The first snapshot of the findings from what has been described as “one of the largest ever commercially funded quantitative studies into business recycling and waste management across Europe” has been published.

This research is the cornerstone of Rubbermaid’s new Love Recycling initiative – which will continue to report throughout 2020. The objective of the research is to provide the industry with a snapshot of how businesses, large and small, are dealing with their waste - and, most importantly, what the barriers are to even greater and better commercial recycling. The intention is to provide a stimulus to educate and improve recycling in the workplace.

Whilst most of the 800+ businesses that have contributed so far report having some recycling and waste management policies and practices in place, the research points to real opportunities for businesses to do more – provided they can get the right information, education and support from government.

Amongst some key findings from the research to date are:

  • Nearly three-quarters (73%) of businesses across Europe feel that their recycling efforts are not always successful.
  • Over two-thirds of European businesses say poor or non-existent processes or facilities impact how much they recycle. Over 25% admit this problem is very or extremely influential in holding back their recycling efforts.
  • Business needs more government support. Nearly 30% of UK businesses feel a lack of government incentives stops them from doing more. One in ten feel poor government intervention is an extremely significant bar to progress.
  • Europe-wide, 90% of businesses feel the government needs to do more to encourage commercial recycling.
  • A third of companies in Europe feel a lack of government support influences their ability to recycle more. Of this group, 25% feel it is extremely influential.
  • 64% of European businesses worry about how much the cost of recycling more could impact their bottom line.
  • This concern about costs is greater in France and Germany where it is an extremely influential brake on doing more for over 10% of businesses.
  • Amongst other barriers, one-in-three businesses blame low levels of staff training as a barrier to greater recycling success. This is felt most strongly in Germany, where 39% of businesses see this as an issue.
  • But it’s not all bad news – with 82% of businesses feeling that recycling will become an area of greater focus for them in the next few years
  • And 83% of them plan to spend more on recycling solutions in the future.


Paul Jakeway, Head of Marketing for EMEA at Rubbermaid Commercial Products said: “Our research highlights a real gap in commercial recycling understanding – there is a real need for education. Commercial enterprise needs help, support and expert advice on how to deal better with its waste; how to train its frontline staff, and how to change the way recycling is perceived internally so it becomes more of an investment and less of a cost. That support needs to go hand – in – hand with funding for better infrastructure, making it easy for commercial organisations to do the right thing.“

The Rubbermaid "Love Recycling" initiative was launched at the beginning of 2020 and the research programme was conducted over 2 months between February and March. Promoted via a large-scale social media campaign the programme reportedly sampled over 800 businesses across Europe, of different sizes, and from all sectors, using an online questionnaire in English, French and German.

A personalised copy of the data will also be sent to all survey participants over the coming days. This will allow them to compare their own responses to those of the sample as a whole.

Rubbermaid will be tracking the trends in the industry as the survey will remain live on the site so businesses that missed the initial opportunity can still complete it to receive a personalised data set.