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Recycling as a business can be something of a minefield! The UK currently has more than 200 environmental laws in place, and non-compliance can lead to hefty fines for businesses that have failed to modernise their operations for minimal environmental impact.

Believe it or not, you don’t have to take huge strides to have a significant impact on the environment, but you do need to ensure you’re sticking to the regulations!

Let’s start with the serious stuff!


Recycling legislation in the UK

Since 2015, businesses within the UK are required to adhere to recycling regulations. This means that individual recyclable items should be separated from other waste. The aim of this legislation is to encourage businesses to implement the necessary strategies to reduce negative impacts on the environment.

In addition, Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 specifies a duty of care when handling commercial waste by ensuring ‘responsible and safe disposal, storage and removal’. The duty of care legislation states that failure to comply is an offence with no upper limit on the courts power to fine.

There’s more! The Waste Regulations (England and Wales) 2011 requires businesses to confirm that they have applied waste management when transferring waste and include a declaration to this effect on their waste transfer note.


What do you need to know?

Though recycling factors will vary for all, there are key regulations that should be upheld by all UK businesses. These include:

  • Minimising waste as much as possible by implementing appropriate recycling schemes.
  • Completing a waste transfer note for all waste that leaves your premises.
  • Ensuring that your chosen waste carrier is registered to dispose of waste, and ensuring that they do not dispose of waste illegally.
  • Registering as a waste carrier.


Varying recycling factors

In addition to the above, your recycling requirements and pricing will vary based on several factors. In particular, England, NI, Scotland, and Wales all have different processes based on their individual legislation and guidelines.

These factors are likely to include:

  • The amount of waste that is collected.
  • The frequency in which waste is collected.
  • The type of waste and whether it includes any hazardous waste (asbestos, chemicals, solvents etc.) This will dictate the tier of your registration.


What does this mean for you?

All UK businesses are encouraged to adopt the ‘3R’s’ strategy.

Reducing, reusing, and recycling waste are the most environmentally preferred approaches, and more likely to achieve the desired end goal – that is, high recycling rates!

Implementing a convenient and easy recycling strategy means that you and your workplace are doing all that you can to minimise waste.

With many forward thinking businesses now implementing strategies to reduce their carbon footprint and striving for carbon neutral status, it couldn’t be a better time to start a reduce, reuse and recycle scheme.

Let’s break that down:


Your goal is to incorporate a strategy that encourages your workforce to reduce their waste. For every one person that does this, another will follow, and so forth. The best way to do this is by limiting the amount of disposable waste that you use including cups, bags and product packaging.

Switching to a Longopac continuous liner system saves a business in overall costs, reduces time spent emptying bins, and increases recycling rates by 58%.

Many coffee shops chains have recently launched in-store coffee cup recycling bins or return and reward recycling machines – both great assets to the workplace as coffee cups used by your team are sent to dedicated recycling facilities rather than landfill.

By opting for non-disposable items, you’ll instantly notice a significant reduction in office waste, as well as having a positive impact on the running of your business.


Reusing items will immediately impact on the amount of waste your business creates. When choosing bags and drinking cups, try investing in vegware or reusable; prepare food and store in Tupperware containers to reduce packaging waste.

If you’re not using it, it can’t become waste!


Recycling refers to converting waste material into a new product, most commonly seen in the form of paper, plastic, tins, cans and glass. Once these items are disposed of appropriately, they have every chance of avoiding landfill and being transformed into something new.

In order to execute this in your workspace, you’ll need to invest in office recycling bins or a recycling station. Remember, its all about convenience, so the easier it is for users to access, the more likely your chances of achieving high recycling rates.

Regardless of the size, scale and type of organisation you’re in, there are always recycling options available. From heavy duty plastic recycling bins, to more compact recycling options for smaller spaces, Unisan can help your recycling strategy with the right products for you.

Unisort Aspire recycling station gallery


How can I implement an effective recycling scheme in my workplace?

Once you’ve established the main sources of waste within your workplace, you can take steps to implement your plight. You’ll probably want to incorporate both indoor and outdoor recycling bins to ensure that good habits remain in check (as well as keeping your outside area clean!).

The Urban recycling bin is suitable for both indoor and outdoor; a fantastic addition to any space, it really does make recycling convenient and consistent for you and your workforce.

Office waste bins come in a range of sizes and usually have certain bespoke, customisable options. Recycling stations can incorporate numerous compartments with the option of adding your chosen recycling labels for ease of use and high visibility. To understand the dangers of waste contamination on recycling rates, check out our blog here

Overall, it’s about successfully engaging your workforce in a new recycling scheme. Employee investment is everything, and encouraging your team to understand that they’re contributing to the forward movement of the business, and the environment, will make them want to do the right thing.


Need inspiration?

Agile recycling bins are large bins are available in 60L or 70L. You can choose multiple colours for different waste streams to allow for instant recognition. Streams include paper, plastics, cans, general waste and mixed recycling.

If you’re part of a school, college or university, the Facilo 50L recycling bin is a great solution; plastic recycling bins with colour-coded lids for easy waste segregation. Highly durable and low in price so ideal for busy corridors or reception areas.

Make doing the right thing easy with a bespoke recycling station. Far more impressive than a mere waste bin, a recycling station can be designed to suit your brand requirements with the appropriate colours and labelling. Created to be a feature in any workspace, it’s a great incentive for engaging staff and customers.

Introducing any of these options into your workplace will ensure that your organisation is adhering to workplace recycling legislation.

Agile recycling bins


Who are Unisan?

We aid organisations in promoting and increasing recycling within the workspace. With a wide range of effective recycling solutions for any organisation, our key objective is to empower workspace recycling and allow you and your organisation to be the very best that you can be.

Thinking of implementing a workspace recycling scheme? Please get in touch with one of our experts and we’ll be happy to assist.

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Recycling laws in Wales have changed. Is your business compliant?