Cost: Medium ($100 to $500)

Commitment: High

Green Impact: 3 out of 5

If your office regularly shovels recyclable materials into the trash, it might be breaking the law.

Check with your municipal solid-waste or environmental protection department to find out whether commercial recycling is mandated. If so, diplomatically remind building management that they need to comply.

But even if your city hasn't yet cracked down on offices, there's still plenty you can do.

1. Find out what (if anything!), how, and where your city recycles. If there's no curbside pickup, determine where the nearest municipal recycling drop-off center is. (If there isn't one, skip to step 4.)

2. Get your office manager on board. Hold a staff meeting to discuss collecting recyclables, and set up a rotation for putting them out or taking them to the nearest recycling center. If your office generates too much for staff to haul once a week, ask your local environmental protection agency to recommend a private carter or hauler.

3. Distribute bins for paper, plastic, metal, glass, and (if your office has a kitchen) food waste. The latter can often be donated to community gardens for composting; inquire at nearby farmers' markets.

4. If you don't have a municipal recycling center, use local businesses' recycling services. To find them, just enter the materials ("paper," "CDs," "bottles") at


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