Recycling charter will match up SMEs with council waste services

Small and medium-sized businesses will be able to take advantage of a new recycling charter launched today (October 19) which should provide them with better access to low-cost waste services.

The Business Waste and Recycling Services Commitment will match up smaller businesses that need recycling services together with local authorities offering services as well as agencies offering best practice waste reduction advice.

Under the charter, local authorities will pledge to provide regular collections for businesses which require them. Councils will also be able to offer advice on saving money by preventing waste and provide help in donating unwanted items and buying second-hand goods. In some cases, they will also allow businesses access to household waste recycling centres.

The Commitment – which has been jointly developed by Defra, WRAP and the Local Government Association (LGA) – seeks to formalise the way councils work with local businesses.

It emphasises 12 principles of best practice that councils can use to tailor services to local businesses, such as the need to make recycling easy, provide value for money and continually improve services through feedback.

In announcing the charter, Defra’s new Recycling Minister Lord Taylor said: “This deal will bring much needed relief for smaller businesses that want to do the right thing, but are struggling to get a decent recycling service.

“For the first time we’ve got solid agreement between councils and businesses to make it easier and more cost-effective for smaller firms to recycle more and improve their resource efficiency.”

The charter has been welcomed by the Federation of Small Businesses. Its environment committee chair, David Caro, said: “Our research has shown that 95% of businesses would recycle more if they had better access to recycling facilities and we are pleased that Defra has launched this commitment … now we call on all local authorities to sign up to the commitment.”

Recent research by Defra shows that UK businesses have the potential to save up to £18bn a year by taking steps to reduce waste. SMEs produce around 30m tonnes of waste a year with recycling rates already exceeding 50%, but over half of councils still don’t offer a trade waste recycling service.

The voluntary commitment is part of a package of measures outlined in the Waste Review earlier this year, and builds on a responsibility deal with the Environmental Services Association to help businesses prevent waste and recycle more.

Maxine Perella

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