The Thin Green Line
Programs like office paper, glass and can recycling are often implemented by a business’s ”green team’ or as part of a corporate sustainability program. These programs help not only the environment but also provide a tangible aspect to a businesses green image and environmental responsibility. A corporate officer or employee can easily see the recycling bins and see what they have accomplished. However a company may not be subject to EPA fines if the program is improperly managed or liable for incorrect storage of these items.* Would a EPA auditor say “Hey those aluminum cans and paper for shredding have no accumulation date.” or “What is your procedure to guard against environmental breach of those Snapple bottles?”. Most likely not. So when does environmental responsibility become a environmental requirement? Answer: When a company generates used lamps, batteries, ewaste, ballasts or mercury devices.
While used fluorescent lamps are taken away to the proper storage containers in the back of a facility may not be in your face “look at us we recycle” it is still environmentally friendly and most importantly is the LAW. Simple things such as having a universal waste recycling program, trained staff or properly stored containers with accumulation dates can help companies be compliant and reduce their liability. All of these things can be accomplished without a environmental health and safety officer or being a draw on budgets. The below are a few simple steps to successful universal waste recycling:
1) Learn & Educate-Understand your state’s regulations and specifics on universal waste
• What is Universal Waste? • RCRA Requirements • My State’s Regs
2) Assess Your Company- Take a general look at what universal waste your company produces and how often. See if you are a small or large generator3) Plan the Program- Based on the amount of waste generated see if a national mail-back program or bulk pick-up service is needed. Also look at factors beyond quantities such as ease of management, your facilities locations, or specific needs of your industry.
4) Implement & Monitor- Once you have selected the proper program be sure to implement it company-wide, educate employees, monitor progress, keep recycling records/certificates and evaluate the program yearly.
5) Have Questions or Need Assistance? Get Help-Call 877.822.4733 to discuss your company’s specific needs, implement a new program or to enhance a current one.
*depending on what state your company is in this may not be true. Check your local laws and regulations.