“It is commercial, not ‘save the planet’.”
David English, Restore, Redhill

Blog: Can I Save Money by Recycling?

By Sophia Lacey

Many people don’t realise that recycling can cost half the price of disposing general waste. This is because the items you recycle are worth money when a waste broker sells them on to be made into new items, which also negates the costs of new resources being taken out of the environment.

With that in mind, here are five tips to saving money through recycling:


1)      Know what you’re producing

Spend a little time analysing your waste streams and waste containers. Do you have the right bins for the right waste? Do you get a lot of contamination, such as food left on packaging? Check if the service you’re receiving is what’s in your contract, both in terms of the bins provided by the waste company and the frequency of collection. Are the bins always full on collection? If not, you could save money by reducing the number of outside bins provided by the waste company or the frequency of collection.

Ask your staff what changes they would like to see to improve recycling. This will give them a sense of being part of improving the business and their environment, leading to a happier workplace and a more environmentally-friendly company.


2)      Can you reduce waste?

Start off by thinking simply – what documents are you sending out by post that could be electronic? Do you need to provide plastic cups for the water cooler or could staff fill a reusable bottle instead? Can you get items delivered in reusable packaging that goes back to the supplier? Do you ensure that unwanted marketing materials are returned to sender? Each of these steps could save you money if it means you can reduce the size of your waste containers or the frequency of their collection.


3)      Shop around

The number one way many businesses lose money on waste disposal is by letting their waste contracts expire, meaning that waste companies can up their prices, or worse still, tie you into another contract period without needing consent. Note your contract end dates, notice periods and shop around. You can download a free copy of the Sussex Recyclers list here.

The Waste Duty of Care

Remember to follow your Waste Duty of Care when arranging a recycling or waste collection. Ensure that whoever you contract is an Environment Agency licensed Waste Carrier and that a Waste Transfer Note (or Hazardous Waste Consignment Note) is completed for the collection. Further details can be found on the government’s website.


4)      Get quotes

Use the information you find from reviewing your waste and recycling to prepare yourself to go out and get some quotes. Tell them how many waste containers you have, their size, and how often they’re emptied – including if you think the frequency of this could be reduced. Ask potential suppliers what happens to the waste they collect. Sending general waste to an energy-from-waste plant is good but it’s not recycling, as the resources can’t be used again once their burned for energy. Increasingly, waste companies are offering weighed waste data – this is extremely useful in monitoring the impact of any waste initiatives or for environmental reporting.


5)      Monitor and review

By consistently reviewing your waste streams, you can find ways to reduce waste and save money. This not only assists your profits but can also motivate staff and change your company culture for the better.

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