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Make the switch to centralized waste bins

Save money & meet your sustainability goals

Is inflation putting pressure on your company’s budget? If you’re looking for ways to save money on cleaning costs without sacrificing quality or service, one of the best steps you can take is installing centralized waste bins in your facility. Compared to traditional, under-desk trash and recycling bins, centralized collection points save money on labor and divert more waste from landfills.

How do centralized waste bins save you money?

It takes approximately 1-2 minutes for a janitor to empty individual trash and recycling bins and replace the liners. Doesn’t sound like much time at all, right? But once you start looking at the math, it adds up quickly.

Let’s analyze a hypothetical office with 50 employees:

  • 50 desks x 2 minutes = 1.67 labor hours per day

Now multiply that by 249 working days per year (excluding federal holidays).

  • 1.67 labor hours x 249 working days = 415.83 labor hours/year

How does that translate to dollars and cents?

Labor costs vary by location, but let’s estimate $30/hour for labor:

  • 415.83 labor hours x $30 = $12,474.90/year

How much labor can you save by eliminating all those individual bins?

Great Forest, a waste management consulting firm, measured the financial impact of installing centralized waste stations and calculated an 80% reduction in associated labor costs.

And it’s not just the extra labor that impacts your bill. Think about the cost of all those trash bags! If you’re emptying each individual trash can every day, that’s 50 bags/day for our hypothetical office. Even if every bag only costs a few cents, the annual expense is significant.

Are centralized waste stations better for the environment?

Yes. And here’s why – properly separating items into different waste streams takes more thought and intention than dropping them into a bin under a desk. With a centralized system, you have the opportunity to educate users about which items can be recycled or composted and which items go in the trash. Many people assume that all plastic can be recycled (not true) or put items that could be recycled in the trash. Setting up color-coded bins and clearly labeled signs showing which items belong in each bin will help users to sort items correctly and divert waste from landfills.

Portland customers – order or download waste station posters, stickers and more, right here!

Place centralized waste stations strategically

The best places are high-traffic, common areas that don’t require employees to travel far from their desks. It may be helpful to create “pods” by placing a centralized waste station near a cluster of desks or offices. How many of these pods you create depends on the occupancy of your building.

Analyze office traffic patterns and place bins between workstations and other commonly visited areas, like elevators or restrooms. You should also place waste stations in or near the breakroom or cafeteria.

Centralized waste bins come in many different styles to accommodate any size space or design aesthetic. Check out this video from Rubbermaid for one example!

Tips to help your employees transition

Making a big change that impacts daily routines around your office takes good planning and clear communication. It’s possible that you’ll need to respond to questions and concerns from your staff.

Here are some tips for a smooth transition:

  • Give plenty of notice before removing the under-desk bins
  • Schedule a Q&A session to explain why you’re making the change
  • Ask employees for waste station placement suggestions – their input is valuable 
  • Address any accessibility concerns (i.e. will the centralized bins be wheelchair-accessible?)

Streamline your cleaning services & save money!

Tired of managing multiple cleaning companies? We offer everything from basic janitorial to highly specialized cleaning services AND seasonal building maintenance under one, simple contract! Our plans are efficient, cost-effective and tailored to your unique needs. Schedule a cleaning consultation with us today to get started!