Guidance for
Small and Medium sized businesses and Enterprises (SME)

Preventing waste in the first place

Here are a few tips to reduce your waste:

  • Donate surplus or unsold stock – donate surplus food to charity or have an employee fridge for products that they can eat or take home free of charge. Donate other surplus items (for example stationery) to schools or a local ‘scrap-store’. Guidance is available on How food businesses must dispose of food and former foodstuffs;

  • Purchase recycled, refillable or reusable products wherever possible;

  • Provide water fountains for staff to use and stock kitchen facilities (if provided) with reusable cups, crockery, and utensils rather than single use disposable alternatives;

  • Ask your suppliers to use returnable transit packaging that they collect from you when they next deliver and

  • Consider ways of going paperless:

    • Set default printing and photocopying settings to ‘double sided’,

    • Email rather than print documents,

    • Monitor printing and photocopying volumes, setting reduction targets for staff members, or

    • Use paperless marketing methods.

There may be some costs to making these changes for some workplaces but increasing how much you recycle could reduce your waste disposal costs in the medium-to-long run. As this law applies to all workplaces, it will be factored into business and management models.

If you are already separately collecting and recycling all the materials you need to under the new law, then you may not need to do anything else. We recommend that you read The Separate Collection of Waste Materials for Recycling: Code of Practice to double check you are doing everything you need to. This includes a list of all the specific types of things that have to be recycled.