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SMEs want to recycle more but don't know how

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) plan to reduce their waste and recycle more but feel hampered by lack of local facilities and information to allow them to do so. This is according to a survey commissioned by MRW and RWM07. Out of 404 small and medium sized businesses, 86% plan to reduce waste and 88% plan to recycle more. But out of these 58% said the reason they dont recycle is lack of local recycling services. And 45% of those surveyed said that a lack of information on how to recycle was a factor, with one in five of the total said this was the most important reason for why they dont recycle. There was also a mixed picture on how SMEs are aware of legislation and Government initiatives. For the upcoming Pre-Treatment Regulations, 45% of SMEs were not aware of it, 31% had a decent knowledge and 23% claimed to know the regulations very well. When it came to the Waste Strategy Review, 37% said they knew it very well, 40% quite well and 23% not well. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive was reasonably well known with 38% having significant knowledge, 36% knowing it well and 26% being in the dark about it. Small and medium businesses also claimed to be doing a lot of recycling already. 95% said they recycled paper and cardboard, an amazing 88% recycled plastic and 85% metal. 81% recycled WEEE, 77% wood, 73% hazardous waste, 71% glass, 55% textiles and 52% organics. In terms of the cost of recycling, 21% said that the main reason they did not recycle something was because of the cost with another 38% saying it was part of the reason. The survey also looked at SMEs attitudes to climate change and the wider environment. A surprising 54% of these businesses thought that small, medium and large companies should be taxed according to the carbon emissions they produce. SMEs according to the study, also appear to be quite forward thinking when it comes to climate change showing a good understanding of terms such as climate footprint, carbon neutral and carbon offsetting. Although at present only one in six has so far assessed its own carbon footprint. Many of them blamed this on a lack of understanding for not having acted more quickly, but 40% intend to measure their footprint within the six months and none saying they will wait more than two years to do it. More than half (51%) of the firms surveyed said they have a plan to reduce their carbon emissions with another 14% saying they are working on it. Of those that do not have a plan, 38% amazingly said that it was because the environment is irrelevant to the companys business strategy. MRW editor Paul Sanderson said: Among the more frequently-mentioned reasons for not having a plan to reduce carbon emissions are that SMEs regard it as irrelevant to their business strategy (34%) and just as worryingly because of a lack of information and understanding on their part (28%). Clearly, companies of all sizes need to be better informed about carbon emissions and about the benefits to them and the country of having a sound policy in this area. The survey was carried out by Explomarket on behalf of MRW and RWM 07 (Birmingham NEC, 11-13 September). The 404 businesses were contacted by telephone and represented companies that were defined as small (10-49 employees) and medium (50-250 employees) using official Government measurements. Firms with less than 10 or more than 250 employees were not included.

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