Your business can gain a number of benefits from reducing, reusing, recovering and recycling waste. However, remember that waste activities such as recycling and recovery use energy so your priority should be to reduce waste in the first place.

Comply with waste regulations

Businesses now face increased legal obligations for their waste. In some industries, the producers also have legal responsibility for the disposal of their products, such as packaging, electrical and electronic equipment, batteries and vehicles. Adopting better waste practices makes it easier to comply with existing regulations and enables you to be better prepared for any new legislation.

The penalties for failing to manage environmental risks properly can be substantial. You could experience damage to your reputation, disruption to your business, or you could be prosecuted or fined.

Save and make money

Your business can save money by using better waste management techniques. For example, you can:

  • reduce your costs for managing and handling your waste
  • spend less on buying goods and materials
  • reduce the amount of landfill tax that you pay by reducing the amount of waste you send to landfill.

You can often make these savings through little or no capital investment. They are not just one-off savings, but could save your business money year after year. Experience in the UK suggests that businesses across a range of industries can save 4 per cent of turnover by employing waste minimisation techniques.

Customers, employees and potential investors are becoming more aware of environmental responsibility and failure to take action could affect your business' reputation and profitability. You could attract new customers and win contracts by showing your business is environmentally responsible.

Environmental benefits

Reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering your waste also benefits the environment. For example:

  • producing recycled aluminium uses 5 per cent of the energy required to make it from raw material
  • recycling two glass bottles saves enough energy to boil water for five cups of tea
  • less waste going to landfill will reduce releases of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change
  • recovering energy from waste means less use of fossil fuels

Further information

Find your nearest waste site

Return to the menu of the Reduce, reuse and recycle your business waste environmental topic