Government efforts to boost industrial recycling and reuse are being taken to heart by British printers. Print waste management specialist J&G Environmental says it has detected a “significant increase” in calls to its advice and website response services – especially from printers seeking information about the recycling potential of their waste by-products.

A raft of new regulations is now in force designed to get companies to tighten up the way they manage their waste. The Environment Agency (EA) says the aim is to get business “to think differently” about whether waste needs to be produced in the first place and which are the best ways of managing it.

Companies are being urged to consider what wastes they produce and how they are managed, and the regulations require them formally to confirm they have applied a ‘waste management hierarchy’ when transferring waste. In practice this means they have to include a declaration on waste transfer or consignment notes that the hierarchy has been applied, demonstrating that the most environmentally sound waste disposal route has been followed.

The EA says the hierarchy sets out in order of priority the waste management options a company should consider when disposing of its by-products.

Preventing waste creation is the first priority, followed by the need to prepare waste for reuse and exploring recycling and recovery options. Only after all these options have been considered should disposal to landfill be considered as a last resort.

John Haines, general manager of J&G which recycles 95 per cent of the print waste it collects, said it was clear that more and more printers were seeking to follow the hierarchy. “Telephone calls about this, together with visits to our website, have shown a significant increase since the introduction of the new regulations. Getting information about the final destination of waste and how it is recycled seems to be of particular interest and it’s the most popular section of our website.

“Many more printers are also using the information we supply about how waste is recycled to show their own customers that they’re disposing of their waste sustainably and via an authorised waste carrier. This is right in line with the growth of Green supply chains and the fact that good environmental practice sometimes means the difference between getting a contract or not.”

Haines said that Landfill Tax charges had risen for six consecutive years and were now running at £72 a tonne, with a further rise in the pipeline next year. So printers had another powerful incentive to see waste disposal as the last option.

“Dumping waste in a landfill is expensive, but there is no need to accept it as an inevitable fixed cost over which there is no control. Managing your waste more sustainably really can reduce the bill.” He advised printers to commission a waste audit – which J&G carries out for free – which is the formal process used to quantify the amount and types of waste being created by a company.

“The audit identifies all the waste streams being generated and details the recycling opportunities before a proper action plan is drawn up. It can result in real future cost savings and is also a valuable tool in helping to establish a credible waste management system for companies seeking accreditation to ISO 14001.”

For further information please contact J&G Environmental. Telephone: 01258 453445.