Office workers leave recycling at home

Office workers could be producing more waste in the workplace than at home but often leave their recycling habits behind between nine and five.

A survey of London office workers by office recycling firm Paper Round found that more than half think they generate more waste at home and feel it is more important to recycle there.

Government figures show that just 9% of UK waste is from households, while 25% is industrial and commercial rubbish – including office waste.

Of those that said they did not recycle at work, 41% said the reason was that they did not have bins for recycling.

“We have one bucket for 60 people and it is in the kitchen so everyone just throws everything in it,” said Richard Brown, a programmer from a leading IT company.

“At home I recycle everything I can, so why can’t I do so at work?”

Bill Swan, director of Paper Round, said many office workers may not realise how much rubbish their workplaces are producing because they usually do not see how much packaging is thrown away after deliveries of office equipment, or think about the amount of paper they get through on a daily basis.

“In the work environment we actually discard quite large quantities of stuff, either directly or indirectly and people don’t seem to see that in the same way [as their waste at home],” he told edie.

“That’s probably linked as well to the Government’s publicity which has been primarily focused on people’s domestic waste.”

He echoed a recent report from a House of Lords committee that called for Government to put more focus on reducing and recycling business waste (see related story).

He added that businesses should also do more to make it easier for their employees to recycle at work.

“First and foremost, what is needed is a proper network of recycling bins and recycling points,” Mr Swan said.

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie