Cans, glass, paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, pallets, ewaste, scrap metal. These are all items that may be generated at your place of business. They are also items that could be recycled. 

If you do not currently have a recycling program at work, you are probably wondering where to begin. We have some basic steps below to help you get started, or consider attending a free seminar.

Can I Recycle at My Workplace? Yes, You Can.

Recycling is not one-size-fits-all for every business. Just like a pair of jeans, it has to be appropriate in all the right places. There is not one single, easy answer that will solve this. 


Consider Your Options

Small to mid-size companies may decide to capture beverage cans and bottles only or mixed paper and cardboard. Generally, there are not enough recyclables in smaller offices to make it profitable for a recycling company to come and pick them up. A dedicated staff member, janitorial company or volunteer could simply take those items home for recycling or drop them off at a designated location such as: 

  • Aluminum Cans for Burned Children drop-offs at fire departments
  • Cardboard and mixed paper drop-offs at the Cleveland Metroparks, city service departments, places of worship, community centers or school parking lots
  • Repeat Glass drop-off bin
  • There are no drop-offs for plastic bottles

Drop-offs work best for companies with less than 20 employees. These companies typically do do not have access to a recycling bin from their waste hauler.


If you are a large company (100+ staff members) or a mid-size company that wants to do more than just capture cans and bottles, it will take a bit more effort to put recycling in place. You will need to have a dedicated individual (or two) and be willing to do some research about your company. Get started by gathering: 

  • Your most current waste and recycling bills
  • A copy of your company?s waste hauling contract.

Set Some Goals

Every company has goals or values that they work hard to achieve. What is the recycling goal for your workplace? Are you simply trying to capture beverage cans and bottles? Would you prefer to go zero-waste if possible? Our business recycling specialist can help assist with setting up your recycling program. We can interview key people in the company and do walk-throughs of your facility or space, including offices, break rooms and warehouse space.

Conduct a Waste Audit

Doing a walk-through of a company is a key to the success of a new or improved recycling program. Your employees may already be capturing scrap metal and cardboard during work day operations. There may be some staff members with mixed paper recycling bins under their desks.


During a walk-through, our business recycling specialist will examine your existing program, locate facility recycling bins, observe signage, take a look at recycling education materials and determine opportunities for waste reduction.


We recommend doing a formal hands-on waste audit whenever possible. Larger facilities may have enough of certain commodities like paper, cardboard, aluminum cans and other materials that may pay a rebate from private recycling companies. In addition, a waste audit can provide a baseline from which to measure your future recycling success. The Solid Waste District will not conduct a waste audit for you, but will assist if you need help with the process. 



See a Report

After the walk-through and the accompanying waste audit, our business recycling specialist will provide you with a report of findings. The report will include:

  • Waste audit results and recommendations on the commodities to recycle and how.
  • Suggestions for renegotiating your waste hauling and recycling contract or bidding out for service to get a better price.
  • Input for decisions on providers and the best service options for your workplace
  • Ideas on how to involve your employees or janitorial staff in decisions regarding recycling collection and removal.

After receiving and reviewing the report, your company can make an informed decisions about who to contact and hire as waste and recycling providers.

Some Final Notes

The Solid Waste District offers many resources for area businesses.

We are here to help. For an in-depth discussion and free assistance with starting a recycling program in your workplace, contact our business recycling specialist at (216) 443-3732 or send an email.