Will You Get Caught Green-Handed?

In preparation for Earth Day (April 22), what better way to promote a green mentality than a friendly recycling competition among co-workers? “Get Caught Green-Handed” is an activity adapted from RecycleMania, a program administered by Keep America Beautiful for universities across the country. Programs like “Get Caught Green-Handed” teach individuals to be green-minded and help them to develop good recycling habits–something that, in addition to encouraging recycling in the workplace, also strengthens the environmentalism and sustainability of the community at large.

Although “Get Caught Green Handed” was originally created for universities, the idea can easily be adapted for the workplace.

Get Caught Green-Handed at Work

The Objective: Encourage recycling by rewarding employees to “get caught “green-handed.”

1.) Pick a time, location, and strategy. This activity can be conducted anywhere with a recycling bin. It works best in areas with ample recycling opportunities such as the cafeteria, break room, or copy room.

2.) Plan a prize. Decide how you will reward your recyclers. Depending on your budget, consider tickets to a local winery, a month of free yoga, a massage, or a coupon for a beer at a local pub.

3.) Prep your spotters. Outfit your team of spotters in matching company t-shirts or just the color green, and charge them with identifying and rewarding employees who recycle.

4.) Catch recyclers green-handed. Assign your spotters to the recycling bin area or have the green team, volunteers, or a group of managers walk around the office looking for recyclers. At the end of the week, have the spotters tally up their observations. The employee who has been spotted recycling the most throughout the week wins!*

*If you find it too inconvenient or time consuming to have spotters, maybe you use something like small cut out leafs made from recycled paper, beads, or another type of small items near the recycling bins. Each time an employee recycles, they can take an item to signify their recycling trip. At the end of the week, the person with the most items would win the prize! This would obviously be using the honor system and specific rules would need to be laid out, but this could be a good alternative in an especially busy office.

This year marks the 47th annual earth day. The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970 and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Learn more about the history of Earth Day, upcoming Earth Day campaigns, and more at earthday.org. Also, don’t forget to check out our “Earth Day Facts” blog.