SME awareness of legislation still poor, but improving
This year’s NetRegs survey of UK Small and Medium Enterprises has shown a sudden jump in awareness of environmental issues and legislation – but the overall result is still poor. Only one in four small business owners can name one piece of environmental legislation that applies to them – despite the fact that all businesses have a duty of care for their waste and all are expected to recycle their Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). The only good news is that this is up from one in seven last year.
Something I have come across this year is unscrupulous companies trying use this lack of awareness to scare people into accepting their services. One lady, who ran a jewellers’ shop, had been told by a waste company that the Landfill Directive now meant that all waste had to be pre-treated before it is landfilled – the implication being only this company could provide a legal landfill service. Pre-treatment is indeed required, but the Environment Agency expects the waste management industry to deal with this requirement – not small businesses and retailers.
So there is a double imperative to understand environmental legislation – to make sure your business is neither hauled up in court by the Environment Agency nor ripped off by the sharks.