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How Small Businesses Can Recycle More

Rates for recycling in the UK keep growing steadily each year, and that’s good news, because if we’re really going to make a difference, we need everyone on board. However, establishing recycling as the norm isn’t always easy for everyone.

For SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), recycling may well be something they’d like to do but simply haven’t had the time to arrange the necessary waste management service. But there are many other reasons why recycling rates may be so low in the small business sector, including:

  • A lack of space for separating waste types
  • A lack of knowledge on how to start recycling
  • A misconception that recycling can be expensive
  • A feeling that their rate of recycling doesn’t matter due to their size

So this month at SCS Waste, we wanted to help more SMEs and small business owners understand the importance of recycling and how they can make a start. 

small business recycling

We’ve got a short guide here, but if you’re a small business owner and you want more help getting started with business recycling in Arundel, Littlehampton or Bognor Regis right now, just contact our friendly team today and we’ll be happy to advise you.

Why should small businesses recycle?

Small businesses are usually those finding their feet or fighting daily to generate profit while providing value to customers. For that reason, it’s easy to understand why recycling may not be top of the agenda, but here are two reasons you should play your part if you own an SME:

  1. You’re helping the environment – It’s not just the overall rate of recycling in the UK you’d be helping by recycling in your small business, but rather the planet itself. The more we recycle, the fewer natural resources we have to use up and the brighter the future looks for everyone.
  2. Your customers value sustainability – If not for the sake of the environment directly, then do it for your customers. Your focus can be on your business, but it’s hard to ignore the rising call for more sustainable practices from customers. If your customers value sustainability, then it’s a good idea to put some effort and emphasis on recycling, no matter what the size of your business. This can be a selling point and shows people you’re aligned with their beliefs to drive more business your way.

coffee shop paper bag

How can small businesses recycle more?

The reasons for recycling should be compelling enough, but for many SMEs, it’s not a case of being unwilling, it’s simply about the obstacles in place. So let’s look at how your small business can recycle more by tackling those obstacles one by one:

How can small businesses recycle more?

  • “Recycling is too expensive”.

While many think of this as a reason for not recycling, it’s actually not true. A lot depends on how you’re currently dealing with your waste, of course, but there are ways of recycling without cutting into the profit with more operating costs.

If you produce any waste already, you likely have a contract in place for the management of that waste. Many waste companies will charge for commercial waste management by weight, so if you can separate your recyclable materials into different streams, you could potentially lower the cost because of the weight reduction.

  • “I don’t have room for recycling bins”.

The smaller the business, the smaller the space you’ve got to work with. For many SMEs, this is the biggest issue to overcome, but in truth, if you’re separating your waste then you probably don’t need as large a general waste bin. Remember, you’re only producing the same amount of waste, so by shrinking your general waste and adding a bin for paper, card and plastic, you’re probably using the same amount of space. Speak to your waste management provider to get the correct bins for the amount of waste you produce.

  • “I don’t have time to deal with recycling”.

Time is a precious resource for everyone, but once you’re set up with a professional waste management contract it should be much easier, as the collection and disposal are taken off your hands.

Another way to ensure you aren’t wasting time sorting through your recycling is by educating yourself and your staff on what can actually be recycled. Starting on the right foot will mean everyone knows which items can go in your recycling bins and no one has to sift through them come the end of the day.

  • “I don’t know where to start recycling”.

With a small-to-medium-sized business, it’s likely those at the top are juggling multiple roles and responsibilities that would often be shared out by larger companies, so this sense of not knowing where to start is easy to understand. Here are four steps to help orientate you on how you can easily and quickly set up recycling for your business:

  1. First, speak to a waste management professional. They can often audit your waste streams to help find you the best, most efficient recycling services specific to you.
  2. Start with a single material to make things easy. Where many fail is by trying to recycle absolutely everything from the word go. Instead, pick one material to separate out and add more as your business becomes more comfortable. It also makes it easier for your staff to understand.
  3. Add signs around your bins. Once you have your recycling service set up, it’s time to add a few signs on or around your bins to encourage the practice. You could make these yourself or find some simple, inexpensive signage online.
  4. If space becomes an issue, bring it inside. To encourage your team to recycle and to save space out the back of your building if things are tight, try bringing any dry recycling inside with a dedicated space for a small recycling bin. 


Here at SCS Waste, we understand how daunting it can be to start thinking about recycling on top of everything else when you’re in charge of a small business. But we also know how important it is for the environment and for sustainability. That’s why we offer commercial waste management and recycling services for business waste in Arundel, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and the surrounding areas.

Need help recycling more at your business? No matter what your size, we can help. Call today to discuss your waste and we’ll help you break down your recycling, making it manageable and stress-free.