The importance of recycling

by Christine Loney, Integrated Management System (IMS) Coordinator and Green Champion

25 June 2021 Reading time: 3 mins

As part of Recycle Awareness Week running from 18-24 June 2021, we spoke to Christine Loney, our IMS Coordinator and member of the Business Stream Green Champions group, about the benefits of recycling and how we can all get involved:

The impacts of waste disposal
I’m really passionate about protecting the environment and always looking for new ways that I can minimise my own environmental impact and encouraging others to do the same. Waste disposal is one area where small changes really can make a big difference. The disposal of waste has many adverse environmental impacts. It contributes to climate change through the release of methane from landfill sites; liquids seep from the landfill sites causing groundwater and surface water pollution; the land becomes contaminated with toxic materials; and the waste contributes to resource depletion by requiring new materials to be used to make replacement products.

Our responsibility to recycle
The Scottish Government aims to make Scotland a zero-waste society with a circular economy, where waste is treated as a resource for reuse, recycling or recovery.  I strongly believe that we all have a part to play in achieving that aim. You can find out more about our waste duty of care, by clicking the link.

The important thing to remember is that where we can reuse or recycle then we should. Glass and aluminium can be recycled almost endlessly without deteriorating in quality. Other products have a more limited life once recycled, but every little helps!

What we’re doing to recycle at Business Stream
In the days before COVID-19, when Business Stream colleagues filled our Edinburgh office, we were producing high volumes of recyclable materials including paper and card, plastic bottles, cans and glass. As part of our commitment to make a positive difference and reduce our impact on the environment, we made some changes in our office and to the way we do things, which I was really delighted about:

  • We provided several recycling ‘bin hubs’ for our colleagues to segment their recyclable items appropriately. Each ‘bin hub’ includes a bin for paper, one for cans, one for plastic bottles and one for general waste. We also provided glass recycling bins too. 
  • To reduce the amount of plastic bottle waste, we removed all plastic bottles from our office vending machines.
  • We provided all colleagues with reusable metal drinking containers and installed two brand new water fountains to encourage colleagues to re-fill reusable drinking containers. The fountains have digital counters that tell us how many plastic bottles we’ve saved by refilling from the tap. In the space of just 18 months, we’ve saved over 72,865 bottles – which is astounding!
  • We were recently awarded the ISO14001 Environmental Standard certification, which recognises our commitment to reduce our environmental impact, with key goals including a target to reduce the amount of waste we produce.
  • Additionally, we incorporated an environmental credentials check within our procurement process, to ensure that the suppliers we work with are doing their bit for the planet too.

We’re not stopping there either! We’re always looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact at work, and we encourage our colleagues to do the same at home too.

What you can do as a business
Small things can help you reduce the amount of waste you produce in your business and it’s really easy to do. As businesses start to reopen and return to office working, why not consider what you can can do to contribute to recycling and reducing waste? At Business Stream, we’ve developed some really good habits during lockdown which are having a big impact – like huge reductions in printing and business travel; and we want to maintain those positive changes as we start our gradual return to office working.

We’d love more businesses to join us by helping to make a positive difference to the environment.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to start, Business in the Community’s Waste to Wealth campaign encourages businesses to get involved in helping to eliminate avoidable waste by 2030. Find out more and join them here.