Workplace waste, recycling and the night they took the bins away

Leaving workers nowhere to dump their rubbish makes it harder to recycle, writes Pilita Clark

Financial Times
By Pilita Clark
May 17, 2016

My desk at the Financial Times is mostly very dull.

There is a computer and a phone, surrounded by a pile of guff I keep meaning to read and, because I am the FT’s environment correspondent, a wildlife calendar someone sent me that this month shows a photo of a large toad getting ready to spawn.

But down on the floor by my right, there is something much more interesting, an object so rare and endangered I am not even sure it is legal: a bin.

Actually, it is an acting bin, an empty cardboard box nicked from near the stationery cupboard, one of many makeshift containers I have used since The Great Disappearance of the sturdy metal office bins that once sat conveniently next to every desk.

These all vanished one night, replaced by a scattering of communal recycling containers with bossy, confusing signs about what sort of rubbish should go where.

This sort of set-up is becoming the norm in offices everywhere and, as so often with workplace innovations, it does not always go well.

I know of a company where a senior employee found his personal bin had disappeared and the new recycling containers were about 20 feet away from his desk.

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