A publication of the Cedar Mill Business Association
Volume 1, Issue 4
April 2003

Smart Business Recycling

Reducing the amount of trash your business creates is the best way to reduce monthly waste disposal costs and improve your company’s bottom line. All waste reduction activities -- be they waste prevention, reuse, or recycling practices -- will help you achieve your goal of reducing the amount you pay for waste disposal and sending less trash to landfills.

Take advantage of the tips listed below to help you reduce your waste. For additional information, contact the Washington County Cooperative Recycling Program (503)846-8609.


  • Work with suppliers to encourage them to deliver goods in reusable containers that they take back. This practice reduces the need for disposal or recycling on your part, and may save your suppliers money, possibly reducing your costs.
  • Ensure that mailing lists are kept current and send out only one mailing per address. Specify “address correction requested” on all mailings.
  • Ask suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging used to ship goods if it appears to be excessive and not necessary.
  • Reuse foam packaging “peanuts” or contact the Metro Recycling Information Hotline to find out ways to recycle it and other items that aren’t collected by your hauler. (503) 234-3000.
  • Donate salvageable display racks, damaged stock/inventory, office equipment, and furniture to local charity organizations. Visit NW Materialsmart to find out about ways to exchange materials online.www.nwmaterialsmart.org/
  • Metro has a Buyers Guide to Recycled Products on their website use the search feature to find suppliers that will provide everything from office supplies to construction materials. www.metro-region.org/article.cfm?ArticleID=2728
  • Reuse pallets, ask suppliers to take them back, or store them onsite for collection.
  • Send computer printer and photocopier toner cartridges back to the vendor for remanufacturing.
  • Cut down on the number of reports made. Wherever possible, keep information stored on electronic media instead of printing reports.

Getting started with recycling

  • Keep it simple: Begin with a few items that are easily recycled in your community. Commonly recycled materials include office paper, cardboard, scrap paper, glass and deposit cans and bottles.
  • Make it convenient: Place visible recycling containers in easy-access locations. Containers should look different in shape or color than standard garbage cans.
  • Use prominent signs: Label all recycling containers with bold, easy-to-understand signs. Use wall signs also if possible.
  • Promote recycling: Take every opportunity to encourage employees to recycle.
  • Recruit recycling volunteers: Ensure recycling goes smoothly by assigning volunteers to monitor recycling containers and answer questions.