• Lee Calver
  • 17 December 2014

Are you ready for the new commercial waste laws?

An amendment to the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 in January 2015 will mean that collectors in England and Wales are legally obliged to ensure that paper, glass, metal and plastic waste are collected separately from non-recyclable waste where this is technically, economically and environmentally practicable. Businesses should work with their waste contractors to ensure that these regulations are complied with.

While it is only a matter of weeks until this change is enforced, a large proportion of organisations are unaware of the forthcoming revisions. According to a survey of 1,700 small businesses by, up to 90% of company owners are oblivious to the requirement to make a significant change to the way they manage waste from 1 January onwards.

The new legislation originated from the EU Waste Framework Directive and its aim is to ensure improvement to the quality and quantity of recycling across the UK. It will increase the quality of recycled material by reducing contamination and therefore improving the environment and making better use of natural resources, which in turn will boost the economy.

It is not only England and Wales making changes in the New Year. It was recently announced that as of 1 January, new rules will be in place to encourage residents and businesses in Metro Vancouver to separate food waste from regular waste.

What do FMs need to do?

Organisations should use a recycling service for paper, metal, plastic and glass, while everything else will fall under ‘general waste collection’.

You are not required however to separate paper, metal plastic and glass from each other. European Commission guidance states:

“Considering that the aim of separate collection is high quality recycling, the introduction of a separate collection system is not necessary if the aim of high quality recycling can be achieved just as well with a form of co-mingled collection.”

Those involved in FM should of course be encouraging their organisations to go above and beyond just meeting the basic requirements in order to gain even more benefits.

Few organisations are aware of the true cost of waste when factors such as raw materials, energy, and lost labour are factored in (estimated by WRAP at £17bn, 4% of UK business profits).

International Workplace provides expert advice and consultancy to businesses on a wide range of waste management issues, ensuring legal compliance and minimising the cost of waste.

For further information on complying with these regulations or on reducing waste costs and environmental impact, call us any time on +44 (0)871 777 8881.