Commercial Recycling: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

15 March 2024
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It’s estimated the UK generates around 40 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste every year – that’s 200,000 blue whales. However, according to latest government figures, only 48.8% of all waste is recycled or otherwise recovered. This fell short of the UK’s target of 50% recycling rate and so there is still work to be done. 

In a world increasingly attuned to the impact of business on the environment, it’s no longer acceptable not to follow sustainability practices. It’s our duty as business owners to improve our internal systems to limit the damage we are doing and contribute to a circular economy. 


Commercial recycling rules in England

Businesses in England must comply with the regulations set out in the Waste Regulations 2011. It’s required to segregate paper, cardboard, plastic, metal and glass at source unless it is technically or economically unfeasible. 

 When it comes to waste recycling, under these regulations you must: 

  • Store your waste recycling safely and securely 
  • Fill in a waste transfer note for every collection of recycling that leaves your premises 
  • Ensure the waste carriers you use are licensed 
  • Separate recyclable material from other waste with outdoor and indoor recycling bins 

Failure to provide evidence of this is an offence with a penalty of up to £5,000. 

Alongside these regulations, the UK government has set several recycling targets that apply to businesses. 

  • By 2030, the preparing for re-use and recycling of municipal waste increases to a minimum of 60% by weight 
  • 75% of packaging waste to be recycled each year by 2030 
  • 85% of paper/card, 81% of glass and 56% of plastic packaging to be recycled by 2030 
  • Reduce the usage of single-use plastic 
  • Cut waste sent to landfill to 10% by 2035 

Reduce, reuse & recycle

Adopting a policy of reducing, reusing and recycling waste where possible is an effective way of reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. The gold standard for any business is to reduce waste from the outset by limiting the number of disposable items you use. However, reusing items multiple times or disposing items into the correct waste stream also immensely helps.  

Here are some of our top tips for businesses who want to reduce, reuse and recycle their waste. 

Quick Wins
Replace disposable items with reusable alternatives like our Zest Recycle water bottles
Provide separate bins for each type of waste at strategic locations throughout the business to facilitate recycling
Keep all company documents online to avoid unnecessary printing
Donate unwanted items so they can be reused
More Effort Wins
Get employees on board with training sessions, signage and information packs
Embrace upcycling by repurposing old items such as office furniture or discarded packaging
Track recycling progress, assess the effectiveness and make necessary adjustments to maximise recycling rates and minimise waste
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How Zest Recycle can help

Increase your reduce, reuse and recycle efforts in one place. At Zest Recycle, we offer services including segregation containers and commercial wheelie bins to help you optimise your waste materials. 

We have access to the widest range of internal recycling and segregation bins to suit a variety of commercial buildings and workplace settings. Whether you are collecting dry mixed recyclables together in your indoor recycling bins or are looking for a single stream segregation, we will provide a bespoke site-specific solution to minimise your environmental impact. 

We can also provide a wide range of external containers, suitable for all kinds of waste management applications. We will assess the type and volume of waste produced and identify the right container for you from wheelie bins, skips, front end loaders or roll-on-offs.  

Talk to the Zest Recycle team

At Zest Recycle, we deliver tailored resource management solutions which focus on industry best practice to ensure our clients are environmental leaders in their sector. 

Why not Start Fresh and talk to us today about your recycling requirements? 

If you need our support or advice on commercial recycling, including how you can adopt a reduce, reuse and recycle policy, we’re just a phone call away. Contact us here. 

? Did you know...

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