Recycling in the Workplace

Recycling has been a part of UK life for many years now, both for domestic waste and business waste. Recycling at work requires some thought and action from management and employees, but represents an effective method for reusing materials and making a positive contribution towards caring for the environment.

Why recycle?

The world faces many pressing environmental concerns in the twenty-first century, with a major focus on recycling. The subject of waste products is a contentious issue in terms of how to dispose of them. Landfill is a solution that has been used for hundreds of years, but waste products such as plastic take an enormous amount of time to degrade, whilst batteries leak toxic chemicals into the ground. Recycling can make a major difference to waste disposal issues.

Organising recycling

Businesses can easily propose, set up and run recycling initiatives and feel good about being involved in the process. The are many benefits to establishing a recycling initiative at work. Space can be saved and clutter reduced. It is a cost-effective way of getting rid of waste – it can even save money. And that’s without considering the benefits to the environment.

What can be recycled

Whether you’re running a small business, an office or a larger business, there are plenty of items you can recycle. These include:

  • Cardboard: packaging for supplies often comes in the form of bulky cardboard boxes using up limited space, so recycling is an ideal method of disposal.
  • Paper: leaflets, magazines, till roll ends, opened envelopes and newspapers can all be recycled, again saving space.
  • Cans and bottles: aluminium cans for food and drink, plastic bottles and plastic film are all recyclable.
  • Electrical equipment: cables and obsolete electric machines can also be recycled.

It is possible to check with your local authority regarding recycling offers so that you don’t waste time and resources trying to recycle things that are not accepted.

Finding a recycling waste contractor

There are many businesses that specialise in collecting waste for recycling as well as places to take waste run by local authorities, though they often do not accept business waste. A little online research will flag up waste contractors in your area. Their website should demonstrate what they will and will not take alongside terms and conditions for collecting waste. You should check what needs to be separated. For example, if you want to recycle old oil you will need a separate container.

Duty of care

As an employer, you will be aware of regulations set by the Health and Safety Executive. Employees should be encouraged to recycle and you should set clear guidelines, especially if there is hazardous waste to be disposed of.

Providing recycling bins, clearly labelled for what can go into them, ensures that employees know where to go and what they can and can’t recycle. Recycling bins also make it easier for waste contractors to quickly identify where particular waste items should go after pick up.

Recycling outcomes

More and more businesses are seeing the advantages of recycling as opposed to simply dumping waste. As awareness develops with reference to the positive benefits of recycling for businesses and the wider environment, the progression towards further recycling programs is likely to continue.

Disclaimer: The information provided through Legislation Watch is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. Legislation Watch is not a substitute for Health and Safety consultancy. You should seek independent advice about any legal matter.

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