it equipment recycling

What is the importance of recycling IT equipment?

recycling IT equipmentDid you know that up to 50 million tonnes of e-waste are disposed of worldwide every year? Would it also surprise you to know that, despite a growing push towards recycling IT equipment, the UK is one of the leading producers of electronic and electrical waste in the world?

In fact, the UK is 5th on the list, producing 51.8lbs of e-waste per capita.

So, when we’re upgrading our business computers, laptops, and mobile phones, it’s vital that we all do our bit to ensure that we’re recycling IT equipment wherever possible.

That helps to reduce the amount of electronic waste we’re sending to landfill, contaminating the area with toxic materials such as chemicals and heavy metals.

It also helps businesses comply with the strict Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2013.

IT equipment is one of the ten categories outlined in the legislation. You can find out more here.

Every business has a duty of care to the environment and to people to ensure it is not creating pollution.

In the case of some of the recyclable materials such as metals, they could also earn businesses funds for recycling them.

How much of my IT equipment can be recycled?

Printed circuit boards– They are made from a mixture of materials including precious metals such as gold and copper, fibreglass, and plastics. Much of the material can be recycled

Keyboard keys– These are plastic and are recyclable. They are generally shredded and sold on the commodities market as mixed plastic scrap, although some manufacturers such as Dell do re-use their own scrap plastics in a closed loop system to reduce the impact on the environment.

The chassis– Some are wholly plastic and are recyclable in the same way as the keys. Others are mixed with carbon fibre which is not recyclable at the moment but can be burned in waste to energy systems.

Batteries– The outer plastic casing is separated and recycled, then the rest is smelted down to metal alloys and slag, from which lithium is recovered.

Fans and drives– Are made of plastic and can be recycled.

Cables– Can be reused or broken down into plastic and copper wiring and the metal is recycled. The insulation goes to a waste to energy scheme.

LCD screens– Many can now be recycled by separating the liquid crystals from the polariser foils and glass substrate. All three can be recycled.

Mobile phones– Most mobile phones contain precious metals and plastics. They can be recycled to save the energy and the resources which would otherwise be needed to mine or manufacture them.

When we’re recycling IT equipment, how do we choose the right waste management company?

Look for a company with a proven track record in successfully dealing with WEEE waste, such as Inspire Waste Management.

They will understand the complex rules associated with it and help you ensure your WEEE recycling is carried out correctly.


Do you need advice from our Inspire Waste Management team? Contact us on 0800 002 9282.

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Need help with solvent paints disposal ? Read our handy guide…

solvent paints disposalMany businesses have left-over paint, coatings, or varnishes from refurbishments or expansion projects and need help with solvent paints disposal.

So, we decided to put together a useful guide with all the questions you’ll need to ask about how to handle the waste.

Solvent-based paint is often used on metal equipment, metal walkways, metal doors, and railings, and is especially useful for protecting steel structures. However, if you have waste, here’s what you need to know about solvent paints disposal…


Q: Why is solvent-based paint used?

A: Solvents are used to disperse paint pigments and when they dry, they leave the pigment and oxidized oil, forming a hard film. This makes the painted surface durable.


Q: What is the difference between water-based and solvent-based paint?

A: Solvent-based paint is often referred to as oil-based or alkyd, and it contains a higher level of organic compounds that water-based paint. When the solvents evaporate, they release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). They have a strong odour and a toxic impact on the environment, which is why the correct solvent paint disposal is vital.


Q: Can epoxy coatings and resins also use solvents?

A: Yes they can. They are popular in industry because they give a quick-drying, tough and protective coating to concrete floors and metal structures which resists water, acid, and alkali.


Q; How could solvent paints disposal affect my health?

A: Solvents can get into the body by breathing in vapours or fumes or if they come into contact with your skin. They can cause eye irritation, lung irritation, headaches, nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, and dermatitis. So, waste solvent-based paints need to be handled carefully and correctly and dealt with by experienced professionals.


Q: Are they considered hazardous waste?

A: Yes, solvent-based paints are a hazard and must be stored, classified, and transported according to the hazardous waste regulationsfrom the Environment Agency. That means your business has a legal duty to comply with the regulations, ensuring your waste is transferred by a licensed company and sent to a licensed facility for disposal or recycling. Failure to do so can result in a substantial fine.


Q: Why is classifying the waste important?

A: It will help you decide how to store it and deal with it, and it will help your waste handlers manage it. You must give them correctly filled-in paperwork as part of your business’s duty of care to people and the environment.


Q: Where can I find guidance on classifying the waste?

A: The Environment Agency has a guide to construction and demolition waste which includes paints and varnishes. Access it here.


Q: How do I choose the right waste management company for my solvent paints disposal?

A: Choose a company with a track record in successfully dealing with hazardous waste, such as Inspire Waste Management. They will understand the complex rules associated with it and help you ensure your solvent paints disposal is carried out correctly.


Do you need advice from our Inspire Waste Management team? Contact uson 0800 002 9282.

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What is planned obsolescence?

Most products we buy – at home or as a business – have built-in lifespans.

Manufacturers call this planned or built-in obsolescence.

This built-in lifespan is designed to limit the length of time a product will function to its best capacity, the idea being that this will spur people to upgrade and buy newer models.

By shortening the time between repeat purchases, manufacturers aim to increase sales revenue and offset the research and development costs of improvements to their products.

This idea is hugely important to manufacturers of electrical and electronic goods such as printers, computers, laptops, cameras, and mobile phones.

How do manufacturers do this?

Contrived durability– Reducing the time a product takes to deteriorate. The design process means that the length of time a product needs to last is built in from the start, ensuring the components all match that timescale. For example, the decision might be taken to use softer metal in components and to use more fragile plastics.

Repair prevention– Products may be designed without the ability to be repaired easily. Take the example of single use cameras by comparison with ordinary cameras, or cheap digital watches which are sealed in factories and cannot be opened to replace the batteries.

Making them unfashionable – Changes to the styling of electronic products are often carried out to make older models feel less fashionable and desirable.

Changing the system– Software often changes to ensure older models cannot upgrade to it, driving people to buy newer models. Think laptops and PCs, for example, where multiple software upgrades can be carried out, only for the next software upgrade to be incompatible with the hardware.

Disabling products– After a certain period of time, some inkjet printers cannot be used because their smart chips prevent it. Manufacturers are programming obsolescence in from the start.

What are the implications?

One of the main issues which come out of this trend is the need to deal with e-waste effectively.

As products deteriorate and are replaced, they must be made safe, disposed of correctly, and recycled wherever possible.

Every year, around two million tonnes electrical and electronic items are discarded by householders and companies in the UK.

As businesses, we all have a legal duty to follow the UK regulations on the disposal of electronic and electrical waste, or the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) regulations.

WEEE waste must be categorised, transferred correctly with the right paperwork, and sent to a suitable facility for recycling and disposal.

There are 14 different categories at present, and in January 2019, the rules will be extended to more items of electronic waste.

The Health and Safety Executivehas an advisory page giving more detail on specific components in e-waste.

Businesses which breach these regulations can face fines and clean-up costs – and any legal action can also hit business reputations.

So, what can your business do to protect itself?

Hire an experienced WEEE waste handling company, such as Inspire Waste Management, which will help you set up the right processes to deal with your WEEE waste securely and safely and help you navigate the complex rules.



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Why are regulations dealing with hazardous waste so strict – and why should my business comply with them?

Hazardous Waste In 2016, strict regulations came into force which ensured hazardous waste was properly categorised and dealt with in the correct manner.

The responsibilities for each producer, carrier, and consignee (the end receiver) of hazardous waste were made clear.

There also has to be a detailed note of how the waste was produced, a chemical and physical analysis of it, and it should be classified according to the List of Waste or European Waste Catalogue.

Hazardous and non-hazardous waste should not be mixed. Discover more guidance from the UK Government here.

