More awareness is needed to help businesses know how to correctly separate waste for recycling
More awareness is needed to help businesses know how to correctly separate waste for recycling

Member Article

Businesses need clarity to help adopt recycling mindset, says Printwaste

Companies need clearer guidance on recycling and waste management practices to help them reduce waste, prevent contamination and maximise their sustainability strategy to reach netzero, says Printwaste.

As COP26 becomes a distant memory, so the commitment to conquer climate change must remain firmly on everyone’s agenda. Now more than ever, businesses must take full ‘hands on’ responsibility to improve commercial waste disposal as part of their green strategy, but, according to one recycling and waste management specialist, more education and awareness is needed surrounding recycling rules.

This comes as Britain’s woeful recycling record is revealed, with highly combustible lithium-ion batteries found in mobile phones and electronic waste including monitors and printers emerging as the biggest causes of hazardous waste.

While it has been recently reported that hazardous materials are a significant issue in the illegal dumping of waste, now a massive crisis in the UK, some businesses are unknowingly adding to the problem through incorrect disposal of waste. This can be avoided through segregating waste effectively, particularly important when dealing with hazardous materials, as mixing such waste is prohibited.

Furthermore, waste contamination isn’t exclusive to hazardous materials. This week, East Suffolk Council reported it has had to reject 20% of its rubbish collected in household recycling bins due to people not sorting their waste properly, the most common items incorrectly dumped including glass bottles and jars, plastic shopping bags, black waste sacks, food waste, disposable nappies and cartons. This means the materials are classed as contaminated and cannot be recycled, not only impacting the environment but costing councils an extra £100,000 a year. This confusion is also extending to businesses.

Don Robins, Managing Director of Printwaste, which was recently awarded four-star status for recycling over 90% of waste handled in 2020, explained: “The priority is to have greater clarity among business owners and their staff. It’s imperative for waste management providers to increase awareness with companies on not just what, but how to recycle properly in the workplace, to improve sustainability. To produce the best quality material for recycling, all waste streams should be separated at source through the utilisation of smart storage options as well as correct segregation by employees. Education is the key.

“Another solution is via an audit, which can be carried out by a waste management and recycling specialist. Correct equipment can then be installed to assist in cutting the risk of contamination, improving recycling rates and reducing the volume of potentially recyclable resource going into general waste. This means that products that are recyclable, stay recyclable.”

While companies must embrace a different way of thinking when it comes to their commercial waste, no matter how small, there are other factors which must be considered to ensure this happens. One suggestion is to make recycling compulsory, with one waste authority urging that only ‘systemic change’, implemented by Government and business, can ‘stop the trashing of precious resources and make the economy circular’. It also calls for the ban on more unecological products such as single-use, unrecyclable plastics, and to drastically reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

There are also other incentives for businesses to fully get to grips with their waste management, as Robins concludes: “Overfilled and even underfilled bins can prove seriously costly which can affect a company’s bottom line, so it makes perfect business sense to fully understand how the correct disposal of waste works and how companies can maximise the value of their waste and recycling system.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Claire Brown .

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