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22 March 2019
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80 per cent of businesses do not recycle © iStock

10 July 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

Businesses must play more of a crucial role in improving recycling in the UK, warn waste disposal experts.


Businesses generate about a quarter of all waste in England. This has led the government to increase landfill tax to £88.95 per tonne in a bid to encourage businesses to recycle more of their waste.


Yet research suggests that up to 80 per cent of businesses do not recycle and have no green policy in place. It also reveals that the materials firms commonly neglect to recycle include paper and cardboard, plastics, electrical waste and printer cartridges.


Jonathan Richardson, managing director at secure shredding firm Russell Richardson, said: “Since waste collection is measured by weight, waste disposal costs can soon mount up for business owners. By recycling and throwing less away, companies can save thousands of pounds per year in landfill tax, while crucially lessening their environmental footprint.”


On average, 60 per cent to 80 per cent of office waste is paper, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).


The government stipulates that businesses have a responsibility to “keep waste to a minimum by doing everything you reasonably can to prevent, reuse, recycle or recover wasted (in that order)”.


Richardson added: “Setting up regular collections for waste paper – at the very least – is an easy win for office-based businesses: it’s easy to do and can save money almost immediately… Some services even offer rebates for large volumes of waste.”


Paper recycling is far less energy-intensive than the process for other materials, requiring 70 per cent less energy than making paper from raw materials.


Recycling guidance offered by WRAP to office-based businesses includes advice on setting up a recycling scheme and finding the right waste contractor.


The charity says that over a quarter of companies that recycle at work claim they have saved space by having designated areas and clearly labelled containers for specific materials, while over a third of businesses that recycle say it has improved their reputation within the local community.


Richardson also said: “Involving all staff in recycling measures is key to a successful scheme… Using promotional materials, such as posters and container stickers to signpost team members to recycling points and inform them about collection days helps to facilitate a smooth and commercially rewarding operation.”