The most commonly-produced hazardous materials include:

  • Propane – often used as a fuel
  • Sulfuric acid – often used in the production of fertilisers, cleaning agents, and in oil manufacturing
  • Asbestos – often discovered during demolitions and renovations of old buildings
  • Carbon dioxide – often used to chill or freeze food
  • Solvents – used in the production process in several industries
  • Argon – often used to produce lightbulbs
  • Non-edible oils – such as car oil
  • Pesticides – often used in farming
  • Chlorine – often used in water purification, swimming pools, and bleaches
  • LPG – often used in refrigeration and as a fuel
  • Electronic waste and batteries – containing heavy metals, battery acid, and other hazards

More than 5 million tonnes of hazardous waste is produced every year in the UK and in recent years, that figure has been growing by around 8% per annum.

This waste is a hazard to human health and to our environment, which is why regulations are stringent and compliance with them is so important.


So, what are the risks?

The risks depend on the type of waste.

People could find themselves with severe injuries such as burns or frostbite or asphyxiation from carbon dioxide, for example.

Sulfuric acid can cause severe burns and severe lung damage if it is inhaled, asbestos can cause cancers such as mesothelioma, argon can cause tissue damage, and incorrectly-stored LPG could cause a major explosion.

There is a risk that hazardous waste could pollute the water table and have a hugely detrimental effect on the environment – from plants and trees to wildlife.

The aim of the categorisation process has been to ensure waste is handled and processed correctly to reduce that risk to people and the planet.

Any business which fails to comply with the rules could find itself being taken to court, facing the prospect of hefty fines and clear-up costs.

Any injury to a staff member or member of the public could also result in a substantial claim for damages.

Alongside the financial damage, the reputational damage to a business can also be huge.


How do I choose the right waste management company for my business?

Look for a company with consultants with a track record in dealing with hazardous waste, such as Inspire Waste Management. They will understand the complex rules associated with it and help you ensure your waste is correctly categorised.


Do you need advice from our Inspire Waste Management team? Contact us on 0800 002 9282.


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What is a waste management consultant – and why do I need one?

Have you ever seen the job title of waste management consultant and wondered what they do?

These consultants can help your business save money, comply with complex waste regulations, reduce pollution, and reduce the impact of the work you do on the environment.


  • Ensure hazardous and non-hazardous waste is disposed of safely, legally, and efficiently
  • Help companies design waste management systems which comply with environmental protection laws
  • Analyse systems for efficiency and cost
  • Carry out risk assessments
  • Highlight the benefits and drawbacks of different waste management systems
  • Suggest improvements, including new equipment or procedures

Generally, they have expert knowledge in chemistry, physics, and mechanical engineering.

This knowledge is combined with a dee[p understanding of the hazardous waste legislation and how businesses must comply with it when it is stored, categorised, transported, and disposed of.

They use research skills online and in the field to ensure the law is complied with and businesses are given the best options for them.

A substantial part of the job is writing detailed technical reports, explaining the complex rules in clear language to businesses.

They also draw up blueprints and carry out simulations to test systems and may carry out air and soil tests.


Why would I need a waste management consultant?

Any business undertaking a major new construction project, or the installation of new plant and machinery, would need to know the cost of removing waste from their site

One of the key reasons to employ a waste management consultant is to help prevent spiraling project costs.

Businesses which produce hazardous waste as part of their process, or which store it, must understand and comply with strict rules.

An experienced waste management consultant will help businesses ensure they have the right storage facilities, the right transportation, and that they have the right waste transfer notes.

Categorising hazardous waste correctly is vital to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.

Your consultant will assist you in doing that and ensure that notes are filled out correctly.

Businesses which fail to comply with hazardous waste regulations can be fined substantial amounts.

For example in 2017, a Bristol company and two of its directors were told to pay more than £32,000 in fines and costs for illegally supplying 64,000 of tonnes hazardous waste to a development site, where workers reported getting sore, runny eyes. There was the potential risk of exposure to asbestos contained in the material, the Environment Agency said.


How do you choose the right waste management consultant?

Look for a company with consultants with a track record in dealing with hazardous waste, such as Inspire Waste Management. They will understand the complex rules associated with it and help you ensure your waste is correctly categorised.


Do you need advice from our Inspire Waste Management consultants? Contact us on 0800 002 9282.





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Do you know your numbers when it comes to electronic and electrical waste?

electrical wasteThe numbers involved in dealing with electronic and electrical waste are staggering.

