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Businesses shun recycling over cost concerns

As many as 60% of small- and medium-sized hospitality businesses (SMEs) are failing to use a recycling service despite a large majority saying sustainability is important to them.

Research from waste management company Biffa found that cost and a lack of space in which to keep bins were the two most common reasons given for not recycling.

A survey of over 1,000 SMEs in the UK revealed that 59% viewed sustainability as ‘very important’ to their business, while 27% said it was ‘quite important’ or ‘important’.

Biffa’s own customer data, however, showed that just 40% of businesses in hospitality use a recycling service as part of their current waste management contract, compared with 47% of all SMEs. This means that most SMEs are potentially still using general waste bins for all their business waste.

Biffa said businesses would benefit from more support around their waste management choices. “While there’s lots of information out there about recycling for consumers and households, there’s not a great deal of helpful guidance for businesses,” said Biffa’s chief operating officer Maxine Mayhew.

She added that improvements such as changes to bin size, bin locations and frequency of collections could free up space, save time, and in some cases reduce costs.