A big part of the task at Keystone is managing, encouraging, motivating and executing change. It’s not so much that folks don’t want to reduce, reuse and recycle is that it requires change. Change is hard, it’s scary and often it’s the last thing on the list of things that we want to do on any given day. But to move forward, to improve and to achieve our goals change is so often necessary. Here are some tips for helping change happen.

Creative Images

In our information age where we are bombarded with all kinds of information, it is important to make your message stand out. The right visual impressions can actually be stronger than words.

  • Use a catchy logo and slogan for your program.
  • Create pictures and graphics to jazz up written materials, recycling containers, and coffee mugs.
  • Show people how much waste they generate using photos, videos, displays, clip art, or posters.
  • Present a short video to employees.
  • Use clip art or posters

Motivating Messages

Facts should be put in terms people can relate to and the message should be easy to understand. A startling fact can help motivate a person to seek change.

  • Explain why it is important to stop wasting resources. Where possible, present benefits in terms of cost savings, resources saved, customer satisfaction, corporate and personal responsibility towards future generations.
  • Present information so it stands out; avoid being redundant or boring.
  • Use startling facts.
  • Personalize information and relate it to what a person already knows.
  • Don’t assume employees and managers are very familiar with key waste reduction words or concepts.
  • Avoid giving too much information at once; give information in manageable pieces.

Person-to-Person Communication

In addition to distributing or posting written educational materials, where feasible, present information person-to-person. It is more influential than written materials alone.

  • Seek volunteers in each work area who are willing to be trained as “waste reduction pros.” The pros provide a friendly and knowledgeable source of information throughout the organization. And they can provide feedback on how you are doing.
  • Train new employees. Let them know they are expected to use resources carefully and fully participate in waste reduction programs. Explain how to prevent waste and recycle materials.
  • Use all-employee gatherings to promote waste reduction. Show what is being done well and what areas need improvement.


There are lots of great ways to motivate employees. Here are just a few:

  • Graph progress and show people how they are doing by division, floor or other unit.
  • Create a contest and award prizes or trophies (reused, of course).
  • Financially reward employees for ideas that generate significant cost savings and waste reduction.
  • Offer discounts to employees who purchase coffee using their own washable mug.
  • Recognize employee’s waste reduction efforts in front of others.

Involve Employees

Employees best know how operations work and are critical to the success of any program.

  • Solicit ideas from employees involve them so they have ownership in the program.
  • Let employees be part of the decision-making process; invite employees to participate in a waste reduction team that is responsible for implementing waste reduction practices.
  • Ask employees to make a waste reduction pledge.

Set a Good Example

To help make new practices mainstream be sure to practice what you preach.

  • If using promotional giveaways or prizes, make sure they exemplify waste reduction (e.g., a coffee mug with your program’s slogan, a refillable pen made from recycled plastic). Don’t give away premiums or materials that will end up in the trash.
  • Distribute information in the least wasteful way. Send messages electronically, if that option is available. Route messages or post them on a central bulletin board. Print or copy using both sides of the page and format documents so there isn’t excessive white space.
  • Ask employees to bring their own plate or mug to gatherings where food and beverages will be served.

Need some help with change, Keystone is always happy to share best practices and what we’ve learned from hundreds of waste audits. Give us a call 888-892-1796 or visit our website to get in touch.