Meet our Change Waste Champions - Peter Simon

Peter Simon is Senior Engagement Manager here at Changeworks Recycling. He’s also one of our Change Waste Champions, encouraging Scottish businesses to boost their recycling rates by taking part in our new Change Waste Challenge, which aims to help Scottish businesses collectively eradicate 3 million kilos of waste by 2022. 

Peter is passionate about ensuring everything that can possibly be recycled makes it all the way to the recycling bin and beyond. In this blog, he tells us why recycling is so important, shares his good advice for Scottish businesses and explains how they can get on board with the Change Waste Challenge.  

 

What was the inspiration behind creating the Change Waste Challenge? 

“The recycling we collect from our clients is industry leading in terms of its high-quality and quantity, however we noticed that the general waste we collect still contained significant amounts of items that could be recycled.  

“We conducted research into the waste we collect by taking lots of samples. We were shocked to find that, on average, 50% of the material collected in our general waste service was recyclable! 

“There was also much talk about the ‘climate emergency’, but we saw limited action - something we found frustrating. We decided we would try and do something to tackle it, so we developed the Change Waste Challenge.” 

 

How is the Change Waste Challenge progressing?  

“It’s going well behind the scenes - we’ve developed many of the tools we’ll use to help our clients recycle as much as possible.  

Currently, we’re trialling our new food recycling service in Edinburgh which has been tailored specifically for office-based businesses. We’ve also started work on an online training platform so that we’re able to help as many clients as possible across a wide range of businesses, teaching their staff about how they should be recycling. 

“We now want to get to work on advising our clients about what they can do to maximise their recycling efforts by encouraging them to think beyond the bin and take action to seek ways to reduce waste overall.” 
 

What can businesses do to join in with the Change Waste Challenge? 

“To get started, businesses need to tell us they want to get involved. We’ll then get them signed up to the challenge and provide materials and tailored solutions to help them maximise recycling. 

“The Change Waste Challenge can be used by any business as a springboard for their ideas for waste reduction, whether through incentives like internal staff competitions or initiatives that look to reduce waste from procurement.” 

 

Email engagement@changeworksrecycling.co.uk to start your Change Waste Challenge journey today! 

 

What, in your opinion, is the number one thing a business can do to cut waste and increase their recycling rate? 

“One material in particular has the biggest bearing on a business’s recycling rate - food waste! Of the 50% of the general waste we collected that should have been recycled, half of this was food. 

“If your business doesn’t recycle its food waste already, it really should. Due to its significant weight, food has a strong bearing on your recycling rate, but because of its high rate of methane emissions, it’s also the most important type of waste to recycle.” 

 

Find out more about our food waste caddy roll out here. 

 

Is there anything that should be prioritised? 

"As well as ensuring you’ve got the correct recycling services in place, it’s essential to make sure you are using the correct systems to capture materials – we call this ‘right bins, right places’. It’s simply a case of placing bins strategically based on which materials appear where, for example paper bins beside the printer. 

“Once your system is in place don’t forget to make sure staff know how to use it and know what should go in each bin - for help with this, let us know as we have a range of resources to help.” 

 

You can download some of our helpful guides and posters for your office here. 

 

What do you find is the biggest challenge for businesses looking to cut their waste and increase recycling rates?  

“Confusion and misinformation are the biggest culprits.  

“There are so many conflicting messages on recycling, whether in the news, on social media or recycling logos on packaging, so it’s no wonder people are confused about recycling. As a result, mistakes are often made.  

“We keep it simple by having separate bins for separate materials. If you follow the guidance of what’s on the bin you can’t go far wrong!” 

 

And how can they overcome this challenge?  

“Smashing myths, explaining processes and addressing common mistakes is something we’re looking to do through the Change Waste Challenge – join in if you or your employees are a bit confused about how to manage your recycling effectively.”  

 

Want to take control of your business waste and boost your recycling rates? Get in touch with our #ChangeWasteChallenge champions at engagement@changeworksrecycling.co.uk.