Reading Time | 2 mins

Smaller firms need more support to go green

Share this article

A lack of access to recycling facilities is hampering efforts among smaller firms to adopt a more environment friendly approach to waste disposal.

That is the conclusion of a survey carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) ahead of the forthcoming Government review of business waste management.

Details from the FSB’s Voice of Small Business survey panel revealed that 95 per cent of smaller firms would recycle more if they had better access to facilities.

Smaller businesses are well aware of the benefits of recycling, the FSB asserted.

Research has shown that when energy and labour, as well as material disposal costs, are included, a business could be spending up to four per cent of its turnover disposing of waste.

The problem is that many small firms find it difficult to access waste and recycling services because a number of local authorities do not offer them to businesses.

To compound the issue, the limited volumes of waste produced by smaller firms do not make them an attractive proposition for waste management companies.

The FSB also said that it believes the Landfill Trading Allowance Scheme distorts the market for SME waste and recycling services and allows waste management companies to charge inflated prices for their services.

The business group has put forward a series of proposals that would help more firms to recycle.

Small businesses should be allowed to use household waste and recycling centres in their areas. The planning system should make sure that there is adequate space in new and refurbished commercial premises for storing waste. And the duty of care regulations for small firms that produce very small quantities of waste should be reformed.

David Caro, chairman of the FSB’s environment committee, said: “Small businesses are keen to do their bit for the environment but need to have access to the right facilities available locally. 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.

“While it is right to regulate how businesses handle their waste, firms that produce very small amounts are still subject to the same red tape as larger businesses and so reforming the duty of care regulation for very small firms would be a step in the right direction.”