Recycle and refresh your waste management

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  Posted by: Dental Design      12th September 2022

The vast majority of businesses and households in the UK generate waste. But are we all taking the time to dispose of our waste responsibly, and ensure that items are recycled where possible? As the years tick by and a greater focus on environmental sustainability becomes the norm, it’s time to look at recycling and whether this is something you can introduce more successfully into your waste management both in practice and at home.

Recycling in the UK

While not a top performer in the world for recycling, the UK still recycles a significant percentage of waste each year. Figures from 2020 reveal that 44% of waste generated in England is recycled, with similar or higher rates for other nations within the union (49.1% in Northern Ireland, 41% in Scotland and 56.5% in Wales).[1] Germany is currently the top recycler of waste, but nearly all nations in Europe have seen an uptick in waste recycling in recent years, indicating a positive step forward for global waste management.[2]

In terms of household waste, there are a number of interesting statistics available that reveal how recycling is being adopted across the country. For instance, a report found that 88% of UK households consider recycling an established norm, and 52% of UK residents recycle more now than they did in previous years. This report also revealed certain attitudes about recycling, stating that those aged 18-34 and those with young children are more likely to recycle waste.[3]

On the other hand, the report did reveal that the vast majority of people are recycling incorrectly or not recycling as many items as they could be. When examining household waste receptacles, 55% contained items that could be recycled, including foil, aerosol cans and plastic detergent bottles. 85% of people were also found to have contaminated recycling bins with non-recyclable items such as drinking glasses and toothpaste tubes. On average, when sorting waste, people assessed in the report disposed of six items incorrectly when sorting household waste.[4] 

Adopting a greener business model

But what about businesses? Interestingly, figures for commercial recycling in the UK are difficult to come by. However, it is estimated that 90% of businesses do not have a recycling policy in place, meaning that they are likely not managing waste in the most sustainable manner. Plus, it’s thought that 80% of businesses don’t have recycling bins and that a huge amount of companies haven’t implemented easy switches to more sustainable options such as using recycled paper or reusable cups instead of plastic.[5]

This is surprising, especially considering that having green credentials and making more eco-friendly choices has been found to encourage patients/customers to choose certain businesses or services, meaning that it can be a great marketing tool as well as good for the planet. [6]

Of course, in dentistry the waste we deal with is far more than just some cups from around the water fountain. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t implement some changes and go the extra mile to ensure that your business is implementing recycling to its best ability. Correct segregation and disposal of dental waste increases recycling potential of these materials and is better for the environment – for instance, when disposing of amalgam waste, if plastic capsules are placed in a cap guard container they are easier to recycle. Plus, the simple act of making recycling more visible in practice, for both professionals and patients alike, is likely to encourage people to dispose of their waste more conscientiously. You can also support this with a print out of which items should be going into recycling bins, according to the guidance of your local council.

It’s also a smart idea to think about the waste services you use and how they can help you to recycle more effectively. Initial Medical offers dental practices bespoke, tailored waste disposal services that ensure all waste is collected, disposed of and recycled (where possible) at a time and interval that suits you. This way, you can rest assured that any of the waste generated during procedures in your practice is safely and sustainably taken care of, leaving you the freedom to take care of other aspects of your business.

What about the solutions and products you use in practice? As recycling is growing in popularity, many manufacturers are now creating solutions that can be recycled or at the very least focusing on recyclable packaging, meaning that you can reduce waste by making some switches. There are even innovative solutions that can significantly help you to make your waste disposal processes greener, such as specific waste containers for sharps that allows these items to be repurposed following disposal and collection.

Recycle, refresh, reimagine your practice 

With recycling becoming such a major focus both at home and at work, it pays to ensure that you are doing your part in practice. This way, you are not only confident in the knowledge your waste is being properly managed and that you are helping the planet, but you can appeal to eco-conscious patients too.


To find out more, get in touch at 0870 850 4045 or visit the website today




About Initial Medical Waste 

Initial Medical set the standard in healthcare and infectious waste management in the UK, providing a reliable, effective and fully compliant service built around customer needs and delivered by our highly trained local teams.  We are ISO 9001:2015 accredited, with technology fully integrated into our operations, providing full traceability of service delivery, electronic waste documentation and the best customer experience possible. We also offer innovative healthcare waste management services and infection control products, to help break the chain of transmission and prevent cross contamination.  

Initial Medical are a company with a ‘World Class’ Health and Safety record, and ISO 45001:2018 accreditation. We are also accredited to ISO 14001:2015 environmental standards, and pride ourselves on our sustainable approach with a focus on delivering eco-friendly products and operational solutions.

For further information please visit or Tel: 0870 850 4045

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[1] UK Government. UK Statistics on Waste. Link:,%25)%20was%20generated%20in%20England. [Last accessed June 22].

[2] Statista. Recycling Rate of Municipal Waste in the European Union in 2019 by country. Link:,roughly%2067%20percent%20in%202019. [Last accessed June 22].

[3] Recycling Bins. UK Recycling Statistics 2021. Link: [Last accessed June 22].

[4] Recycling Bins. UK Recycling Statistics 2021. Link: [Last accessed June 22].

[5] Open Access Government. Majority of UK Companies Don’t Have A Recycling Policy, Report Reveals. Link:,not%20have%20a%20green%20policy. [Last accessed June 22].

[6] Business Wire. GreenPrint Survey Finds Consumers Want to Buy Eco-Friendly Products, but Don’t Know How to Identify Them. Link: [Last accessed June 22].

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