Globally, we generate more than 41 million tonnes of e-waste each year, a report in 2014 found. That is expected to rise to around 50 million tonnes this year, the United Nations University says.

The UK alone generates 2 million tonnes of electronic waste in a year.

The Environment Agency calculates that waste crime – the deliberate mishandling of electronic waste  – takes as much as £1 billion from legitimate waste businesses and the Treasury in taxes.

Waste is often illegally sent to developing countries in a black market estimated to be worth £14 billion a year worldwide. There, it is often burned, releasing toxic fumes, or buried in landfill. Read more about the threat from illegally handled e-waste here.


Why is so much electronic waste produced?

Many electronic gadgets have a built-in obsolescence. In other words, they are created with a view to being obsolete within a few years.

This happens because technology is changing at a fast pace, and new innovations are constantly being brought into the marketplace.

Take the mobile phone market. In the past few years, we’ve seen better phone cameras, new innovations when it comes to shooting and storing video, assistants such as Siri and Cortana added to software, more capability to deal with apps, improvements to phone batteries, and better speakers for playing music or listening to podcasts.

It’s now possible to shape some phones and wear them around our wrists, such as the Samsung Galaxy X, thanks to innovative new materials being used in their production.

So, producers have brought out up-dated versions of their phones or created whole new lines.

What can happen if e-waste is not handled correctly?

Mishandled waste can pollute the soil and water courses, add to greenhouse gases, help deplete the ozone layer, and can have a devastating impact on human health because of toxic radiation or toxic fumes.

Electronic waste can contain dangerous chemicals such as nickel, mercury, and cadmium.


Who is responsible for dealing with it?

There are 14 categories of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations (WEEE), incorporating phones, laptops, fridges, batteries, small electrical items such as toasters and kettles,

All retailers – in physical stores and online – must provide a way for their customers to dispose of old domestic electrical and electronic equipment when they are sold new items. They must either provide their own take-back service or join one created by distributors. Find out more here.

Producers of electronic and electrical goods must register every year and take on the responsibilities of a distributor if they sell directly to the public. They must also provide information on environmentally sound treatment of the products and their components and keep records for four years. Find out more here.


How do you choose the right company to handle your electronic waste?

Experience – Look for a company with a track record in dealing with electronic or electrical waste items, such as Inspire Waste Management. They will understand the complex rules associated with it and help you ensure your waste is correctly categorised.


Registration– Ensure the WEEE carrier is registered with the proper authorities. In England, that’s the Environment Agency, in Wales, Natural Resources Wales, in Scotland, it’s the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, in Northern Ireland it’s the Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs.


Destination– Ensure your carrier is taking the WEEE waste to a facility which is licensed to recycle it, and that they will provide you with an audit chain for your e-waste.


Do you need advice from our Inspire Waste Management experts in dealing with electronic waste? Call us on 0800 002 9282.




Is asbestos a headache on your construction project? It’s time to call in the experts

Developers and builders know that any project which involves asbestos means they need to act with great caution.

Any waste which has 0.1% asbestos is covered by stringent regulations.

Breathing in asbestos fibres, which can cause lung cancer and the fatal lung disease, asbestosis, is dangerous to their employees and the general public – and all businesses have a legal duty of care to protect both from harm.

Anyone coming into contact with asbestos in work must also be trained to deal with it safely and comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

The Health and Safety Executive has issued guidelines which say asbestos waste must be packed in UN-approved packaging.  A CDG hazard label and information about the asbestos code must be visible.

Asbestos should be double-wrapped and labelled. The HSE advises using a red inner bag with asbestos warnings, and a clear outer bag with the CDG label.

It says large pieces should not be broken up, instead they should be double-wrapped in 1000-gauge polythene sheeting and labelled.

Asbestos is also covered by the hazardous waste regulations, which means that removing and transporting it is governed by strict regulations.

You must classify it, that includes describing its chemical make-up and how it was produced, and you cannot mix it with non-hazardous waste, or different types of hazardous waste

It must be transported by someone with a waste carrier’s licence in a sealed skip or a vehicle with a segregated compartment.

It must also be taken to a suitably licensed waste disposal site

You need a consignment note to transport any commercial hazardous waste, including moving it between your own sites. That also includes removal by registered waste carriers.

