How Much Commercial Waste is Actually Recycled in the UK?

20th May 2022

We are all expected to do our bit with regards to recycling our waste in the UK. We are also well aware of the benefits to our planet of recycling our waste. The first thing that normally springs to mind when we are talking about recycling is domestic recycling, but a greater impact can usually be made when commercial businesses engage with recycling their waste. In fact, we should be looking at ensuring that we are recycling all our waste – whether it’s at home, at work, or enjoying leisure activities.

As a nation – and worldwide, we are improving the percentage of recycling that we are carrying out. However, there is still a long way to go for us to make the difference that is needed for the environment, our quest for carbon zero, and the slowing of climate change. According to the government, England generated 33.8 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste in 2020, a large percentage of which was generated in commercial settings.


Waste going into landfill should only be a fall-back option. It should be where the bits and pieces that cannot be recycled go to. Unfortunately, however, this isn’t yet the case and is still where much of our commercial waste ends up. Research shows that about 80% of the waste that is sent to landfill can be recycled. Flip that around, and that means that only 20% of waste items that are sent to landfill should go there.

For a business, there are several excellent reasons why recycling is the way forward – and saving the planet, although the most important one, is only one of those.

Comply with laws and regulations

The British government now stipulates that a commercial business must recycle as much of their commercial waste as possible. They advise that you should use the prevent, reuse, recycle or recover mantra – in that order.

Unsurprisingly, about 70% of the waste that is produced by commercial offices is paper. This could be anything from delivery notes to packaging, to paperwork and archived material. With a box shredder, you can easily and neatly compact your waste paper and cardboard until it is collected and recycled. Recycling your wastepaper can significantly reduce the amount of landfill waste that you create, and with a baler, the storage of this paper is much more effective before it is collected.

Employee pride and motivation

One of the most motivating factors for employees in a business is pride in the company for which they are working. With a growing concern over the future of the planet, most employees are looking for their employers to show that they take their environmental responsibilities seriously, and recycling company waste is an easy way to do this.

You should consider recycling your paper and cardboard, glass, wood, metal, batteries, printer cartridges, and electrical equipment.

You can provide different bins for your staff so that they can easily segregate waste, and it shows them what you are doing to implement your recycling scheme.

Another way to support this scheme is to use recyclable materials and packaging for your own products.

Save money

Recycling your commercial waste can also save your business money. The cost of sending your waste to landfill is continuously going up and it is set only to continue. The reality is that recycling your business waste is likely to be the most cost-effective waste disposal method for your company.


Customers are increasingly looking into a business’s social responsibility and brand values, especially those that are concerned with the environmental impact of what they consume. Increasingly, we want to spend our money with businesses that have similar values to us, and by promoting your business’s green credentials, you can help to boost your business’s reputation, retaining existing customers and attracting new ones.

Support Local Community

By using local recycling companies to process your commercial recycling you are helping to support the local community and economy. This is good for jobs, money, and, of course, your local reputation, as well as perhaps inspiring other businesses to also recycle their commercial waste.

After trying to reduce the amount of waste that our businesses create in general, recycling is the next best thing that your company can do to dispose of your waste. Balers such as cardboard and plastic balers are an excellent way to efficiently store and effectively move this waste.

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