Why Recycle? How to Recycle FAQ About Us Terms

How to Recycle

In essence it’s simple – identify recyclable materials that your workplace consumes, segregate them and measure how much is collected and then use that information to get prices for collection from a few collectors.

Appoint a recycling co-ordinator (or an ‘eco-team’ if you are a big organisation), responsible for setting up the scheme, managing communication, collecting feedback, and measuring the scheme’s effectiveness. 

Identify suitable locations for recycling bins and containers. It is important to determine where recyclable material will be generated, as well-placed containers will increase the capture of requested material. Convenient sites will make it as easy to recycle as it is to throw away. Initially it is worth buying temporary containers to give a better idea of what size of bin will be required in the future - packs of cardboard bins are ideal.  Make sure that recycling containers are clearly labelled and put a list or poster above them showing what can be recycled. Remember to check any health and safety implications when positioning the containers. Ensure external containers can be easily accessed by collection vehicles.

Make sure that staff are aware of the materials that are being recycled, and where to put them. Remember that staff will be more receptive to a scheme that is easy to understand and participate in. Training existing staff in the recycling scheme will increase its effectiveness, and training should form part of the induction process for new staff. A recycling ‘launch day’, to include a demonstration of the service, will ensure everyone knows when and how to start using the service.   Use your existing communication channels such as email and newsletters to promote the scheme and remember to have ongoing updates providing information on how much has been recycled and what this means for both the business and the environment.

Consider which materials you can recycle and determine how much storage space your workplace has for recycling bins and containers. Also consider whether the materials you recycle will be collected by a waste contractor, or will you drop them off at a recycling point?

If you appoint a contractor to collect recyclable materials, consider whether this should be at appointed intervals or ‘on demand’ and whether the contractors pricing structure is appropriate. Remember that different materials may be collected on different days. The recycling co-ordinator should ensure appropriate communication between the contractor and key internal staff such as the cleaners and maintenance staff

Consider recycling to help charities that your workplace supports. Old computer equipment, mobile phones, printer cartridges can by recycled to raise funds.

There are laws relating to the disposal of waste collected by businesses. Full details can be obtained from the Environment Agency - www.environment-agency.gov.uk or telephone 08708 506506.

When setting up a recycling scheme, the following should be considered in relation to these ‘Duty of Care’ laws:


  • Businesses producing waste must ensure that it is stored safely and securely and prevent it from causing pollution or harm. 
  • Anyone transporting, recycling, or disposing of a third-party’s waste must have a Waste Carriers Licence
  • When waste is collected it must be described in writing and a Waste Transfer Note obtained and stored for two years. Repeated collections of the same type of waste can be covered by one Waste Transfer Note for up to one year.
  • Businesses can transport their own waste without a Waste Carriers Licence but waste must still be covered by a Transfer Note


Popular materials suitable for recycling in the workplace include:

White high-grade office paper

Mixed paper (envelopes, newspapers, magazines, newsletters, brochures, leaflets)

Confidential documents (where shredding service is provided by the waste collection contractor)

Paper already shredded in the workplace


 Printer cartridges

 Plastic bottle

 Food and drink cans


 Electrical equipment

 Plastic film wrap

 Glass bottles and jars




Workplace environment Typical recyclate types
Office Printer and copier paper, confidential documents, shredded paper, envelopes, general waste, Cans, tins, glass and plastic bottles, printer & toner cartridges
School/College/University Paper, general waste, cans, tins, glass and plastic bottles, printer & toner cartridges
Industrial facility such as factory, warehouse Cardboard, paper, general waste, plastics, shrink-wrap film, bio-degradable packaging, batteries
Hospitality such as pubs, clubs, hotels, restaurant, golf club, conference centre Glass, cardboard, cans, tins, bottles, plastic bottles, organic waste, food waste
Hospital/Clinic/Doctor surgery Confidential documents, shredded waste, printer & toner cartridges
Retail such as high street shops, department stores Brochures, leaflets, till rolls, cardboard, plastic, shrink-wrap, bio-degradable packaging
Outdoor events Organic waste, food waste, general waste, cans, glass and plastic bottles



Recycling symbols explained 


 Indicates that the item is recyclable and should be recycled wherever possible



New packaging symobls the include the recycle icon.  Help to identify how different parts of packaging can be recycled


Green Dot

Does not always mean that packaging can be recycled.  Rather it signifies that the producer has contributed toward the recycling of packaging



Identifies the type of plastic.  For example PET and HDPE which are widely recycled in the UK



Glass bottles and Jars can be disposed of in bottle banks


Recyclable Aluminium

Indicates that product can be placed in an Aluminium recycling container


Recyclable Steel

Indicates product can be placed in a steel recycling container


Mobius Loop

Indicates that an object is capable of being recycled.  Does not indicate that product has been recycled.


Mobius Loop with Percentage

Shows the percentage of recycled material contained in the product



National Association of Paper Merchants mark.  Paper must be made from minimum 75% waste paper to comply



Forest Stewardship Council mark - Indicates product uses wood from a well mananged forest, accredited by the FSC.


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