Any site accepting hazardous waste without a consignment note, or an incomplete one, may be committing an offence.

You need to keep a copy of the consignment note for three years.


How do you choose the right registered waste carrier?


Check on their registration– Ensure the carrier is registered with the proper authorities. In England, that’s the Environment Agency, in Wales, Natural Resources Wales, in Scotland, it’s the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, in Northern Ireland it’s the Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs.


Check on their experience– Have they transported asbestos waste before? Do they understand all the regulations surrounding it, and the implications of the 2012 Act? Can they put you in touch with companies for whom they have worked in the past?


Check on the end destination– Choose the suitable end destination yourself or ensure your carrier is taking the asbestos waste to a facility which has the correct licence. If a consignment is turned away by a facility, you could find it coming back to your site and the process of waste removal could end up being more time-consuming and costly than you imagined.

Do you need advice from our experts in transporting with asbestos at Inspire Waste Management? Call us on 0800 002 9282. Our waste consultants will also help you plan your removal project before you begin.

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How is your farm dealing with its hazardous waste? Is it time to call in the experts?

hazardous wasteWhen we hear the words ‘hazardous waste’, we don’t often associate them with farms.

However, several substances used on farms – or produced by them – could be categorised as hazardous.

Tightened regulations mean that farms need waste handlers to help them dispose of several categories of waste such as plastics and oils.

In fact, an estimated 135,500 tonnes of agricultural plastic waste is produced annually in the UK.


Farms produce non-natural waste including:

  • Used syringes and needles for animal treatment, and unused medications
  • Plastics, bags, and sheets
  • Asbestos from farm buildings
  • Tyres
  • Batteries
  • Old farm machinery
  • Oils
  • Discarded pesticide cans

They also produce natural waste including slurry and manure. One survey found that slurry and manure was 93% of all agricultural waste, 43 million tonnes in one year.

The banning of unlicensed farm tips and burning waste in the open changed the way farmers dealt with hazardous waste forever.

Instead, it must now be dealt with under these pieces of legislation:

  • Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005 in England and Wales
  • Special Waste Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2004 in Scotland
  • Hazardous Waste Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005 in Northern Ireland

That means they must either send or take their waste to licensed sites, register an exemption with the appropriate regulatory body to recycle waste on the farm, or apply to a regulatory body for a licence to continue waste disposal on the farm.


So, what is hazardous waste?

It’s waste which is harmful to the environment or humans and that may be chemicals, batteries, asbestos, solvents, oils, or pesticides.

Every business – including farms – has a legal duty of care to ensure the hazardous waste it produces or deals with does not cause harm to people or the environment.

Hazardous waste must be categorised correctly and it must not be mixed with non-hazardous waste. Hereis the official government guide.

Anyone transporting it must have the correct licence and the waste classification code which details the name of the substances, where it was produced, a report of its chemical analysis, a description of how the waste was produced, and any special problems or knowledge about it.


Why choose an experienced carrier?

Carriers such as Inspire Waste have experience of dealing with the complex rules surrounding hazardous waste. It’s easy to get on the wrong side of the law by failing to comply with regulations.

Inspire Waste ensures its clients have the correct certifications, comply with the law, and contractors used are audited properly.

We understand how busy farmers are raising stock and producing crops. Our services including tankers, skips, and dealing with waste certification and transport, help them concentrate on their core business.


Need some advice on farm waste disposal? Call our friendly team on 0191 6824142 about our services.


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Does your oil, water, or cooler tank need cleaning?

haz waste If your business has a tank where you store oil, cooler, or water, it’s vital that you inspect it and ensure it is cleaned regularly.

There are several types of oil which businesses store in tanks:

  • petrol
  • biofuels
  • diesel
  • vegetable oils
  • kerosene
  • synthetic oils
  • solvents
  • biodegradable lubricating or hydraulic oils
  • liquid bitumen-based products, such as waterproofing or damp proofing products
  • cutting fluids
  • insulating oils

There are many industries where these oils are used, and each must be stored in the correct way to comply with environmental and health and safety regulations. Here is a UK Government guide to the rules covering the storage of oil. There are different rules for oil tanks stored on agricultural premises.

