for getting recyclables to a market: self-hauling or using a service provider.


For businesses that have amounts too small for a service provider to pick-up, consider self-hauling recyclables to a collection center.
Weigh the following factors:

  • Where can the recyclables be taken? Can they be taken to a local transfer station, or are they items that need to be taken to a Material Recovery Facility in Portland?
  • What are the market specifications for the recyclables?
  • What potential revenues can offset the cost of collection and transportation?
  • Are the markets reliable?
  • Do you have adequate labor and equipment to collect and transport the recyclables?

Most businesses prefer the convenience of having recyclables picked up.

Questions to Ask Your Recycling Service Provider

  • What materials do you collect?
  • How should recyclables be sorted?
  • Is there a minimum amount required for collection?
  • Do you provide collection containers (desk paper trays, bins, barrels, dumpsters, outside storage containers, etc.)?
  • How is the pick-up service scheduled (weekly, on-call, etc.)?
  • What are your payment terms?
  • Do you require a contract for service?
  • Designing a Collection and Storage System

Every recycling program must include a convenient, efficient and clean material collection and storage system.

Consider the following factors when designing your system:

  • Keep the system simple and convenient for customers and employees.
  • Determine when recyclable materials will be collected.
  • Decide who will handle the recyclables at each step of the way.
  • Select the type and size of recycling collection containers needed.
  • Place the collection containers in a convenient and safe location.
  • Label all containers clearly.
  • Choose a location for storing collected recyclables.
  • Identify local zoning and/or fire code requirements relevant to the type, location and possible screening of storage containers.
  • Address workplace safety issues such as heavy lifting, hauling and ergonomics.
  • Training is vital so that everyone who handles recyclables - custodial staff and outside contractors alike - understands how the program works. Plan for staff turnover. Include components of the recycling program when training new custodial staff or hiring a new service.

Design with flexibility in mind. Be ready to change your initial practices as you gather information and learn new handling methods. If your business generates large quantities of materials, consider establishing a pilot program to work out potential problems before expanding the program company-wide.