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Nine ways your business can do more to avoid, reduce, reuse, and recycle waste



Managing waste effectively and efficiently is not only better for our planet, and for business bottom lines, but it also helps to ensure compliance with environmental legislation, avoiding potential financial repercussions and reputational damage. Here are nine starters to get you thinking about how your business can better manage waste through prevention and reduction, as well as honing your recycling tactics.


  1. Establish a waste prevention team

Waste prevention can be defined as those measures which are taken before a product has become waste. Involve one person from every area of your business to review where waste arises, raise awareness, and get staff engaged and motivated to act to prevent waste.

  1. Monitor and record your waste stream

Use clear bin bags to see what you’re throwing out. Record your findings. Designate a green champion in each department who can assess what is being thrown out and explain what can be recycled or reused.

  1. Choose recycled or repurposed products

To repurpose is to use something for a different purpose than the one for which it was originally intended. Avoid wasting money, using raw materials, and accumulating waste by repurposing where you can.

  1. Go paperless

Going paperless means trading paper files and receipts for digital versions - eliminating paper documents. Set up online billing, say no to paper printing, avoid paper office supplies e.g. sticky notes and notepads. Take digital notes instead, digitise pay slips and booking confirmations, and opt for digital options whenever you can.

  1. Think about how you buy things

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation discovered that 45% of global greenhouse gas emissions are due to the production of consumer goods.1 Evaluate your potential purchases – both as a business and individually - by asking “do we really need this?”. If you do not buy it, you won’t need to dispose of it.

  1. Reuse packaging

Any incoming packing can be used again for outgoing packages. It is estimated that a box can be used three or four times, perhaps many more.2

  1. Avoid unnecessary mail

Keep off mailing lists to avoid junk mail and trade brochures. They are all online if you wish to access them. Eliminate junk mail by registering with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) - this will stop advertising material that’s addressed to you personally.

  1. Bulk buy

Items such as condiments, cleaning products, and toiletries can be bought in bulk. This helps avoid single-use containers, cutting down the amount of plastic waste produced.

  1. Extend products’ working lives

Buy equipment and appliances that can be repaired - this approach is being supported by the UK Government’s ‘right to repair’ regulations. If you no longer have a use for something that still has life in it then, why not donate it to a charity or reuse group as it may be of use to someone?


Recycle Week 2023 is on between 16-22 October. Find out how you can get involved at:


1 ‘Completing the picture: How the circular economy tackles climate change’, Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

2 ‘In numbers: How much waste is produced in the UK – and how much is recycled?’, Edie