How to recycle your business waste

Which waste materials can be recycled?


Below are some of the recyclable materials - aggregates, electronic equipment, glass, metals, organic waste, paper, plastic, textiles, tyres, wood - found in businesses, and the options for reusing them.

Recycled aggregates

Aggregates are by-products of other industrial processes, such as concrete from demolition sites. They can often be reconditioned and used again in new construction or manufacturing projects.

Recycled electronic equipment

It's important to remember that even your waste electrical and electronic equipment can be broken up and reused. Parts can be reconditioned and reused from items like:

  • computers
  • mobile phones
  • refrigerators
  • batteries

Recycled glass

Glass can be recycled into a number of useful materials, including:

  • bricks, cement and concrete
  • 'glass grit', which is used for cleaning
  • new glass containers
  • fibreglass

Recycled metals

Making metal from raw materials is expensive and recycling provides a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative.

Recycled organic waste

Organic waste like fruit and vegetable peelings, grass clippings, wood chippings and tea bags can be recycled by:

  • composting - organic waste can be recycled into compost which can be used by farms or gardening businesses
  • specialist heat processing to make liquid fertiliser and fuel

Recycled paper

You should aim to buy only recycled paper for use in your business, and make sure you recycle this after use.

  • Newspapers and magazines can be recycled into egg boxes and packaging.
  • Old photocopies and print-outs can be recycled into high-quality paper.
  • Cardboard can be recycled into new cardboard or packaging, or used for animal bedding.

You should sort paper into boxes for recycling, removing any staples and paperclips first.

Recycled plastics

Plastic can be recycled into items like containers and plastic bags. Different plastics need to be separated for recycling, and many products are now labelled with a code to aid this process.

Recycled textiles

Material can be recycled into cloth, insulation, or yarn for knitting and weaving.

Industrial textile waste such as that from carpets can be reused for weaving, and the croppings can be used for animal bedding.

Recycled tyres

The UK Government is trying to encourage more people and businesses to recycle tyres, which can be shredded to make new rubber, burned as fuel, and used in making and re-treading new tyres.

Recycled wood

A number of new products can be made from recycling wood, including

  • animal bedding
  • fuel pellets and fuel chips
  • mulch for use in the garden

Get a free sustainability report

All Northern Ireland businesses with an annual energy and resource spend of more than £30k can get a free assessment of their environmental performance across areas such as raw materials, energy, carbon, packaging, biodiversity and waste - find out more about Invest NI Sustainability Reports.