The issue of waste in European manufacturing SMEs
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Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) cumulatively cause 64% of total industrial pollution, and contribute approximately 60-70% of the total industrial waste in the EU. However, only 24% of SMEs in the EU are currently acting to reduce their environmental impact and only 0.4% of them implement an Environmental Management System (EMS). In contrast, large companies are making great strides towards better waste management practices. This study is focused on this issue of waste in manufacturing-related SMEs. It presents the results of an exploratory survey on a number of SME managers in Europe. It has investigated the waste management practices that these SMEs employ, what motivates SME managers to recycle, and about their relationship with their Waste Service Provider (WSP). This survey has shown good intentions of SME owner-managers to engage in environmental issues. These intentions could be capitalised upon if systems were in place (with their WSP) that would ‘nudge’ them to transform their intentions into actions, leading to better waste management practices.
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