Recycling for Businesses: Navigating DEFRA’s Changes

Understanding DEFRA’s Reforms

DEFRA has recently implemented reforms to household and business bin collections, as well as regulations to combat unscrupulous waste carriers. These changes to waste management legislation are designed to boost recycling rates and protect the environment. Let’s dig into the key aspects:

Common-Sense Recycling Approach

Glasdon commercial recycling station

What’s New? People across England can now recycle the same materials at home, work, or school. This ends the confusion over what can and can’t be recycled in different regions.

Materials to Recycle:
The seven recyclable waste streams include:

  • Food Waste
  • Glass Recycling
  • Garden Waste
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Paper
  • Cardboard

Weekly Food Waste Collections

What’s Changing? By 2026, most households in England will have weekly food waste collections. This eliminates the problem of smelly waste waiting for weeks and reduces food waste sent to landfills.

Contamination Reduction: Separate food waste collections prevent contamination of other waste that could otherwise be recycled.

Anaerobic Digestion: Food waste collected separately can be sent to anaerobic digestion facilities, generating sustainable energy to power homes and businesses.

Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions: By diverting food waste from landfills, we cut down on the more than 18 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions associated with this waste.

Impact on Businesses: Businesses should prepare for this change by segregating food waste properly. Consider investing in separate food waste bins to comply with the new regulations.

Streamlining Bin Requirements

No More Bin Clutter: The reforms aim to prevent excessive complexity for local councils while ensuring all recyclable waste streams are collected. Businesses won’t need an excessive number of bins and will be able to effectively separate waste at source with a space-efficient recycling station

Materials Design Considerations: Manufacturers can now design packaging with confidence, knowing it can be recycled nationwide. This encourages more recycled material in the products we buy.

DEFRA’s Simpler Recycling Timeline

  • Welsh Reforms (April 2024): Wales has already embraced the “Simpler Recycling” approach, streamlining waste collections and making recycling more consistent across the country.
  • England’s Transition (2025 - 2026): England is following suit, gradually introducing the same system, starting with core recycling in 2025.
    By 2026, weekly food waste collections will be standard, and businesses will benefit from a more convenient and practical recycling process.

Practical Steps for Businesses

  • Assess Your Current Practices

    Audit Your Waste: Begin by assessing your current waste management practices. Identify the types of waste generated and their disposal methods.
    Request a free waste management audit today.

    Educate Staff: Ensure that employees understand the importance of recycling and how to segregate waste correctly.
    Request a free waste management audit today

  • Invest in Recycling Infrastructure

    Bins and Containers: Purchase appropriate recycling bins for different waste streams. Consider color-coding bins for easy identification.

    Food Waste Bins: With weekly food waste collections on the horizon, invest in food waste bins. These can be indoor or outdoor bins, depending on your business premises.

  • Staff Training

    Educating Employees:
    Businesses should implement processes for segregating recyclables effectively. Employees need to understand which materials go into each recycling bin. For instance, separating glass, metal, plastic, paper, and cardboard waste is essential.

    Understanding the New System:
    With weekly food waste collections becoming standard, employees should know how to separate food waste from other recyclables. Training sessions can cover the importance of food waste diversion and proper disposal methods.
    Educate staff about the new common-sense approach to recycling. They should be aware that the same materials can now be recycled at home, work, or school, eliminating confusion.

    Communication and Signage: 
    Provide clear guidelines on recycling practices. Display signage near recycling bins to remind employees of the correct procedures. Using waste segregation bins with ‘Recycle Now!’ graphics is an excellent way to maintain consistency between your recycling scheme and the public bins we’re all used to using.
    Ensure consistent communication across the organization. Regular reminders and updates can reinforce recycling habits.

    Collaboration with Waste Collectors:
    Train staff on waste collector requirements. For example, understanding how to prepare recyclables for collection (e.g., rinsing containers) is essential.
    Staff should be informed about exemptions (such as combining dry recyclables) and any changes in collection schedules.

    Benefits of Staff Training:

    • Efficiency: Properly trained employees contribute to efficient waste segregation and recycling.
    • Compliance: Training ensures compliance with new regulations.
    • Environmental Impact: Educated staff actively participate in waste reduction efforts.

    Remember, staff training is an investment that pays off in improved recycling rates, reduced waste costs, and a positive environmental impact.

By embracing DEFRA’s Simpler Recycling reforms, businesses can streamline their waste management processes, contribute to a sustainable future, and make a positive impact. Recycling isn’t just a legal obligation; it’s an opportunity to protect our planet and conserve valuable resources.

For businesses looking to implement these changes, consider exploring our range of recycling bins designed specifically for commercial use.

Monday, May 13, 2024
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