Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Every small and mid-size enterprise owner should be striving to make their business as ethical as possible. Without the huge operating costs, use of large amounts of fuel for shipping, and vast, brightly lit premises that large corporations have to contend with, it should be relatively easy for a small business to cut down on their waste production.

However, many do not have the resources or the knowledge to do so. 

What is an SME, and why should they reduce their waste creation?

Every country has its own definition, but generally speaking, an SME, or small and mid-size enterprise, has to fall below a certain threshold in terms of revenue and staff numbers. As well as changing by country, the upper limit of these thresholds can also differ depending on what business sector they are operating in.

Collectively, SMEs employ thousands of staff and often lead the way in terms of innovation and revolutionary business ideas, making them an ideal place to start an environmental movement. If SMEs were able to reduce their waste creation, then less trash would be burned into the atmosphere, less fuel would be used to transport the trash, and fewer raw materials would need to be harvested each year. 

It sounds good, but while SMEs are often regular recipients of government aid or local council loans and incentives, it is clear to see that not enough is done to support them in their quest for lowing their waste production and other environmental acts. A survey conducted by the SME Climate Hub, a group that allows small businesses to access resources and join thousands of other businesses committed to improving their environmentalism, showed that 48% of SMEs were citing a lack of funding as preventing them from taking climate action.

How can they recycle more?

With this in mind, how can SMEs be proactive in their reduction of waste materials?

To begin, businesses should be clear on what can and cannot be recycled – this often varies depending on the country or even region and state, so the latest lists should be checked to ensure you are recycling everything that you can be, and not wasting the recycling plant’s energy and money by trying to recycle things that can’t be. If you find your business is producing lots of waste of a certain non-recyclable material, consider what environmentally friendly alternatives are available. 

Once recyclables have been identified, businesses could invest in recycling balers to help their storage and transportation of recycled products such as paper and cardboard. Business owners can contact dealers to see buyers’ guides and get advice on what model would suit their needs and budget. 


Small businesses are so often at the forefront of entrepreneurial innovation that it is paramount they are supported in their aims for waste reduction and other types of climate action. Having better resources and recycling equipment would help them in these endeavors, as so many are clearly ready and willing to do so if they only had better funding.

For those that can, investing in balers and different types of packaging – primarily the reduction of single-use plastic – would be an excellent place to start.

By Manali