513 Green Resources

Unsure of what a certain metric means or how to achieve it? Use these resources for clarification and guidance on how to implement new sustainable actions in your workplace. 

Click on each subcategory tab below (Recycling, Reduce & Reuse, Purchasing, and Organics) to pull up the accompanying metrics. Then click on each metric to show the relevant resources and information.



1. Specialty Recyling

​2. Have single stream recycling service

  • Have recycling service in place for the workplace​​​ where all newspapers, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, junk mail, etc are placed in a single bin or dumpster for recycling.
  • Learn how to establish a waste reduction and recycling program using this guide
  • Tip:
  • Your waste hauler usually gets the right of first refusal for recycling service – the three main recycling haulers in Hamilton County are Rumpke, Republic, and Best Way.

3. All landfill, recycle, and/or compost bins are clearly labeled

  • Have separate bins distinctly marked for landfill, recycling, and compost (if applicable)
  • Benefit:​
  • ​​The more consistent and distinct the bins are, the more likely employees will use them correctly.
  • ​Color coding the bins and using pictures are additional best practices.

4. Have performed a waste audit

  • A waste audit can be physically sorting through samples of your waste and recycling or visually inspecting it and estimating the amounts and types of materials. ​
  • To have a waste audit performed at your workplace, you can request a free audit through Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District. Learn more about the different audits provided here. Or perform one on your own; here are some guidance resources:
  • Benefit:
  • The information gained from waste audits are a great way to benchmark and reference waste reduction progress from one audit to the next. Waste audits also provide important information about contamination in recycling bins that can inform education needs.

5. Have deskside recycling bins with a smaller waste bin or no waste bin at desks

  • Benefit:
  • A simple change in the size of recycling and trash containers could vastly improve the amount of waste that is correctly recycled in offices.
  • A Keep America Beautiful study found the most effective way of reducing waste at employees’ desks is to provide a recycling can paired with a smaller trash can. Small, hanging trash bins are available Hamilton County's Let's Stop Waste at Work Program.

6. Track and measure waste and recycling

  • Monitor and evaluate the quantity and composition of waste generated;
  • Waste and Recycling Tracking Spreadsheet templates and examples:
  • Perform regular waste audits and keep an ongoing record of findings
  • Benefit:
  • This ​information can be used to right size trash and recycling dumpsters, avoiding unnecessary waste removal costs.

7. Have regular communication or training with the employees that collect recycling

  • Examples:
  • Ensure that the employees or contracted janitorial service that collect the recycling know where all the recycling bins are placed and work together to decide how often the recycling needs to be collected
  • For tips and sample language for contracting recycling service with your janitorial service company, see this guide
  • Benefit:
  • Waste and recycling collection crews often have the best insights into how well a recycling program is working including what areas need additional bins, departments that need more education, etc.


1. Use reusable dishware or encourage employees to bring in their own reusable

  • Example:
  • ​Provide employees with branded coffee mugs, bottles, dishware, etc. and incentivize them to bring those into work.
  • Have a sink or dishwasher inside the office so that employees can wash their dishware.
  • Provide reusable dishware in the dining area.
  • Benefit:
  • Eliminates the waste and the cost associated with disposable dishware.

​2. Designate a sharing and reuse area for office supplies

  • Example:
  • Have a designated space such as a closet for employees to put office supplies that are in a good or repairable condition that can be reused and shared.

3. Have a policy guidance document and/or goal encouraging employees to use less paper

  • Have a policy, guidance document, or how to document with information on how to reduce paper usage in the office that employees can easily reference.
  • Creating and promoting a recommendations/tips document about how to reduce paper specific to your employees also satisfies the paper policy metric.

4. Have a plan to donate usable office supplies, products, equipment, or furniture

  • Example:​
  • Identify if there are outlets that will accept usable supplies.

5. Host events that aim for zero waste

  • Take steps to have as little waste as possible at meetings and/or events​
  • Examples:
  • For ideas and more information see the Zero Waste event planning toolkit
  • There are event recycling and compost container rentals available through Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District for events


1. Have a sustainable purchasing policy or recommendations

  • Examples and templates: ​

​2. Additional points are awarded if your company does its best to:

  • Buying from local vendors first.
  • Benefit: reduces emissions associated with transportation and supports the local economy​
  • Requiring products with recycled content.
  • Benefit: supporting the recycling market doesn't just mean recycling material, but also purchasing the products made from recycled content
  • Buying reusable or durable goods over disposable.
  • Benefit: reduces the waste and cost associated with buying disposable goods​
  • Requiring supplies when possible to be delivered with minimal/recycled packaging.
  • Benefit: simply asking suppliers if they have green shipping options can help reduce unnecessary packaging waste​
  • Having a centralized supply ordering system and/or buying in bulk when possible.
  • Benefit: ​Having one person in charge of ordering supplies helps to consolidate multiple shipments into one and allows supplies to be ordered in bulk, reducing transportation emissions and packaging waste


1. Have an excess food donation policy or program

  • Examples:
  • Create an office policy to donate excess food at the end of each month to a local food pantry.
  • Have a process for employees to safely take excess food home at the end of the day
  • Tip:​
  • Find out what food is safe for donation in Hamilton County here​.

​2. Track food waste or have employees participate in a wasted food reduction challenge

  • Examples:

3. Provide access to compost opportunities

  • Examples:
  • Set up an onsite compost site where select scrap food can be composted.
  • It's important to ensure the correct material is collected and to have an onsite application for the created compost​.
  • Have a composting service in place to collect and transport food waste.

4. Communicate waste diversion successes and metrics to employees

  • Provide employees with regular updates about waste initiatives and progress.
  • Examples​:
  • Post progress towards waste goals on bulletin boards, signage above bins, posting tips in staff spaces, including regular sustainability reminders in staff meetings or newsletters, or posting updates on the company intranet channel.
  • Benefit:
  • ​Regular updates helps to keep waste efforts at the forefront of employees’ minds and ties employees’ effort to actual results.