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Recycling is Everyone's Business

Recycling is Everyone's Business

Recycling is Everyone’s Business

According to WRAP, a quarter of the waste produced in England is produced by businesses. You might recycle religiously at home, but you should also carry on doing the same at work. Every business has a social and legal responsibility to dispose of its waste correctly and in ways that don’t cause harm to the environment.

But recycling is not just something costly that is imposed on businesses, it actually makes business sense to recycle-here’s how.

Why recycle?

First and foremost, it benefits the environment because less waste is sent to landfill and it reduces carbon emissions. If your business takes a socially and environmentally responsible approach, it can only enhance your reputation with clients, employees, and the wider public. Lastly, it’s cost effective, because the less rubbish you throw away, the less waste management costs you’ll have.

How to set up a recycling scheme at work

Find a local recycling contractor if your company doesn’t have one already. See if your local authority can recommend anyone.

Finding a contractor-what you’ll need to know

- Do they offer regular collection slots or do they do on-demand collections?

- Do they have capacity to cater for the size of your business?

- How do they charge for the service-is it an annual cost or do they charge per collection?

- Do they hold a waste carriers license? This is VERY important.

- Do they provide your workplace with recycling bins or do you have to source them yourself?

What can your business recycle?

If you have the correct bins, your business can recycle:



Tins and cans

Plastic bottles

Food waste

Printer cartridges

Electrical equipment


Only general waste can be disposed of in black bin bags. Recycling has to be put into a clear bag.


Legal obligations for businesses

Every business has a duty of care to make sure that its waste is stored and transported safely and securely.

You must ensure that the recycling firm you choose is registered with the Environment Agency and has a waste carriers license. Always ask to see their registration certificate and make sure you know where your waste is being taken.

If you take your own waste to a recycling facility, make sure it is licensed to accept and process commercial waste.

Whenever recycling is collected or dropped off, there must be a Waste Transfer Note, which is signed by you and the contractor.

Electrical waste must be recycled in accordance with the WEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) regulations.

Is recycling more cost effective?

Many businesses assume that recycling is just another cost, but you might actually find that your waste management costs reduce, especially if you were sending a lot of waste to landfill. The landfill tax is now £84.40 per tonne, plus other fees which come in at about £6 per tonne.

How to recycle effectively at work

To recycle effectively, make sure your employees are aware of best practice for recycling. Here are some things to consider:

- Do your local recycling guidelines require you to separate recyclable materials or can you mix them?

- Make sure food containers and drinks bottles are rinsed before you throw them away. If there’s food debris caked on packaging, it makes the recycling process much more difficult.

- If you’re recycling paper, it should be free from grease or food stains. If it’s not, it’s no longer recyclable.

- Think about reducing or eliminating the use of single-use plastics.

- Don’t print out anything that could be easily emailed.

Where to put your recycling bins

Generally put bins where you think they’ll be most needed.

- Put bins for paper, cardboard and confidential documents near desks

- Put bins for paper, cardboard food packaging, plastic bottles, cans and tins, glass and food waste in kitchens, beverage bays or staff rooms.

- Put bins for batteries, printer cartridges and electricals at reception, another central location, or next to printers.

- Put general waste bins close by too so people don’t put non-recyclables in recycling bins.

Keep your employees in the loop

- Tell everyone you’re introducing a recycling scheme by sending out an internal email or newsletter, and putting up posters or notices. Tell people why recycling is important.

- Make sure cleaning staff are aware of your new procedures.

- Offer rewards to the team that recycles the most waste.

- Set recycling targets.

- Welcome suggestions and feedback from employees on how the scheme could be made more effective.

Introduce an eco-friendly culture

Making your business more environmentally friendly doesn’t have to stop at recycling. There’s always scope for introducing things like;

- A cycle to work scheme to encourage people to use their cars less.

- Fundraising activities like bake sales or fun runs to raise money for environmental causes.

- Get your company involved in local litter picks or beach clean ups.

- Ditching single-use plastic and using alternatives.

- Using eco-friendly cleaning products.

- Using more recycled items like paper, ink cartridges or furniture.

- Introducing measures to save energy and water in the workplace.

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