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recycling bins

Why do we recycle well at home, but not at work?

Posted in Recycling
On 13 Jul 2017
By Jas Bagri

While household recycling figures currently stand at around 44.3%* working towards a national target of 50% by 2020, business recycling rates still lag some way behind.

The question of why we are more likely to recycle at home and how we can encourage more recycling in the office and workplace is key, as lower recycling rates at work increase waste sent to landfill and reduced the amount of valuable resources that can be process and recycled.

One of the biggest barriers is that employees don’t want to get it wrong. While we are happy to recycle at home because we understand what goes where, at work it can be a different story and often waste that doesn’t neatly fit into the category of paper, glass and cardboard ends up in the general waste bin.

The problem with this is that business waste is stringently regulated, especially for those producing high volumes of packaging waste or hazardous waste. So what can business do to better manage this? One simple way is through better education and clear simple labelling of waste containers.

We can all improve recycling at work so here’s our top tips:


  • Encouraging staff to use recycling points rather than individual waste bins
  • Tell employees what happens to their waste once disposed of correctly can help motivate them and help them learn about the bigger picture
  • Clear and simple signage to help simplify the process

What do we do here at Biffa?

Here at Biffa we are busy doing our bit. In our offices no-one is hiding a waste bin under their desk. Instead we all use centralised bins, which show us where each type of waste can be disposed of. This principle has worked so well that it has been scaled up for many of our customers who deal with a more complex mix of waste.

For sites where they are dealing with items such as batteries, hazardous liquids, pressured containers and electrical items we have introduced “hazardous waste stations” which may house a number of different waste containers. These sit within clearly labelled and colour coded areas. By removing the guesswork out of waste management we can help companies to stay compliant and reduce the risk of fines for mishandling hazardous materials.


* (Department for Environment and Rural Affairs – figures stated Dec 2015)

About the author

image of jas bagri

Jas Bagri

Jas is part of Biffa’s digital team, writing a diverse range of content on a number on industry topics. Jas’s favourite subject to write about is recycling, so look out for her handy tips coming your way!