By Max Clarke

Ahead of next week’s launch of the ‘Waste Review’, aimed at paving the way for a ‘zero waste’ economy, the Federation of Small Businesses have urged the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to consider smaller enterprises and their access to recycling.

“We need a new approach to waste — one which works for the new economy. We cannot keep putting recyclable and biodegradable material into landfill. It threatens the environment and wastes what are incredibly valuable natural resources,” said Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman.

Small firms, argues the FSB, know that minimising waste makes business sense as well as benefiting the environment. Research has shown that when materials, energy and labour as well as disposal costs are included, a business could be spending up to four per cent of its turnover disposing of waste.

As a result 9 out of 10 businesses surveyed indicate they would recycle more were it practical.

However, small businesses find it extremely difficult to access suitable waste and recycling services as many local authorities do not offer these services to businesses. And due to the small volumes of waste they produce, small firms cannot attract the services of waste management companies, either.

"Small businesses are keen to do their bit for the environment but need to have access to the right facilities available locally,” said FSB environment committee chair, David Caro. “Many small firms produce a similar amount of waste to that of a household, yet they cannot use the same facilities and often find that they are at the mercy of an uncompetitive waste and recycling market.”

"Giving small firms access to household waste and recycling centres would be a quick win that would make the lives of so many small businesses easier when it comes to managing their waste responsibly,” continued Caro.

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