A charter to help boost small business recycling rates and save around £18bn has been announced by recycling minister Lord Taylor.
The charter will bring together small businesses with council recycling services and organisations offering waste reduction.
The ‘Business Waste and Recycling Services Commitment’ outlines 12 principles of best practice that local authorities can use to tailor services to SMEs.
These principles include the need to make recycling easy, provide value for money and continually improve services through feedback.
Lord Taylor said: “This deal will bring much needed relief for smaller businesses that want to do the right thing but are struggling to get a decent recycling service.
“For the first time we’ve got solid agreement between councils and businesses to make it easier and more cost effective for smaller firms to recycle more and improve their resource efficiency.”
In March, Defra published figures showing that businesses could save £18bn by reducing waste and diverting from landfill. SMEs produce around 30m tonnes of waste a year and recycling rates are already over the 50% mark.
The charter has been thrashed out between SMEs, Defra, the Local Government Association, and the Federation of Small Businesses.
FSB environment committee chair David Caro said: “FSB research has shown that 95% of businesses would recycle more if they had better access to recycling facilities. The FSB has long called for small firms to have better access to recycling facilities and so now we call on all local authorities to sign up to the commitment.”
LGA environment board chairman Cllr David Parsons said councils were already doing a lot to minimise business waste and boost recycling. Half of all councils offer local businesses recycling services.
Parsons added: “The new voluntary commitment gives councils the opportunity to send a clear signal to local businesses about the support and services they can provide.
“Local authorities and their residents have worked together to achieve a nearly four-fold increase in the rate of household recycling in the past decade. We hope to help businesses replicate that success.”
Improving access for SMEs to better recycling services was a commitment announced in June in the Government’s Review of Waste Policy.