Planet Ark’s new report on business waste finds that the majority of SMEs consider responsible waste management key to being a sustainable business, with many planning to implement policies to improve their outcomes in this area.
Interestingly, though, cost does not appear to be strong motivator for firms to reduce and address waste generation and management, with many viewing their waste disposal bills as quite low.
Research behind the What’s The Deal With Business Waste? report found that SMEs generate 6.5 million tonnes of waste to landfill annually, which is increasing. Of those firms questioned, 76 per cent viewed the act of reducing waste generation and boosting recycling as a key factor in being a sustainable, ethical company, and improves their public perception. For 53 per cent another stimulus for boosting recycling was that they saw it as providing a competitive edge over other businesses.
However, despite 71 per cent of respondents responding that their current waste bills were low, which acts as a barrier to them reviewing their waste management activities, less than a third could say what these costs were and more than half (58 per cent) kept no records about how much waste they produce.
Planet Ark also highlights a couple of concerns around commercial waste management. Even though states are not currently meeting their targets for commercial and industrial waste streams, 68 per cent believed they were doing all they could around waste management and recycling, and 17 per cent saw no clear benefits to cutting waste or recycling more.
Planet Ark’s Recycling Programs Manager, Ryan Collins, said: “Six million tonnes of business waste is still going to landfill annually, so our new report aims to highlight the many resources available to businesses.
“It’s not simply the environment that benefits from businesses reducing their waste – businesses themselves can save money, find efficiencies and boost staff morale.”
Despite some inertia around improving waste management, there is some good news for waste management and recycling service providers. A seventh of SMEs said they were planning to implement a waste and recycling policy during the next 12 months, and a third said there weren’t any barriers to them improving their practices in this area.
“The findings from the research show that actions like increasing recycling and reducing waste are not only potentially cost-effective but have other benefits like attracting clients and talented staff and promoting efficiency – all great motivators for waste and recycling service providers to talk about with their prospective clients,” added Mr Collins.
Planet Ark encourages the industry’s providers to list services on the Business Recycling website, which is a free, useful resource to help companies find solutions for responsible waste management.