sustainability

Color-Coding Your Waste Containers

Everyday it seems that businesses, institutions and organizations are setting zero waste or zero waste to landfill goals. If that is the case with your organization, you may be adding composting (or organics) to your breadth of waste that you are collecting.  Labeling and color coding containers is an easy way to help direct people on where to put things.  Typically blue has been the designated color for recycling containers; that decision was made long ago by someone and it stuck.  Red has been long known for hazardous materials.  Grey or beige have been popular colors used for trash collection.  So what color should be used to designate composting?

We started composting at Nichols almost four years ago and with no guidance at that time, we chose to use green for our composting collection containers, we didn’t have a particular reason to do that is just felt right.  Recently the national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful and the United States Composting Council (USCC) announced that they, along with five other participating nonprofits and government agencies, recommend designating green as the voluntary container color standard for organics collection containers.  This initiative was simultaneously announced at the USCC’s 25th Annual Conference in Los Angeles and at the Keep America Beautiful National Conference in Washington, D.C., in January 2017.  We would like to think that we had some influence in that decision, but probably not.  See related article

So what can you compost besides food scraps and yard waste?  Any organic waste, paper towels, any paper-based food wrappers, containers and bags, paper cups, coffee grounds and filters, napkins, facial tissue, paper plates, waxed paper cartons, pizza boxes, wood scraps, cardboard and paper products that have been contaminated with food or are wet since they cannot be recycled.

This Rubbermaid side container can fit inside or outside any of the standard Rubbermaid Waste Baskets

It is so important to make it easy for your employees, guests, students, patients or anyone in your facilities or offices to choose the appropriate containers and standardizing with container colors and signage across all locations in your buildings will help.  Now you know you can safely choose green to collect compostable materials.  Rubbermaid came out with these cute little side containers a number of years ago and we use them at Nichols for compost materials at each desk location and then larger green containers in the Café area and restrooms for paper towel collection.

Contact us for more information on waste collection containers or to request a waste audit

Product Information:
RDC2950 side container (Blue, Black, Green)

RDC2956-73 28 Qt Recycling Container