Recycle more

Recycling materials such as paper or plastic helps you reduce waste and lessen the impact on the environment. It will also save you money on landfill tax and waste disposal rates.

Find out what recycling measures are available and what the advantages are.

Why recycle

The cost of sending waste to landfill is increasing, and so are the restrictions on what you can send.

Costs of disposing of general waste in 2021:

  • bin hire costs, starting at around £30 per year
  • weekly bin collections, starting at around £125 per year
  • waste transfer costs, at between £12 and £250 per tonne
  • landfill tax of £94.15 per tonne

By reusing or recycling waste you can:

  • prevent waste ending up at landfills
  • save on landfill tax and waste disposal costs
  • create a longer life span for products or materials
  • encourage efficient practices among employees
  • meet environmental regulations
  • gain the trust of the public and investors

What you can recycle

  • paper and cardboard
  • food waste
  • glass
  • plastic
  • metal
  • Wood

How to recycle

Use colour-coded bins

Make each recycling option as clear as possible. Also:

  • make recycling bins easily accessible to all employees
  • remove ‘general waste’ bins and personal bins under desks

How to dispose of recycling

Unless you work from home or choose to dispose of recycling yourself, you will need to pay a licensed waste contractor. Contractors should have a permit from the Environment Agency that allows them to transport and dispose of recyclables.

You must complete a waste transfer note (WTN) every time your recycling is removed. This is a legal document explaining what the recyclable material is so it can be disposed of correctly.

If the same materials are being collected every week you can issue a waste transfer note to cover the whole year.

Recycle office waste

Electronic waste

You can donate most electrical appliances to a reuse centre in your local area.

Specialist IT recycling companies also provide services for recycling electronic waste such as computers or printers. Some charge – others do it for free.

Make sure the company follows Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) guidelines.

Inkjet cartridges

Some schools and charities collect empty inkjet cartridges to raise funds. Or you can send them freepost to The Recycling Factory, who will donate the value to a charity of your choice.


Energy efficient lightbulbs can be recycled at local recycling centres. ‘Incandescent’ bulbs cannot be recycled and go with general waste.


You can find battery collection containers at many shopping centres and public buildings across the UK. Most batteries contain harmful chemicals such as arsenic. They also contain useful materials which are suitable for recycling.


Keys can be recycled in the mixed metals facility at your local recycling centre.

Go paperless

Going digital means spending less on paper and other office supplies.

When printing:

  • use both sides of the paper
  • recycle paper where possible

Recycle food waste

Around 8-10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are caused by food waste dumped at landfill sites.

By recycling food waste you can ensure it goes to a recycling plant. There it is turned into fertilisers for local farms and green energy to power homes.

Recycle glass

Most glass is 100% recyclable, and can be recycled many times.

The following types of glass cannot be recycled:

  • drinking glasses
  • vases
  • glass cookware

Use recyclable packaging

Use reusable, recyclable or biodegradable packaging. Plastic packaging often ends up in landfill, where it can take hundreds of years to decompose.

See how Riverford Farm made their packaging more eco-friendly.

Plastic packaging tax

In April 2022 a new tax on plastic packaging will come into effect. It will apply to all plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic.

Find out more at GOV.UK

Charge for plastic bags

In 2015, the government introduced a minimum 5p charge for single use plastic bags handed out by large retailers in England. These policies aim to encourage people to reuse their shopping bags, and reduce waste and littering.

Learn how to recycle specific items, using Recycle Now’s what-to-do-with page.

Find out more about reducing waste at your business.