The only consolation is the increased amount of wasted paper that gets sent for recycling, says BusinessWaste.co.uk – but that’s only if companies get their employees to put wasted paper and spent cartridges into the right bins.
“We’ve been promised a paperless office culture for years, but it’s painfully clear that dead trees aren’t going to go out of fashion for a long time to come,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall. “This means that companies really have to pull their fingers out and stop wasting so much of the stuff,” he continues. “We reckon about seven million tonnes of paper is sent to landfill instead of being recycled”.
BusinessWaste.co.uk asked over 250 companies about their paper and office supply habits over the last five years, and found that many were using just as much as they were before, despite having green policies in place to cut down on paperwork.
• 31% of companies say they are ordering more paper and associated products than they were five years ago
• 43% say they are using “about the same” amount of paper products compared with 2009
• 23% said they were using less paper than they were five years ago
• 3% expressed no opinion
While some 30% of household waste is paper, this rises to as high as 80% for some office-based businesses. The average Briton uses 200kg of paper products each year, of which only approximately 43% is recycled. BusinessWaste.co.uk says these figures add up to a conservative estimate of 6.84 million tonnes of paper not being recycled annually.
And that’s before we take other products such as ink cartridges into account. According to government figures, only 15% of the 64 million sold in the UK to businesses and households are recycled, leading to thousands of tonnes of needless waste.
Both paper and other recyclable products in general waste increase companies’ landfill tax bill, with potential losses of thousands of pounds, Business Waste says.