Recycling rates in the UK rose faster in the first decade of this millennium than any other European country. Over half of business waste is now recycled, but it’s estimated that 4.5% of a company’s annual turnover is lost due to avoidable waste. In part this is due to the high cost of disposing of business waste. The landfill tax is currently £72 a tonne and businesses that don’t recycle have to pay the price.

The good news is that every industry has items which can easily be recycled. To help you get started here is a list of the main item for a variety of businesses:

Hotels

Hotel waste is created at upwards of 1 kg per guest per night. This waste can be highly diverse and hard to sort due to the number of different staff and areas within the hotel. There is a solution though. Some hotels partner with waste management companies who dispose of waste environmentally. They provide the equipment (bins etc.) to make sorting waste and recycling easy for staff, ensuring the more expensive landfill tax doesn’t beckon.

Offices

In offices 60-80% of waste is some form of paper. Businesses can now have their paper collected by special companies, have it recycled, and buy it back at a reduced price. This will also lower the amount of waste you send to the landfill, saving you more money. In broader, more commercial terms, the average office worker uses approximately 50 sheets of paper every day in the typical office; recycling one tonne of paper can save 7,000 gallons of water, 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space and 4,000 kilowatts of electricity – small changes make a big difference!

Small Businesses

Restaurants: In 2009, two thirds of the estimated 400,000 tonnes of discarded food could have been prevented by managing portions better, whilst the other third of unavoidable waste, such as potato skins, could have been recycled. The total cost of disposing this food was an estimated £722 million; gas and electricity prices are no longer the only bills to worry about! Food waste can now be used by companies to create profitable compost.

Salons produce hair. You might not realise it but this natural waste can be recycled and used for composting, just like food waste. It can also be donated to charities to make wigs for those suffering from hair loss, or to commercial companies who make hair rugs used to absorb oil spills.

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