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Our recycling tips for small businesses

16 June 2022

Environmental commitments matter today – to staff, customers and stakeholders. Waste management has a big role to play in how able many organisations are to meet environmental commitments because it directly impacts on the volume of landfill a business contributes. Even for the smallest enterprises, recycling habits are vital to get into. These are our tips for making recycling easy and effective in your company.

Aim for a paperless environment

This is a goal for many businesses, something to work towards rather than a big shift to make immediately. The more you’re able to limit the volume of paper your workforce uses on a daily basis, the easier it will be to become paperless. You’ll produce a lot less waste and you can focus on using only the types of paper that are easy to recycle.

Recycle more than just paper

Office waste is made up of many different components today – and a lot of them can be recycled just like paper can. If you’re going to have a recycling policy it makes sense to broaden this beyond just paper. There are also lots of options for recycling materials such as plastic, as well as electronics and even food waste. Plus, there are economic advantages in being a bit more ambitious because the less waste you’re sending to landfill, the less landfill tax there will be to pay. The first step to identifying how far your business can go in recycling terms is to conduct a waste audit to see what kind of waste your business generates – and how much – as well as the potential recycling opportunities that you have.

Make sure your office is well equipped for recycling

For most small businesses this is going to mean having plenty of recycling bins. The more opportunities you give staff to put items in the right bin, the more they are likely to do it and the more successful your recycling programme will be. Sometimes, it’s something as simple as bringing in more recycling bins that will make your efforts a success.

Provide more options in-house to help staff make better choices

That could be cutlery and plates so that there is no need to choose food in plastic boxes or bring plastic cutlery into the office. It might be offering your team reusable coffee cups or water bottles so that they stop using take-away cups and buying water in plastic containers. There are also branding opportunities here that can support your marketing, as well as recycling, goals.

Create a recycling culture in your business

The right infrastructure will ensure that your staff are as switched on to the opportunities to recycle as you are. Make sure you have clear and well communicated recycling policies and give people the opportunity to talk about sustainability and eco issues. Communicate where the business stands on recycling – and broader environmental issues – and integrate it into your vision and values so there is no confusion over what the company line is.

Any business can improve recycling, including SMEs. From providing more bins to creating a positive culture around sustainability, there are lots of ways to get started.