How would you like to save hundreds or thousands of pounds for your business over the next few years?
Two reports in recent weeks illustrate how small businesses can do more if they want to avoid throwing away increasing amounts of well-earned money. A survey commissioned by waste management company Veolia Environmental Services, conducted by SQW, forecast that SMEs could throw away £430 million on Landfill Tax alone this year instead of recycling or recovering the materials.
And research conducted for the Scottish Government that looked at the amount of mixed commercial waste sent to landfill could cost businesses nearly £30 million by 2014/15. As Landfill Tax rises this figure is only going in one direction if businesses don’t change course.
The Veolia research found that on average a typical SME will spend an average £335 in 2012 on Landfill Tax, rising to £358 in 2013 as the tax increases to £72 per tonne next April. It estimates that SMEs could spend £3,600 on tax in the eight years to 2020.
How much money would you like to save?
The report by Zero Waste Scotland, The Composition of Mixed Waste from Scottish Health and Social Care, Education, Motor, Wholesale and Retail Sectors in 2011, found the majority of materials disposed of by the industry sectors could be recycled or recovered for energy – the most common being food waste, paper and card.
The research also calculated the carbon benefits of using alternatives to landfill. As local authorities implement climate change plans, reducing carbon emissions will become central to their policies, with recycling and waste reduction programmes easy ways to generate savings.
Under legislation passed last month in the Scottish Government, businesses will be required to separate paper and card, plastics, metal and glass for recycling by 2014. And businesses that produce more than 50kg of food waste per week will have to separate this for collection by January 2014; businesses producing between 5kg and 50kg of food waste per week will need to follow suit by 2016.
Considering alternatives such as reuse, recycling and recovery, or not generating the waste in the first place, starts to make good business sense when you focus on these increasing costs. In the current climate can businesses really afford not to change their behaviour?
The Scottish legislation has certainly changed the mindset of many, forcing businesses to act differently – perhaps we should adopt such an approach in England?