Getting Senior Management to Support More Extensive Recycling

The vast majority of companies implementing recycling programs realize some degree of success. Waste Management finds that many of its customers easily achieve diversion rates of 50% or more in the initial phase of their recycling program. However, improvement beyond 50% becomes increasingly difficult and often requires business process changes and/or capital equpment investments. Securing management support for these investments and changes can take more effort than the project itself.

Here are five tips that can help you get your senior management on board:

Tip 1: Bundle Your Project

No matter how noble your “Green” project, approval will likely hinge on the ability to produce an attractive return on investment (ROI). If you’re having trouble making the case on your projects ROI alone, consider bundling the project with one that will permit the net ROI from all the projects to meet your company’s criteria.

Tip 2: Enlist Broad Organizational Support

When presented in the proper business context, recycling and other sustainability initiatives can become important tactical tools in other areas of your organization. Make sure other organizaitonal leaders are aware of your project and discuss ways your project can help them with their goals. For example, your company’s marketing director may be interested in using sustainability to promote your company’s environmental efforts and improve customer engagement. Human resources may be interested in the impact sustainability has had on improving employee morale.

Tip 3: Pilot First

Conducting a scaled down trial program provides an opportunity to test out process changes and allow you to make adjustments before full implementation. A pilot also provides measurable results - qualitative and quantitative data - in support of your business case.

Tip 4: Benchmark

Contact other companies that are willing to share their experience with similar projects. Benchmarking can provide valuable insight and help you avoid pitfalls. More importantly, data from benchmarking can help you assemble a stronger case for change and provide confidence that you’re on the right track.

Tip 5: Establish Proper Linkage

Make it easy for those involved in the decision making process to understand how the proposed change is connected to the achievement of your company’s operational and strategic goals. The stronger the linkage the more likely it is that you will gain approval. Also, try to associate the success of your project to as many goals as possible and across departments. Doing so, will not only help you gain broader support, but also help you pick out key allies that can ask for help to win support.

To schedule a waste audit and find out what types of recycling programs are best for your business, call Waste Management Sustainability Services at 877-441-3046 or visit our website at