From the 23rd to 29th of September 2019, we are celebrating Recycle Week, a national campaign committed to encouraging, inspiring, and supporting people to recycle more at home and in the workplace. Last year’s event, dedicated to the theme ‘Recycling. WE DO! Because it matters’, was a success and saw support from over 80 businesses including John Lewis, Tesco, Danone, and H&M.
This year’s theme is called: ‘Recycling. It’s in our own hands’. Whether it is rinsing, crushing, sorting or separating waste, it is all about seeing the benefits of recycling, taking action, and making a difference. It is an opportunity to change recycling behaviours, increase environmental awareness, combat pollution, and build a positive reputation for your business.
Now in its 17th year, Recycle Week is all about seeing the advantages of recycling and taking action, we’ve come up with some of the major benefits to good recycling habits and some best practices to make the whole process simple and easy to follow.
Improving waste management and recycling is fundamental to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Extracting and processing raw resources (wood, oil, ore, etc.) to make new materials such as paper and plastics requires a lot of energy. Recycling not only reduces your carbon footprint, but it also allows for used materials to be manufactured into new products again, such as furniture, paper, and clothing. In fact, recycling paper not only saves trees from being turned into paper, but it also reduces the volume of water and chemicals normally needed to produce it. Most energy, such as the heat and electricity used to manufacture new materials and products, is obtained from burning fossil fuels (coal, gas, oil) which emit significant quantities of carbon dioxide.
As a business, if you improve the way you handle waste, you will stand apart from competitors who may not see recycling as a top priority. Showing your local community, employees and customers that you care, such as being mindful of your business’ impact on the environment as well as supporting national initiatives like Zero Waste Week and Recycle Week, instils trust and increases loyalty.
‘It’s in our own hands’: recycling best practices
Encourage recycling in your workplace. Avoid low-quality items that will not last long, as well as single-use disposables. Run training sessions so everyone in your organisation understands the importance of recycling and using the correct bins for waste segregation. Undertake an audit of how much waste is being thrown away and make a plan to reduce and recycle your waste. You can also ask us to do this for you, free of charge.
Set up clearly labelled internal bins. Use correct signage on internal bins and at recycling points so people know where to put general waste and recycling. Are the internal bins well positioned in an area where waste is produced? Set up central recycling points and remove any deskside bins since they encourage poor recycling behaviour. Use our posters and stickers to help with signage.
Segregate your waste properly. Identify the materials you need to recycle, for instance, offices generally produce large amounts of paper and cardboard. Think about how your waste should be separated. Keep your waste clean and dry and make sure it goes into the right recycling streams (paper and card, glass, plastic bottles, pots, tubs, trays, food waste, coffee cups etc.). Make sure to avoid items that are difficult to recycle such as black-coloured plastics and composites of more than one material (crips packs and laminates). Read here for further information or download this guide.
Do not contaminate. Your recycling cannot be processed and will have to be disposed of as general waste if it is contaminated with non-recyclable items.
Be aware of environmentally damaging waste streams. Ensure you keep environmentally damaging waste streams separate for a specialist collection. This includes chemicals, oils, batteries, paint, fluorescent tubes, electronic appliances, clinical and other hazardous waste. Do not pour them down the drain or put them in your general waste or recycling. Let us help you if you are not sure.
Recycle for free. Most manufacturers offer take-back schemes for items like pallets, printer cartridges and electrical appliances (computers, copiers and printers). You can send these items back to the manufacturer free of charge. Retail stores where you have purchased the printer cartridges, such as Cartridge World, will also take them back. Batteries can be returned to the retailer where you have purchased them (Tesco, Sainsbury’s) and small volumes of batteries can also be dropped off at local libraries in Westminster.
Now that you are equipped with the right tools to effectively recycle, it is time to do your part and get your business involved in Recycle Week 2019. Remember to take action and encourage positive recycling behaviour in your workplace. For more information on waste management and finding innovative ways to turn waste into a resource for businesses, check out our resources page for case studies, guides and further information.
Need more help in becoming a more sustainable business and improving recycling habits? Read our ‘Sustainability guide’ for more information on sustainable waste management and the actions your business could take to improve your sustainability.