Let’s Get Real: Recycle Week 2022

This week, the 17-23rd October, marks Recycle Week 2022, an annual celebration of the power of recycling across the nation.

The theme this year is ‘Let’s Get Real’. It’s a call-to-arms for consumers and manufacturers alike to challenge the perceptions and myths around recycling and take more concrete steps towards sustainability.

At Axil, we’ve been helping businesses get real with their waste for years. As waste management specialists, our successes have seen businesses move from ambition to reality, with partners such as Whirlpool, Birds Eye Corporation, and LEVC unlocking both economic benefit and sustainability success from their waste.

Axil LEVC Canteen Waste Recycling
Canteen recycling unit at our LEVC site.

We’ve learnt that getting real with your waste takes two things. Firstly, you have to acknowledge where you are. Celebrating success is important, but this Recycle Week is also about being frank with the work still left to be done.

Only then can you get realistic about the road to success. Doing so means setting achievable goals, and prioritising the kind action that has real, meaningful results.

We all know the depth of the environmental challenges we face – it’s not a problem we can solve overnight. But incremental progress is key, and that starts with rethinking our approach to sustainability, and tackling some of the misconceptions that can prevent businesses from achieving their full potential.

So, what are the most common myths getting in the way of real change?

Myth One:

You can’t invest in sustainable practices and also support your bottom line

It’s true that sustainable actions such as waste management take investment.

But the returns can have a real economic benefit, often in unexpected ways. For example, we helped the Whirlpool Corporation achieve a 50% reduction in general waste output, a huge step in realising its zero waste to landfill by 2022 pledge.

However, the introduction of new innovations and waste processes also meant that Whirlpool Corporation received £200k in rebates from ‘waste materials’.

These benefits are often overlooked when it comes to realising the importance of recycling – in our ‘Exploring the Environmental and Economic Opportunity of ESG’ report, we revealed that less than half of UK companies (48%) say they receive them, and of those that do, 25% think they aren’t getting the best value.

That’s a huge missed opportunity for businesses looking to support their bottom line whilst maintaining momentum on their sustainability goals. It takes that specialist intervention to really understand your waste processes and where economic potential can be realised.

There’s real value in your waste, if you have the tools to manage it properly.

ESG Report Cover

Myth Two:

Pledges are enough to keep people happy

It’s something that businesses aren’t keen to admit: making sustainability commitments is a great way to boost your company’s reputation, but taking meaningful action towards them is another thing entirely.

Deloitte recently revealed that nearly one in three (28%) consumers claim to have stopped purchasing from certain brands because that had concerns about their sustainable or ethical practices.

And it’s not just consumers that are becoming less willing to accept greenwashing. In our ESG report we found that two in five employees (38%) would look for a new role if they thought their organisation wasn’t doing enough to tackle sustainable issues.

So how can businesses make good on their promises in a way that retains the loyalty of their customer base?

Take the BMW Group, for example, which committed to optimising its production methods to make its entire business model climate-neutral by 2050. It’s an ambitious goal, and one that will require considered, specialist action to achieve.

Our recently announced UK partnership is designed to support BMW Group on this path. We’re implementing new innovations such as waste-capturing technology to track and attribute waste to specific areas of the business to help us better understand where to build in efficiencies and working to segregate and manage its waste streams to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

These investments won’t just make a difference to the BMW Group’s environmental input – they are the concrete evidence that prove their commitment to sustainability to the world.

Mini Factory
BMW Group Plant Oxford – birthplace and heart of MINI production.

Myth Three:

You can’t make a real impact through recycling alone

Often, we dismiss opportunities to take sustainable action because we can’t see the material impact that it can have.

With more than 222.2 million tonnes of UK waste being produced in just one year (DEFRA), and 53% of UK plastic not being recycled or recovered (WRAP), it can feel like an uphill battle to make a difference.

But the right waste management partner can completely re-engineer your waste streams, making the kind of holistic changes that will really have an impact. For example, our work with electric vehicle manufacturer LEVC diverted 175 tonnes of waste from landfill, ensuring 97% of its waste is now recycled at source.

This Recycle Week, it’s action like this – measurable, impactful, and meaningful – that all companies, large and small, should be committing to: for their business, and the world.

It’s not about unsubstantiated claims or excuses. We need to get real with our waste, face up to industry myths, and commit to change.

So, what will you do this #RecycleWeek to Get Real with your sustainability goals?

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To gain a clearer understanding of your waste operations, we will visit to carry out a detailed site audit.

Our waste management experts will understand your waste streams and the challenges you face— and develop a service proposal tailored to accommodate your needs.

We will explain how our innovative solutions can re-engineer your waste to reduce your costs and increase your recycling.