Recycling in numbers: facts and figures

man in office attire putting a clear plastic bottle into a green recycling container

Recycling in the workplace has become a prominent issue that needs addressing; according to Businesswaste, 31% of companies they surveyed admitting that they were using more paper than they were five years ago. Unfortunately, the long term environmental impacts of this are not positive. Studies show that as much as 80% of consumed office paper is completely wasted, with only 7.5% of office paper waste reaching the recycling facility.

Evidence like this only highlights how easy it can be to do more to recycle office waste and implement this practice easily into everyday office life. Suggested solutions to this issue are to print paper double sided, which already reduces the waste by 50% through one simple, yet effective change. This is also at little to no extra cost or effort to your business.

You can change your impact on the environment directly by adopting a number of different and simple strategies to your office, workplace and overall environment. These can help make a difference in significantly bringing down global statistics. In contrary to this, the UK's rate of recycling was at 17% in 2008. However, ten years later, in 2018, statistics show that it has increased to a 39% recycling rate. This is one of most promising in Europe, with Austria being the aim with their 63% recycling rate. This is promising proof of a positive and continuous adopted change to how we handle our waste.

Here are some interesting statistics:

  • According to Rubicon, 9/10 people who they surveyed said that they would recycle if it was 'easier'. Fortunately, reducing your office waste could not be any simpler to achieve. Some steps you can take are to reduce the amount of bins in order to cut down on unnecessary waste, have a designated recycling bin, print documents double sided, recycle ink cartridges, and avoid using disposable materials such as coffee cups, milk stirrers and plastic plates and putting them in the designated recycling bin if you choose to be use them. 
  • 70% of total office waste is recyclable, however, only 7.5% reaches the recycling facility. Is there any explanation as to why 67.5% of recyclable waste ends up in a landfill site when it doesn't need to be? The short answer is 'no'. The solution is just to think and implement small changes which will result in a big difference, as landfill sites are not just lost land due to waste; they pollute poisonous greenhouse gasses. Methane is a gas that is produced from landfill sites and is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which is an extortionate statistic that does not need to exist.
  • As much as 80% of office waste is paper. How much of this is necessary?  With 76% of people surveyed by ORS Group admitting to printing out unrelated documents and paper, surely there are obvious ways to cut this consumption down? A simple solution is encouraging the use of digital communication. This has been implemented by the Bank of America, who have reduced their paper consumption by 25% by simply implementing online forms and contracts, printing double sided, and by purchasing thinner paper. How hard can that be for other businesses to do?
  • It's not just direct harm and inconvenience to the land which pollution brings; their effect is also extended to the wider earth community, including marine life. In fact, over 100,000 marine animals die every year from plastic entanglement or ingestion. This is a devastating figure that there's no excuse for and reducing your business's waste will make a huge difference to this. Most office waste is paper, meaning it is decomposable and very easily recycled.


To find out how you can reduce your business's waste costs and impact on the environment with a waste baler or compactor, request our Wastesaving Audit or contact phs Wastekit today.


*Source for statistics: Rubicon Global

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