Sir, In an economic downturn, we should be aware of the three Rs, reuse, reduce and recycle, but as commodity prices fall we should all be thinking in terms of recession-resistant recycling.

No one can fail to notice the rapid increase in the cost of waste. What was once a small and often accepted cost has grown as a result of environmental pressures, market dynamics and the landfi ll tax, which will continue to rise year-on year. By 2010 the cost will be £48 per tonne – double that of 2007.

Businesses need to stop seeing waste as an inevitable and ongoing cost and instead view it as a resource. Any cost savings made, whether in purchasing, energy efficiency or waste management, will go straight to the bottom line.

Despite the predictions of some commentators, the market for recyclables is certainly not dead and a robust recycling system is an asset for any company, both environmentally and financially.

Work closely with your waste management company and remember that recycling is still an emerging market.

The diversity of what can be recycled may astound you. All you need to do is recognise that recyclers want high grade, segregated
and clean material. You could dramatically improve your chances of selling your paper by further segregating it into good quality, white office paper, newspaper and packaging material.

You could segregate plastic shrink wrap from plastic drinks bottles or identify ways to reduce contamination of waste. These steps will make it much easier to sell on your recyclables.

Martin Hewitt, commercial director, PHS Orwak