Recycling is no doubt becoming more integrated into everyday lives, with the Landfill Directive seeking to meet a target of 35% landfill use based on 1995 levels, driving local authorities to make the collection of household recycling more frequent than normal waste. Consumers are and will continue to become more environmentally savvy, and seek out brands, where finances allow, that are seen as making an effort into becoming a more sustainable force in the marketplace.
Becoming more sustainable is just one of the areas of focus within companies Corporate Social Responsibility targets. Similarly, with the introduction of scope 3 corporate value chain reporting, companies are having to do the very same within the supply chain, for instance only selecting those suppliers that have been accredited with ISO:14001 environmental standard.
Not only can recycling be a simple and effective method of being seen by various stakeholders as a more environmentally responsible company, but it saves businesses money.
As mentioned, the Landfill directive does not just set targets but incurs a landfill tax to all bodies that are producing waste. The current tax per one tonne of general waste stands at £72 and is due to rise to £80 by 2014. Recycling is the most effective way of resolving a cost burden for businesses as well as boosting their environmental credibility.
Some companies in particular are too small and do not have the time or need to re-write a sustainability strategy into all areas of the business, or whom are not able to accurately produce an impact assessment of every product or service they retail. Recycling can be done with little effort to save capital, enhance brand image and become compliant with turbulent changes to environmental legislation in the UK.
For those companies who contribute larger proportion of overall waste to landfill as well as other environmental areas, there are issues in transparency.
There has been huge controversy over the transparency of large businesses since the economic downturn, the phrase for this covering up of actual corporate activities in the environmental sense has been coined ‘green washing’. Under the new GHG reporting regulation, listed companies are legally bound to report their greenhouse gas emissions each year in line with the performance report. These ‘sustainability reports’ seldom detail actual statistics, facts and figures where valuable information can be lost between the impenetrable corporate spiel.
Out of all the targets that may be incorporated as part of a firms CSR objectives, recycling is the most easily measurable and visible component.
Recycling is at the core of sustainability, zero waste is the apex of environmental achievement and cannot be achieved when landfill is still being used as a method of waste utilisation. Companies should review their recycling efforts on all waste formats; including but not limited to; EE (Electrical Equipment), food waste, metal and hazardous waste in order to meet their corporate social responsibility targets and save money. Recycling however, shouldn’t just be something that is done to meet targets, it should be something that is expected as standard to contribute to a more circular society.