Why reduce your business waste?

Waste sent to landfill is subject to tax which your business will pay for as part of your waste collection service charge. The landfill tax rate is £88.10 per tonne (correct at 1 April 2017) and rising each year. You can save paying the tax element of your waste bill if you reduce, reuse or arrange for your unwanted materials to be recycled by a licensed waste contractor or the local council.

It’s not just the bill you receive to empty the bin; other indirect costs and considerations which can make managing your waste very expensive include:

  • Cost of raw materials
  • Handling, storage and transportation costs
  • Staff time and effort
  • Reputation
  • Producing less rubbish in the first place is the best economic option for any business.

Producing less rubbish

Making some simple changes can be a great start to saving money and doing your bit for the environment:

  • Can save you money
  • Helps the environment
  • Could give you a market advantage
  • Can enhance your reputation

Top tips for saving money

  • Talk to your suppliers about your aim as a business to avoid creating waste in the first place. For example, ask them to work with you to reduce packaging materials that may generate waste for your business
  • Explore take back schemes (returnable/refillable systems) or how essential components of transit packaging can be reused. For example reuse incoming packaging and boxes for outgoing deliveries
  • Use rechargeable batteries and refillable printer cartridges and consumable items that will last longer e.g. LED lighting
  • Always print double-sided and encourage paperless business systems (e-working)
  • If your business involves food, think about organising a separate food waste collection or look into composting food waste.
  • Provide ‘doggie bags’ for customers to take their uneaten food home
  • Talk to your waste contractor or your local council about recycling collections in your area
  • Organise separate bins inside and outside of your business to sort and keep recyclables ‘Clean, Dry & Loose’ – ready for onwards collection.
  • Ask before giving customers bags, disposable cutlery, or paper serviettes
  • Stock loose items where possible and avoid over-packaged products
  • Ensure staff have reusable mugs and glasses, not disposable cups
  • Visit the  Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) website, which provides lots of practical advice to help businesses become more resource efficient

Meeting your legal requirements

All businesses have a legal ‘Duty of Care’ to dispose of their waste responsibly. Your business should:

  • Put waste in a container
  • Transfer waste only to an authorised (licensed) person
  • Complete a Waste Transfer Note when your waste is remove
  • Prevent or clear-up street litter caused by your business
  • If you don’t comply with the legislation you could be held responsible and have to pay a fine. Call the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506 or email to find out more, or contact the commercial waste team at your local council.