Assessing your environmental impacts
Waste and recycling is an area that many small businesses are surprisingly poor at dealing with.  And yet it is very straightforward to reduce landfill waste.

In order to assess your business’ current waste that is sent to landfill you could weigh one bag (or a few to get an average) and keep track of the bags sent per month.  Alternatively if you are charged by the bag or tonne then your financial record can be used.

The record to be kept is the total weight of rubbish sent to landfill per £1,000 of turnover.

Deciding on your targets
The amount of waste that is being produced by your company will vary with production and sales.  There are no records of best practice, this is simply a case of reducing your waste, possibly as a factor of sales.  One small survey of four offices making efforts to reduce waste going to landfill produced figures showing landfill amounts of 12kg to 45kg per person per year.

Reducing your impacts
Almost all waste should be recyclable if purchases are made carefully and some effort to find facilities is made.  Disposable items such as cups, cutlery and plates should be avoided because of the energy costs of production and transportation; and they are unpleasant to use.

Paper waste can be shredded (once or cross shredded) and then collected for recycling.  If volumes are small you may find a keen gardener in your office that will be grateful to take shredded paper away to mix with grass clippings in their compost.  Security firms will take away confidential papers for secure shredding and recycling.

Plastic bottles, glass and cans, cardboard and organic waste should all be recycled within most local authorities.  Contact your local authority to find out what facilities exist.

One of the main barriers to recycling, particularly around offices, is ease of use of facilities.  If each workspace has relevant recycling bins and the only landfill bin is located centrally (rather than the common practice of only one recycle bin) then all individuals will happily recycle, and are often very keen to do so.

Computer equipment must always be recycled.  Charities and schools will often be very glad of serviceable computers.  Removing all sensitive data is relatively straightforward with the correct software.  Manufacturers such as Dell will take old equipment when purchasing new items.