BUSINESSES across Somerset must comply with new recycling rules by 2025.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced its ‘Simpler Recycling’ reforms in October, intended to increase recycling rates for both households and businesses.

Under the changes, all businesses – along with public organisations like schools and hospitals – must have separate food waste and recycling collections in place by the end of March 2025.

Somerset Council is encouraging businesses to prepare for the changes, with a new website being launched to provide information and support over the next 18 months.

Under UK law, businesses have a legal duty of care to store waste safely and to dispose of it using a registered waste carrier.

Somerset County Gazette: The council’s new ‘Business of Recycling’ website will provide advice on how to prepare for the new regulations.The council’s new ‘Business of Recycling’ website will provide advice on how to prepare for the new regulations. (Image: NQ staff)

The council’s new ‘Business of Recycling’ website will provide advice on how to prepare for the new regulations, including a tool that lets you check if your waste carrier is registered.

Businesses with fewer than ten full-time employees have until March 31, 2027 to meet these requirements.

Recyclable materials which must be separated from general waste include:

  • Glass (e.g. drinks bottles and rinsed empty food jars)
  • Metal (e.g. drinks cans and food tins)
  • Plastic (e.g. rinsed empty food containers and bottles)
  • Paper (e.g. old newspapers and envelopes)
  • Cardboard (e.g. delivery boxes and packaging)
  • Food waste (e.g. tea bags, coffee grounds, leftovers or waste generated by food preparation)

Businesses will need to have a separate food bin  and a refuse bin, but recyclable materials can be mixed to reduce the number of bins needed.

Collections of flexable plastics, including films, across all premises will also be implemented by March 31, 2027.

Councillor Dixie Darch, portfolio holder for the environment and climate change, said: “The new system will help businesses, schools, and hospitals to recycle more, which will reduce carbon emissions and protect our environment from harmful waste.”

New systems will also be introduced for the registration of companies who handle waste and there will be a mandatory digital waste tracking service to track waste and resources throughout the economy.

The UK-wide digital waste tracking service requirements, replacing waste transfer notes and hazardous waste consignment notes.

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