"85% of all waste collected from London's business is capable of being recycled"
- London Recycling

THE WASTEBOOK is a directory containing advice on recycling a very wide range of materials indeed.
It can show you how to recover, reuse, repair, or recycle what you thought was waste and turn it into something useful. 
Or it can introduce you to someone else who can do this for you. 
It gives information about good waste management practice, and ways to reduce waste and energy and save money.

has been designed mainly for commercial users, although individuals and voluntary organisations should find many items of interest, such as useful tips on household waste.

There are over 100 categories, and over 3000 listings, making it over 600 pages long

Please use the BACKS of waste A4 paper if you can.
Saving WASTE is what THE WASTEBOOK is all about !

Just follow steps one, two, and ...

Go back to the Contents page, then scroll down on the right to see the whole Contents list.  
         There are two main sections, 
Specific Waste Options and Waste Connections.  

         You may also find the Appendixes, Glossary and Quicklinks useful.

2   Click on any category and it will take you to that section. There you will find -

SEARCH  Once you have reached a category, if you press Ctrl F, you can search for keywords such as town or county

We hope you find the way we have presented the information helpful. 

Please pass any information on to another organisation who could benefit, if you can.  We welcome comments about how useful you found various sections, what might be missing, and any of your tips for waste reduction or recycling.  If you find any number unobtainable, or think you have found an error, or think an organisation may be missing which you feel should be included, please let us know on the email address given at the foot of this page.

Information is expensive to gather and to check.  Disks and CDRoms containing THE WASTEBOOK were previously given out free to organisations on request because it was believed the potential environmental benefits justified this.  But the information became out of date so quickly we do not plan to repeat the exercise.  

Which areas does it serve ?

THE WASTEBOOK covers the South East of England: an area from Hampshire in the west to Kent in the east, Greater London, and as far north as Norfolk, Northamptonshire and west to Berkshire.  Politically, this is three regional development agency areas: London, South East, and East of England.

THE WASTEBOOK started as a book directory for Bedfordshire.  The website was launched in 1998 to help businesses in a wider area based on the Environment Agency's North East Thames Area, and Thames Region.  Based on river catchments, the core areas covered were Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Greater London.  However, we later expanded the area covered to the south and east coasts, and we would particularly welcome information on services helping with waste reduction, recycling and sustainable practice in these areas.

While it is best to reuse and recycle as locally as possible, businesses in all parts of the south east should find something useful here, as many recycling companies do not work to tight boundaries - they go where the work is!  Quite a few offer a national service, and many organisations are listed with head offices outside the south east.  We list companies and organisations which can offer a service within our target area, wherever they are based.  One function of THE WASTEBOOK is to provide information about local services, to help reduce unnecessary journeys.  But we also include organisations ahead of the field in best practice outside the south east.

We realise that covering only the south-east may be frustrating to those in the rest of the UK. (This is not for political reasons - it has evolved from where we are based.)  But we are careful to provide sources wherever possible that may help and direct visitors from beyond the core geographical area that we serve.

How is THE WASTEBOOK organised ?

As there are so many different kinds of waste, coming from millions of different sources, THE WASTEBOOK has been designed to be practical and easy to use, rather than using arbitrary categories. The numbering system allows for future expansion.

The first part is about Specific Waste Options.  
Related subjects are grouped together.  For example, all PACKAGING MATERIALS are in the 50s section - cardboard is 51, pallets 52, drums 53 etc.  All DIFFICULT WASTES are in the 60 category - mineral oils 61; clinical waste 62, and so on.  Each section lists companies and organisations which either recycle waste (many will collect) or can advise about reducing and reusing, or recovery and recycling, the particular wastes in that section.

The second part - Waste Connections - is more general.
It provides a guide to useful sources of  information on the options available for dealing with waste.  These include auction companies, charities, waste materials exchanges, and specialist recycling services.  There are also sections on issues which contribute to a more environmentally sustainable society, such as less wasteful energy use, transport issues, the use of green building materials, environmental labelling, organic food, responsible consumerism, and the ultimate environmental act - how to organise and celebrate a benign and natural death!  

If recycling is to be viable in the long term, it is important that recycled goods are widely sold.  So there is a section (300) on recycled content products.  Please note that WRAP (section 300) hosts a complete directory called Buy Recycled, which is well worth investigating.

How to deal with your wastes and set up recycling schemes

First, find out what your wastes are, and how much they are costing you.
Few managers subject waste to much scrutiny.  Often businesses do not monitor what they are throwing away or what goes into skips.  Companies auditing their wastes for the first time have been surprised to find in skips products or materials which were reusable, or may provide a route out of the building for thieves.  Others have found that sampling procedures or spills can produce quite unnecessary wastes. Sometimes companies paying for waste disposal 'by the lift' discover that often half-empty skips leave their premises. The Environmental Technology Best Practice Programme produces useful free guidance on auditing your wastes.

Second, try to reduce these materials, exchange or reclaim them. 
Recycling is popular, but not always the best environmental option to deal with wastes. The government urges everyone to consider a hierarchy of options -

1 Explore how you might reduce or minimise the wastes
Reuse,  repair or reclaim
Recycle (including composting)

The government has an ambitious programme to focus on the first three options, and to reduce the need for 4 and 5.  These should be treated as a last resort, meaning all attempts to recycle this waste have failed.
Incineration (and other technologies such as anaerobic digestion) with energy recovery 
Last resort - disposal without energy recovery

It is better to prevent waste being produced in the first place than 
to try to deal with it afterwards.

