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80% of UK businesses ‘can’t be bothered to recycle’

United Kingdom – ‘Many businesses have not got the message on recycling and send most, if not all, of their rubbish to landfill,’ a new study by UK waste management firm BusinessWaste has revealed.

The study found that up to 80% of companies do not follow sustainable practices, with paper and cardboard, plastics, e-scrap, ink cartridges and green waste for composting the most common items left out of the recycling stream. Most firms ‘will not even sort paper, food and glass waste, despite the practice being widespread in domestic waste collections,’ BusinessWaste said.

‘Other countries have forged ahead with commercial recycling, but a high proportion of UK companies seemingly can’t be bothered and contribute to the 228 million tonnes of waste we produce every year,’ observed Jonathan Ratcliffe, recycling manager at BusinessWaste.

He added that the result ‘reflects very badly upon us as a nation’ and noted that this wastefulness came at a cost. ‘Businesses are hitting themselves in the bank balance because of their inability or unwillingness to recycle. It’s not a great step implementing a green policy, and it saves money almost from the start.’

A dangerous game

A more alarming revelation was that some companies were ‘prepared to break the law’ in order to reduce or eliminate their waste-handling costs. ‘We’re well aware that some companies will still fly-tip, but we’ve found some smaller businesses prepared to admit that they dispose of their waste at the household tip while posing as a member of the public,’ Ratcliffe stated. ‘It’s a dangerous game – companies that breach their waste management duty of care face unlimited fines if they get caught.’

BusinessWaste hopes that the UK government’s green policies and incentives such as a landfill tax will begin to control the problem. ‘At £72 per tonne going to landfill, it soon adds up for companies that don’t recycle,’ Ratcliffe said.

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