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Set up a recycling system

Start recycling your waste to potentially reduce your waste management costs and to comply with legislative requirements.

Recycling is the processing of used and waste materials into new products and most materials can now be recycled. The Waste (Scotland) Regulations require all organisations in Scotland to segregate all of their paper, card, glass, plastics and metal at source for separate collection by 1st January 2014. At the same time, increasing landfill tax is often making recycling a more commercially savvy way to deal with waste.

By recycling your organisation’s waste and diverting it from landfill, you can help reduce your organisation’s waste management costs.

It will also help you comply with legislative requirements.

Recycling is the third most sustainable option for managing waste materials as described by the waste hierarchy – prevent, prepare for re-use, recycle, recover other value, and disposal. You should always do as much as you can to prevent waste from arising in the first place before looking at your options to re-use and then recycle waste. To quickly find out where you are on the waste hierarchy and what improvements you can make, try our Savings Finder.

Identify and capture your recyclable waste

To set up an effective recycling system in your organisation, you will need to have a good understanding of the quantities and types of waste you produce. Once you have this information, you can provide systems to help capture and segregate your recyclable waste materials from across your organisation.  

In an average office based organisation, it is usual to make provision for paper, card, glass, plastic and metal to be segregated from other wastes. As well as complying with legislative requirements for Scottish organisations, this helps retain the quality of the waste material and its economic value.

Monitor bins

You should regularly check the contents of your recycling receptacles as in most organisations, particularly in the early days of recycling, it is likely that there will be a degree of contamination with non-recyclable materials.  You should also review your general waste bins as it is likely that your colleagues may still be disposing of materials that must be recycled.

Cross contamination prevents you from maximising the economic value of what you recycle and increases the amount of waste you send to landfill. As a result, your waste charges could be higher than they need to be.

Talk to your waste management contractor

Once you are effectively segregating your recyclable waste streams, talk to your waste management contractor to establish if your waste contract is still appropriate for your organisation’s needs. You can use the Business Resource Centre to find out what recycling services are available in your area. In some cases, and if your recycled material is of sufficient quality, you may be able to negotiate an income from selling your waste material to your waste management contractor – or at least have it collected for free.

Useful materials

Questions to ask your waste contractor

This list of suggested questions has been developed to encourage you to question your waste management contractors closely when negotiating a new contract.

Business Resource Centre

The Business Resource Centre is an online search tool that provides you with re-use and recycling services in your area, including collection services and recycling centres.

Further information

'Green Champions Training' is a series of free online training modules that provide in depth training in key topics that will help you improve the environmental performance of your organisation. 

Save money on waste - An implementation guide 

This guide, Save money on waste will provide you with the implementation advice you need to help your organisation take advantage of common waste prevention, re-use and recycling opportunities.

How to get the best waste management solution - A procurement support guide

Our 'How to get the best waste management solution for your organisation' procurement guide will provide you with a simple seven-step process to help you obtain the very best waste management solution for your organisation.

If you would like further advice and support to help you measure and monitor resource use in your organisation, please contact one of our resource efficiency advisors on 0808 808 2268 or click here.

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