Many workplaces unaware of legislation instructing waste handlers in England and Wales to collect recyclable materials separately are missing an opportunity, according to workplace equipment supplier Slingsby.

Under the Waste Regulations 2011, since 1 January, 2015, waste collectors both public and private have to collect paper, plastic, metal and glass materials separately wherever it is technically, environmentally or economically practicable to do so.

Lee Wright, marketing director at Slingsby, a company that supplies workplace equipment and products, said: “Until fairly recently 90% of UK waste was sent to landfill which was clearly unsustainable and although we’ve made some major improvements in recent years there’s still more we can do as a nation.

“These latest changes aim to increase both the quantity and the quality of waste that is recycled and it follows similar regulations being introduced in Scotland at the start of 2014.

“The legal requirements actually lie with the waste collectors, so many are encouraging their commercial customers to separate waste as it is produced. However, it appears that many businesses are still adapting to the new regulations and many that we speak to are not even aware of them.

“As a result of these regulations we have seen a steady increase in sales of recycling equipment in recent months, including segregation bins, containers and signage, and there has been a surge of sales since the start of the year as firms rush to adapt.

“In addition to the environmental benefits of these regulations, recycling will usually save money, and forward-thinking workplaces can even use it to their advantage when it comes to winning work, because being able to boast about good environmental credentials often sits well with customers.”