Commercial and domestic waste are now being produced at quantities so concerning that this is one of the major issues facing the world today. The UK produces around 200 million tonnes of waste every year, and global waste is estimated to grow by more than 50% by 2050. This issue is compounded by the fact that only a small portion of waste is recycled properly. In the UK, a proportion of waste has long been exported to countries like China. However, China has now reduced the import quantity of recyclable materials like cardboard, which has become a matter of concern for countries like the UK.
All of this means that it’s important to seek out alternative methods to reduce and manage waste. One thing that businesses can do which is simple yet has a huge positive impact, is recycling any waste internally as much as possible. Various materials can be recycled in different ways, but most people lack the knowledge about what you can recycle and how to recycle it. Here are 8 types of business waste that you can recycle beyond commonly-recycled items such as paper and plastic.
1. Electronic devices
In many offices, outdated and broken electronic devices are tossed in a heap and take up useful storage space for months or even years. However, many devices like computers and their accessories such as printers, as well as keyboards, photocopiers, and their cables can be completely recycled. Recycling facilities along with local authorities collect electronics, separate out their various valuable components, and re-purpose them into new products.
Batteries contain hazardous materials like lead and therefore should be separated from other general waste. Many companies discard batteries, from standard double AA batteries to larger industrial ones, in huge quantities when they are no longer useful. A recycling centre or battery collection point will take your used batteries and extract their components for other uses.
3. Fluorescent lamps
Offices and other businesses use an incredibly number of fluorescent lights for because they represent affordable and efficient lighting, and at the end of their life cycle, these become hazardous waste. The mercury content in one fluorescent tube can pollute 30,000 litres of water and is so nees to be disposed of appropriately. Recycling centres accept fluorescent lights and separate their components like mercury, glass, aluminium, and phosphor, which are then used to produce new items, including new lamps.
4. CDs and DVDs
CDs and DVDs have found valuable applications in many commercial settings, such as surgical procedures, law, and surveillance, for recording long duration video information. Storing such information for evidence for many years is often required by law, but thanks to digitization, most organizations have transferred such recordings to advanced and compact digital storage devices, leaving behind a large pile of discarded CDs and DVDs. These can be recycled via e-waste recycling facilities and mail-in programs.
5. Coffee Cups
Many people think that coffee cups are made of paper material. However, disposable take away cups actually have a thin inner plastic layer for holding liquids. You may think that this makes coffee cups unsuitable for recycling, but the good news is that they can be recycled. You’ll just need to separate them from other paper waste before sending them to a recycling centre.
When you renovate your space or upgrade your floors, you may find yourself with piles of old, worn out and damaged carpet on your hands. Even a single carpet can occupy a lot of space and so needs to be disposed of properly. Many carpet manufacturers run programs that take old carpets and recycle them into new products such as construction materials.
7. Aggregate waste
Landscaping around your office building can generate a lot of aggregate waste like rubble, stone, and soil. It can be difficult to know what to do with waste like this, causing it to literally pile up. However, they can be recycled into construction materials or use to fill up land in new construction projects.
8. Wellies (Wellington Boots)
Many sectors, including agriculture, geological research, landscaping, security, and construction, use rubber boots, sometimes called Wellington boots, on a regular basis. Damaged boots can be collected and delivered to a recycling centre so that they can be processed and used to make rubberized roads, playgrounds, horse arenas, among other rubber products. Reusing this precious resource has many benefits for the environment, as one tonne of new rubber produced can generate three tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
Dealing with waste is not only a massive global issue, but the precious resources contained in such waste can be put to better use. Recycling your business waste makes you a responsible organization that demonstrates its concerns about the environment, and this could even earn you some extra cash!