For water storage systems, thorough and regular cleaning is a key way to prevent contamination and the spread of diseases. Water storage systems at hotels, leisure facilities, and pools are especially under scrutiny.


Why would your tank need cleaning?

Build up

Sludge can build up in your tank and can damage it and make its way into your systems. That can then affect the operation of your machinery, for example.

If sludge is present in your cooler tank, your machines could be at risk of seizing up if the cooling system isn’t working properly. Every hour your machines are out of action is an hour’s cost to your business.

So, regular cleaning is important to ensure your systems are working to their maximum efficiency and are not at risk of breakdown.

If your tank is damaged, you may find that oil, water, or coolant is leaking out into your secondary ‘drip tray’ system and filling it, endangering the land around it. Fir underground tanks, this could mean oil seeping into the ground.


If water systems are contaminated, this can lead to serious health problems such as Legionnaire’s Disease, and the potential that you or your staff could be put at risk.

Oil and cooler tank contamination can lead to machines breaking down, which could cost your business dearly.

For oils used in food processes, it is vital that any contaminated product is removed swiftly and does not affect the fresh product which will be stored in the tank.


If you’re looking to remove the tank, you need to ensure it is cleaned efficiently before you do so to ensure the land around it isn’t contaminated and that the tank can be transported safely.


How do I choose the right company to clean my tank?

  • Accreditations – Your company should meet the environmental and health and safety regulations, just like Inspire Waste, and should have the relevant ISO accreditations
  • Testimonials – See whether they have good testimonials and feed back from businesses similar to yours
  • Cost – Compare the cost and the level of service you’ll receive for your money
  • Audit trail – Ensure you will have the correct paperwork to show your tank is being cleaned regularly


Need advice on the best tank cleaning for your business? Call our friendly Inspire Waste team on 0800 002 9282


Why should I get my company’s old branded items shredded securely?

Have you re-branded? Time to throw those old branded items in the bin – right?

Depends on the bin!

If you’re throwing them into recycling or the general waste, you could be storing up trouble for your business.

Instead, there’s a compelling case for getting your branded items shredded securely. Here are four great reasons:


  1. You don’t want to dilute your new brand with items containing the old branding, which might still find their way onto the marketplace.

You may have changed your target client, re-positioned your brand in the marketplace, or completely changed the imagery.

Any of that will mean you could have spent thousands of pounds on new logos, letterheaded paper, compliments slips, signage, and workwear.

What was the point if your old branding is till out there undermining your new message?

You may as well have just been throwing your money out of a window!


  1. Fraudsters could get hold of your old branded items. Business cards, flyers, brochures, and workwear could be used to hoodwink your customers. It’s important for your company’s security that your branded items are securely shredded.


  1. Someone could use them to steal your identity – or that of a staff member. Identity thieves are clever. They can piece together the information they need from various documents. Don’t make it easy for them by handing them your phone number, email address, and company number on branded items such as head notepaper or blank invoice or order forms.


  1. You could lose sales. Your old items may well not have the correct contact names or phone numbers on them. That could lead to potential customers becoming frustrated or confused and going to your competitors. Worse still, those staff members who have left may have moved TO your competition, taking their phone numbers with them.


So, how do I choose the right secure shredding service?

You’ll need to consider:

  • Accreditations – Make sure your shredders meet the latest regulations for security and environmental impact. Check out their ISO accreditations.
  • Certificates – Your shredders must give you certification of transfer and destruction. That gives you a great audit trail, something which becomes even more important with the advent of the strict General Data Protection Regulation on May 25.
  • Security – Do they shred at secure sites and are their staff police checked?
  • Testimonials – Get a good feel for a business thanks to testimonials on their website, and on independent review sites. See if there are reviewers in your industry, for example.
  • Cost – Compare prices and the level of service you get for that price. Make sure you’ll get what you need from the provider.
  • Convenience – Will they pick up from your premises and send you certification? The best companies operate to give you a great service at the least inconvenience to your business – just like Inspire Waste.


Need advice on the best shredding options for your business? Call our friendly Inspire Waste team on 0800 002 9282.