New research by sustainable waste management company Biffa shows that over four-fifths (85%) of UK businesses surveyed recognise the significance of recycling and waste management in preventing climate change. Moreover, almost 9 in 10 (88%) see waste management as central to being a sustainable business.
The survey of over 1000 UK business decision-makers, conducted by the YouGov analysis institute, explored attitudes towards sustainability and the circular economy. The results showcase the clear importance placed on waste management in the battle to combat climate change.
Businesses are putting their support for waste management into practice. When asked how they measure sustainability, almost two-thirds (60%) of businesses confirmed using at least one waste stream to track their progress against green goals.
Over 4 in 10 (44%) respondents say they measure sustainability by ‘reductions in general waste’, tying with ‘reduction in carbon emissions’ as the most popular means of measuring sustainability. Meanwhile ‘increase in recycling volumes’ emerged as the third most popular metric, used by 39% of businesses surveyed.
The strong positive attitude towards waste management and recycling in sustainability are largely mirrored across business sizes, though large businesses have been more effective than smaller enterprises in embedding waste metrics into their sustainability strategies.
Over four in five (85%) of small businesses believe that waste management and recycling are important to preventing climate change, in line with 87% of large businesses. However, less than half (44%) use at least one waste stream to measure their sustainability in comparison with 67% of larger enterprises.
Maxine Mayhew, Chief Operating Officer – Collections and Specialist Services, Biffa, said, “Over the years, businesses have shown a real commitment to reducing their environmental impact through responsible waste management and recycling practices. It’s clear from Biffa’s research that SMEs are facing challenges in stepping up their recycling.
“Last year’s Recycling Tracker Report by WRAP revealed that while recycling is an everyday behaviour for 89% of people, there are still clear barriers for businesses.
“It’s understandable that cost is considered the biggest barrier, but being more sustainable does have financial benefits – from attracting eco-conscious talent and customers, to incurring lower fees r for lighter bins due to separating recyclables.
“If all SMEs had a recycling service, they would have a significant impact on UK recycling rates. We know this because in 2022/23 SMEs generated nearly a third (31%) of the industrial and commercial waste we collected.
“We’re proud to offer a breadth of resources to guide businesses, and help them build or enhance a sustainability strategy.”