Love recycling: A european-wide report into the state of commercial recycling

The first snapshot of the findings from one of the largest ever commercially funded quantitative studies into business recycling and waste management across Europe are published today by Rubbermaid Commercial Products (RCP) EMEA.

This research is the cornerstone of the brand’s innovative new Love Recycling initiative – which will continue to report throughout 2020.

Recycling and waste management are widely regarded as two of the most important – though often overlooked – challenges facing today’s businesses. The objective of this innovative research is to provide the industry with a snapshot of how businesses, large and small, are dealing with their waste – and, most importantly, what the barriers are to even greater and better commercial recycling. The intention is to provide the stimulus to educate and improve recycling in the workplace.

Whilst most of the 800+ businesses that have contributed so far report having some recycling and waste management policies and practices in place, the research points to real opportunities for businesses to do more – provided they can get the right information, education and support from government.

Amongst some key findings from the research to date are:

  • Nearly three-quarters (73%) of businesses across Europe feel that their recycling efforts are not always successful.
  • Over two-thirds of European businesses say poor or non-existent processes or facilities impact how much they recycle. Over 25% admit this problem is very or extremely influential in holding back their recycling efforts.
  • Business needs more government support. Nearly 30% of UK businesses feel a lack of government incentives stops them from doing more. One in ten feel poor government intervention is an extremely significant bar to progress.
  • Europe-wide 90% of businesses feel the government needs to do more to encourage commercial recycling.
  • A third of companies in Europe feel a lack of government support influences their ability to recycle more. Of this group 25% feel it is extremely influential.
  • 64% of European businesses worry how much the cost of recycling more could impact their bottom line.
  • This concern about costs is greater in France and Germany where it is an extremely influential brake on doing more for over 10% of businesses.
  • Amongst other barriers, one-in-three businesses blames low levels of staff training as a barrier to greater recycling success. This is felt most strongly in Germany, where 39% of businesses see this as an issue.
  • But it’s not all bad news – with 82% of businesses feeling that recycling will become an area of greater focus for them in the next few years
  • And 83% of them plan to spend more on recycling solutions in the future.

Paul Jakeway, Head of Marketing for EMEA at Rubbermaid Commercial Products said “Businesses across Europe in every sector are already recycling, and most state they either want to or are planning to do more to improve this. But it’s clear there is a lot more that can be done to make waste management easier and more sustainable. Our research highlights a real gap in commercial recycling understanding – there is a real need for education. Commercial enterprise needs help, support and expert advice on how to deal better with its waste; how to train its frontline staff, and how to change the way recycling is perceived internally so it becomes more of an investment and less of a cost. That support needs to go hand – in – hand with funding for better infrastructure, making it easy for commercial organisations to do the right thing. Businesses like RCP, with our decades of experience in waste management, are in the perfect position to help businesses improve their performance. Love Recycling is our new, flagship initiative to help them get on the front foot. Our aim is to share the research with all relevant market sectors and support them with raising the profile of recycling in their organisations.”

The RCP ‘Love Recycling’ initiative was launched at the beginning of 2020 and the research programme was conducted over 2 months between February and March.

The report, called ‘The Changing Face of Commercial Recycling in Europe’ is now available as a free download from


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