With landfill sites under more and more strain by the day, we're all now encouraged to take an active role in recycling. From big businesses to the humble homeowner, recycling our waste is becoming crucial to the future of our planet.
But, why should busy companies spend time and money on recycling bins for office? Is it really worth it?
We've put together 10 of the best reasons why ALL businesses should have a comprehensive recycling policy at the top of their agenda.
1. Make your staff proud
The majority of businesses care about their staff and realise that avoiding frustration and resentment amongst their workers can be a crucial factor in business success.
Many members of staff in your business will be running a fully operational recycling system in their own homes. From bottles and cans to food waste and paper, homeowners across the country are taking more and more time to ensure they are recycling to their best abilities.
What these proud recyclers don't want is to get into the office on a Monday morning and find they have no recycle bin to dispose of their empty cans or waste paper. It can quickly lead to real resentment. "Why am I spending all this time recycling and my company don't care?"
It can work both ways too. Encouraging your staff to recycle in the office can motivate them to take up the challenge at home too. Workers may find it difficult to spend their working week as rampant recyclers, only to go home and throw everything into the same black bin bag.
2. Minimise landfill - Maximise savings
With more and more pressure coming on landfill sites, it's little surprise that the cost to businesses of sending their waste to landfill is on the increase too.
In 2014, the tax on sending business waste to landfill is going to rise to £80 per tonne. In all likelihood, we will continue to see a drop in the cost of recycling over that time too. In other words, the more you recycle, the less you'll send to landfill, and the more money your business will save. Take into account the good you're doing for the environment and it's very little to make a case against business recycling.
3. Keep your offices neat, tidy and aroma free
Most business offices, factories, commercial premises and warehouses will admit that their place of work is more pleasant and hygienic when there is a recycle system in place. With waste food composters, can and plastic bottle containers, waste paper bins, and waste liquid chutes in place, it's very rare for a workplace to become laden with overflowing bin bags and odious aromas.
A business recycling system doesn't just recycle your waste, it organises it and keeps everything in hygienic order too.
4. Don't ignore your social responsibility
Your business is going from strength to strength. You've had the best set of quarterly figures in company history. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, the last thing you want when things are going so well, it to suddenly see a raft of negative publicity around your business's lack of social responsibility.
With recycling and saving the planet so high on everybody's agenda, your business must be seen to be on message. Recycling is something that we are very much all in together, and if your successful business appears to have a carefree attitude to recycling, it could quickly be perceived as arrogant and only interested in profit and self-gain.
5. Comply with regulations and legislation
Whether your business is serious about recycling or not, there are regulations and legislation in place to help ensure you don't renege on your moral duties. Led by European Union directives, the UK government has turned up the pressure on businesses to dispose of as little as possible to landfill. In addition to the landfill tax fees, the 2010 Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme limits the amount of waste which can go to landfill and the ISO4001 standard is in place to help business waste make the least possible impact on the environment.
In short, the UK government is taking business recycling very seriously, and if businesses aren't motivated themselves to recycle, there's sure to be a helping hand, or shove, coming very soon!
6. Reduce your carbon footprint
Individuals and businesses now have far more awareness of their carbon footprint, and whilst all recycling is important, the reuse of metal and cans will do wonders for the size of your business footprint.
100% of metals can be recycled and the process is therefore very simple and quick. A discarded drinks can will be recycled and back in the system within a matter of weeks. Each and every time a piece of metal is recycled, it saves energy and the carbon footprint of the new product is much smaller than had new materials been sourced and used.
Even if it is just the recycling of drinks cans in corporate offices, all businesses can reduce their carbon footprints with effective metal recycling.
7. Contribute to your local community
As well as encouraging regular recycling activity from your staff and meeting your social responsibilities, there are also plenty of local community benefits to be had from your business recycling. Using a local firm to look after your recycling needs will contribute to the local economy and if you're a business which depends on custom in the local area, the last thing you want to be known as is a business which doesn't take its green responsibilities seriously. Signing a contract for recycling services with another business is a story for the local paper and the more you shout about what your business is doing in the community, the more you'll be accepted and respected. You may even inspire other local businesses to get involved.
8. Use recycled products
Recycling isn't all about making sure you don't send all your waste to the landfill at the back end of the process. By definition, recycling is a circular process and if your business can be involved at both ends of the journey then it will not only be great for the environment but it will save you money too.
If you're taking the time to recycle your paper, plastic, printer cartridges etc, then why not purchase the same products in their recycled form? Recycled paper, plastic and ink cartridges are all less expensive than the alternative so why not save some money and contribute to the entire process...
9. Make money directly from your materials
Recycling your waste isn't just a philanthropic process. There are plenty of businesses out there who are prepared to pay you for certain types of waste. With so much pressure to avoid landfill, why wouldn't your business look at selling their waste for recycling purposes? There are many companies prepared to pay for your business scrap paper, cardboard, plastic and metal, recycling as much business waste as possible really could earn a pretty penny. A simple web search of companies prepared to pay for specific materials should provide you with a list of options in your area.
10. Save the world with computer recycling
Many business are going above and beyond the call of duty with their recycling policies, but even the very best are sometimes neglecting their responsibilities when it comes to computer and computer accessory recycling.
Whilst plenty will leave their old computer systems to gather dust in stock cupboards and storage rooms, others will send their old systems away with the general rubbish, with no real thought as to where they'll end up. The vast majority of PCs are made up of over 5% lead and if they are left to rot in places where that lead can make its way into the ground, it can cause problems not only for the land itself but possibly water supplies in the area too.
Not only are there many valuable materials making up your old PC systems, which can be reclaimed and reused, the actual systems themselves are more often than not still in full working order and could be put to good use.
The same goes for all your electrical and IT equipment. If it's sat in a cupboard somewhere or you don't actually know where it goes to when you do send it for waste, it is definitely worthwhile taking action. You could save yourself some money and you'll certainly help to save the planet.