Catherine Costello, Macroom E, Michelle Green, SMILE Resource Exchange and Maeve Bowen, Macroom E, sporting upcycled bags made from recycled tyres and Tarpaulins at a recent SMILE Resource Exchange business networking event at Castlemartyr Resort, Cork.

REDUCING environmental impact has always been a challenge to small and medium sized companies (SMEs).

With new environmental legislation set to put pressure on these SMEs to move to products and processes with a lower environmental impact, this challenge will no doubt increase over the coming years.

A new survey conducted by SMILE Resource Exchange highlights businesses attitudes to waste disposal, and changing trends.

The landfill levy is set to rise even further this summer in a series of planned hikes, which will more than double the charge from its existing level at the start of 2011. However the survey has revealed that almost 60% of respondents were not aware of these increases, and the cost implications for their businesses.

Now is the perfect time to look at business practices relating to waste disposal and make a change as the levy is scheduled to increase from €50 a tonne to €65 a tonne from July, followed by a further increase to €75 a tonne on June 1st 2013.

The SMILE survey, completed by over 100 businesses throughout Munster, indicates that SMEs are actively engaging in actions to reduce their environmental impact, with the majority of companies (92%) disposing of unwanted waste through recycling; although 48% also still sending quantities of waste to landfill. Just one respondent alarmingly said they send 100% of their waste to landfill, while the majority said they send just between 1 and 24% of waste to landfill.

Michelle Green, Project Manager of SMILE Resource Exchange said, “These responses clearly indicate that many of the survey participants hold positive attitudes towards the concept of improving environmental performance. Indeed, the above list of responses gives five very sound reasons to initiate the process of making environmental improvements in the small business setting.”

For more information visit www.smileexchange.ie or call 026 20520.