Packaging and packaging waste management

Reduce, reuse and recycle packaging

Guide

Even if the packaging regulations do not apply to you, it is a good idea to reduce, reuse and recycle packaging. This can save your business money and reduce your waste disposal costs.

Buying packaging and packaged products

Create guidelines for packaging for your staff to follow when buying goods for your business.

Buy goods in bulk to reduce packaging. For example:

  • buy paint in one 5-litre drum, instead of buying five individual 1-litre drums
  • buy bigger jars of coffee, instead of buying smaller jars frequently

You could also:

  • remove disposable plastic cups from drinks machines, and ask staff to use their own mugs instead
  • use bowls of sugar, jugs of milk and reusable or biodegradable cutlery, when organising events, meetings or conferences, instead of many small, individually packaged products
  • buy recycled office stationery that uses recyclable or biodegradable packaging

Selling packaging

If you sell packaging, tell your customers about the return, recovery and collection facilities available to them.

Use recyclable or biodegradable materials to package your products.

Reusing packaging

You could:

  • introduce returnable and reusable packaging in co-operation with your supply chain and customers
  • shred old paper to reuse as packaging filling
  • keep old bubble wrap or polystyrene to reuse as packaging
  • reuse packaging such as wooden pallets, cardboard boxes or jiffy bags

Disposing of packaging

Reduce, reuse and recycle your packaging waste. Separate different types of packaging for recycling - this should reduce your recycling costs.

Cover any waste packaging stored in skips to prevent pollution and to minimise wind-blown dust and litter.

If packaging is intended for reuse, make sure you have documented the systems for supply, return, reuse and refill.

If there is a risk that the packaging could have been contaminated during its use, you must ensure it is kept dry and that any run-off doesn't pollute water or land. Ensure your site drainage system is connected to the sewer system.

Buy a compactor or baler, which crushes packaging into blocks. This will allow you to transport larger volumes of packaging, which will reduce your recycling or disposal costs.

See our guide on how to reduce your business waste to save money.