If you are interested in waste minimisation, ring 0345 337700 and ask for the Environment Agency’s free video pack, ‘Money for Nothing and your Waste Tips for Free’.   It contains references to waste exchanges (also known as materials exchanges) as well as details of various reuse schemes and reclamation services.

If you are not familiar with the legislation, ensure you understand your obligations under the Duty of Care (brief introduction in Section 500), and buy DETR Code of Practice from The Stationery Office.  If you want to check whether a contractor is registered or exempt, or if a particular facility is licensed to deal with a particular waste, ring your local Environment Agency office.

Get senior management backing if you can.  Studies have shown that change is often much easier to bring about when there is management commitment.  Only then, look at the lists for recycling companies.

What should you look for in a recycling company ? 
Checklist for a reliable service

When consulting the lists, look for a company likely to give reliable service. Check on these factors :

Which materials do they take?
Many categories of material are used for recycling.  Check which materials the firm can take - it may help if they can take more than one type.  Check grades and types of material; they may offer to visit to look at the wastes in question.

What quantities do they require?
Companies will only collect if it is economic to do so.  Many firms will ask you to amass a certain amount of material before they will collect; otherwise they may ask you to deliver.

Collection / delivery
Distance from their depot may be a factor, as will the frequency they visit your area, and the kind of training they give their drivers. You may find that other local firms want to recycle a particular material, and it then becomes more worthwhile for a recycler to collect, carrying out a ‘milk round’ to several companies.  Can you work with neighbouring businesses, for instance, if you are on an industrial estate, to save costs, journeys, energy and storage space, benefiting the whole estate?  Check on the regularity of the service they provide: is it weekly, monthly, or do you have to phone by a given time each week to arrange a pick-up?

How can you maximise separation and storage of materials at your premises?
Contamination of materials can make them very difficult to recycle.  As a general rule, materials have least contamination if segregated close to the point where they are produced.   Ask how materials must be separated, and discuss where this can be done on your premises.  Check what containers (if any) the contractors provide, for what quantities, and if baling will be sensible.  Make sure you have the room to store the materials safely.  Often they can be collected right across a factory or plant, then grouped together at a central point - usually under cover, and with lorry access and turning space.   If it is very difficult to find enough space for storage, you  may be able to choose a contractor who can visit more frequently - but this will cost more.

Involving your staff 
Does the company have advice on involving or informing your staff?  Recycling collections work best when staff are involved from the start, the system is monitored, and the results disseminated (cheerfully) to the staff.   People who care about the environment will value information about the difference their efforts have made.  Ensure the system proposed will be understood by your staff, and acceptable to key people like cleaners or porters who could bear the brunt of any extra work.   It also helps to thank people occasionally.   Some companies encourage competition between groups of staff to see who can recycle most!

Payment or cost
Ask what the contractors pay for materials or (as is likely for materials such as cardboard), they charge for collection.  Such costs must be weighed against existing disposal costs and the environmental benefits to you of reducing the wastes from your premises.  Many prices for secondary materials are cyclical, so enquire what policy they adopt when the price falls.  (Sometimes smaller businesses are more loyal to suppliers at such times because they need them, whereas large businesses can simply shed their smaller contacts.  This isn’t always true, however - a severe fall in prices can destroy small businesses while larger ones survive.)  Ask over what period the recycling company can guarantee the price.  In calculations about the cost-effectiveness of any recycling system, include costs of staff and storage space.  Some companies will arrange to pay a charity or worthy cause on your behalf.

Subsidiary services
Some firms may offer a subsidiary service - for instance some paper recyclers may have shredding services for confidential papers. Don't be paranoid and shred everything - it's bulkier and may be less efficient and more awkward to recycle.  Most companies will provide a confidential disposal certificate.  Some companies sell products which they'll take back when used to recycle, thus "closing the loop".

It is important to find out the ‘contraries’ - things that damage the recycling process must not be in the materials collected (no coloured paper if you are selling paper as office white (you can sell as coloured, but get less money).  Such details must be relayed to all relevant staff, and it is important they understand, particularly in industries with a large turnover of staff.

Talk to your usual waste contractor
Mention to your normal waste contractor that you’d like to set up a system to collect materials for recycling.  They may have valuable contacts, give you worthwhile advice, or offer to modify your present contracts and undertake some recycling themselves.

Proof of registration
Check that the companies you’d like to carry your waste are registered or exempt waste carriers.  Ask to see a copy of their certificate of registration and check it is not out of date - or verify that they are exempt from registration.  If there is a problem, check with your local Environment Agency office.

Questions to ask about your own company

We would encourage you to consider the following:

Does it produce more waste or more toxic waste or pollution than it needs to ?
Contact Environment Agency or Envirowise - see Appendix 3

Recycling is usually only viable if recycling companies can sell their products. 
Can you try to alter your purchasing specifications to encourage recycling?

Over-packaging is wasteful of resources, energy and cost, and is increasingly unpopular with end-users.
Could you reduce packaging materials?

If you work for a manufacturing company, consider your source materials, and your products, both in use, during and after use.
Could you source recycled material?  
Could you reduce the amount of material used without compromising the product?  
Could you make energy efficiency savings?
Could you reduce pollution from your processes?
Are the positive environmental aspects of your products sufficient that you could promote these?
Could you encourage suppliers and contacts to adopt more sustainable practices?

In your private affairs (and we hope they are interesting!) do you produce more waste than you need?
See section 400 on social, ecological and lifestyle aspects of waste.

Could you work jointly with another (neighbouring?) company or organisation to pool and save resources, time and cost?
See NISP section 610

(Updated Oct 2005)