Recycling Made Easy Working with Custodial / Janitorial Staff

Custodial/janitorial service companies and facilities maintenance staff are valuable partners in the success of recycling and waste diversion programs. Custodial/janitorial staff is responsible for picking up pre-sorted recycling materials from county employee work areas and transporting them to designated collection containers. Custodial/janitorial staff is also responsible for ensuring that trash and recycling that have been pre-sorted are not mixed together before placement into designated collection containers. Collection containers can include front-loading dumpsters, roll-offs, and/or compactors.

Employees and janitorial staff can utilize this page as a resource for learning about proper collection methods and various other tips that will help make the recycling program in county facilities simple to understand and easy to maintain.

Custodian servicing both waste and recycling bins

Working with Your Organization's Custodial / Janitorial Staff

Organizations should try to work with janitorial staff by ensuring that all employees are following recycling guidelines see SCSWA Commercial Recycling Service Guidelines (PDF). Employees should ensure that they are separating their trash from their recyclables. All acceptable recyclables should be placed into the employee's or share workstations' designated recycling bin. Here a three possible collection options that may work for your organization:

  • Have your janitorial service staff empty employees' desk-side recycling bins and larger centrally located recycling bins into a transport container.
  • Have employees empty their own recycling bins into larger, centrally located recycling bins in their section (i.e. near photocopiers or printers), break rooms, or cafeterias. Janitorial staff is only responsible for emptying these larger bins.
  • Set up desk-side bins as recycling only for janitors to empty. Have employees take wet trash to central locations (usually kitchen areas).
Recycling bin emptied into larger portable recycling collection container

Tips for Working with Custodial / Janitorial Staff

Whatever collection option you choose as the right fit for your agency, the following tips will also help you to work with your janitorial service staff to make any method work effectively:

  • Make it easy for janitors to identify recycling bins by using your blue recycling bins for recycling collection only. Recycling bins should never be used for trash collection.
  • Ensure that recycling is visible by displaying recycling posters in communal areas and near centrally located bins. When possible, place labels on all recycling bins to help make them easier to identify.
  • Recycling and waste reduction education is paramount. Make sure that both employees and custodial/janitorial staff are educated on what role they play in the recycling process.* All staff should be encouraged to participate and should be recognized for active participation. Designated managers and supervisors should be notified immediately if custodial/janitorial staff are not cooperating with the organization's recycling and waste reduction program so that issues can be addressed in a timely manner.
  • Ask janitorial staff to report when recyclables are improperly sorted or found in the garbage so designated program managers/coordinators can communicate problems and solutions with employees.
  • If applicable, direct janitorial staff to pick up extra recycling items such as large pieces of cardboard and excess bags of recycling materials for transport to collection containers.
  • Work with janitorial staff to ensure that they have the equipment and supplies they need to service the recycling program efficiently (e.g. having a large enough collection dumpster or the adequate amount of collection roll-out carts, having enough clear bags for use in transport recycling bins).
  • Remind everyone to keep contamination out of recycling bins. Custodians/janitors will not and are not responsible for sorting garbage.

To request supplies or a Recycling presentation, please contact the SCSWA Recycling Coordinator at 575-528-3800.

For more information, resources, or to request a recycling assessment or presentation/training for your organization, please contact the South Central Solid Waste Authority Recycling Coordinator at 575-528-3800 to speak with a recycling assistant today.