Five pillars for a successful sorting project

Sorting in your organisation may seem simple at first sight but in practice it often turns out to be a challenge. You can assure a solid foundation for a successful sorting project with these five pillars: commitment, monitoring, infrastructure, involvement and logistics.

1. COMMITMENT

Managerial commitment is crucial for the success of any sorting project. Management must understand why sorting is important and demonstrate their support for the project. A designated person responsible for the project should also be appointed and sufficient resources - people and budget - must be set aside.

TIP:

Ask your management to demonstrate their commitment through a declaration of intent posted in the reception area, and by being present at the project’s launch meeting.

2. MONITORING

Analyse the current situation

Which waste flows are the most usual? Which should be sorted? What quantities are involved? Think about your target audience. Are only your employees involved or does the company also have visitors? Are there target groups such as children or foreign-language speakers who require specific communication approaches? This helps you to better target your plans and assess what exactly you will need.

Follow the results closely

After launch, it’s important to closely monitor your sorting project. Analyse the quality of the collected flows, identifying the biggest problems. Involve maintenance personnel and take their experiences into account. Conclude clear agreements with your waste partner to obtain the necessary information (see the Logistics pillar) and analyse their reports and invoices. Monitor the quantities collected from each waste flow.

TIP: Motivate and provide feedback

Communicate the results of your sorting project to your employees and visitors, stating how much is being sorted and how the quality is evolving. This will motivate those who sort efficiently and will help persuade those who have any remaining doubts. This is also the opportunity to draw attention to areas for improvement. For example, bottles and cans must be empty if they are to be given new life.

 

3. INFRASTRUCTURE

The well-considered choice and optimal arrangement of waste bins make correct sorting easier for everyone. The smallest details can make a difference.

Waste bins are available in all sizes and weights (see list of suppliers). Think carefully about your choice and take into account the quantity and type of waste you expect. Custom bins are also available and can help people avoid placing waste in the wrong bin: a circular opening is ideal for PMD, slotted bins for paper, and so on. Ensure that there are enough waste bins to hand, preferably everywhere people eat or drink or where people pass frequently such as in the cafeteria, at drink dispensers, in meeting rooms and in reception areas.

TIP: Group the waste bins in attractive sorting islands

Place the various waste bins as close together as possible, in sorting islands. Everyone can immediately see that waste is collected separately and that not everything goes in the same container. The islands make the bins more conspicuous and emptying is easier. Make sure that the sorting zones are clean and attractive so that people feel enthused about sorting.

Clear communication on every waste bin

Make clear what belongs where and provide a clear label on each waste bin. You can use the Fost Plus stickers for this. A combination of pictograms and text is ideal. Make the bins even more easily recognisable by using the familiar colour codes: blue for PMD, yellow for paper/cardboard, green for glass, and grey or black for residual waste. Use only the official blue PMD bags for the PMD bins.

4. INVOLVEMENT

Keep colleagues, customers and visitors informed

Sorting seems simple, but it represents a significant change in employee habits. Consequently, not everyone will start sorting spontaneously.

Good communication is essential. Keep your employees informed that they can (and should) sort their waste and specify how it is done. Use all possible channels: email, internal newsletters, social media, etc. Our standard emails can provide you with a model. A staff meeting can be an ideal opportunity to launch your sorting project. Make it clear to visitors, customers and suppliers that they need to sort. You can use our posters for this.

TIP: Keep motivation high and don't forget the cleaning team!

Once sorting starts, it is important to continue to motivate your employees. It is a crucial element in the change process.

Keep the cleaning teams and maintenance staff, both internal and external, informed of your plans. Show them what to do with the different waste bins, and which bags and collection containers to use in the waste areas. Only the official blue bags are to be used for PMD. Also, refresh their knowledge of the sorting rules. This can easily be done online with our e-learning module.

 

5. LOGISTICS

When you sort your PMD at the source, you naturally want it to be recycled at the end of its journey. So, it’s important to choose an accreditedwaste disposal partner.

Monitor the entire chain, from the people responsible for emptying the bins to the waste partner who collects the fractions. Ensure that the different fractions remain separate throughout the chain and end up in the correct containers.

Contact an accredited waste disposal partner. Most companies and organisations rely on an accredited waste partner to collect and process their PMD and other waste fractions. In some cases, it may be sufficient to amend your current contract with your waste partner. Pay due attention to the contract: adjust the collection frequency to your real needs, and request a regular overview of the quantities collected and the quality of each type of waste.

Smaller companies, and organisations with relatively limited quantities of waste, can offer their waste through the municipality’s household collection.

Consult the list of accredited collectors, who can offer a "PMD companies" contract.

TIP

Regularly discuss the results of sorting, the quantities collected and their quality, with your waste partner. Also, ask them to use the official bags for "PMD companies".