Failing to manage your waste properly can lead to risks surrounding safety and compliance, not to mention your carbon footprint.
Waste is one of the biggest talking points when it comes to the environment, and there is a lot of pressure on businesses to reduce the waste that it produces and to better manage what it does produce. At one point, this might have seemed like an impossible challenge, but there are now increasing waste management strategies that businesses can take advantage of to help them achieve these goals.
Business waste can take many different forms, and to some degree, it is an inevitability. Whilst companies might look to reduce the amount of waste that they produce, it is almost impossible to do away with it all.
What to do with that waste has never been a top priority for many, and so little thought has gone into the processes involved.
However, failing to manage your waste properly can lead to risks surrounding safety and compliance, not to mention your carbon footprint. That is why we have looked at the best ways to manage your business waste.
How much waste do you produce?
To know what to do with your waste, it is important to first get a grasp on how much there is. Set a particular time period and break down the different types of waste that you produce, such as cardboard, plastic or fabric.
You can then measure how much of each type you have produced in that period and decide how best to handle it. You may want to look at equipment that bales it together or even crushes it to help take away risk factors and save on space.
Now that you know how much waste you are responsible for, you can work out how you want to manage it. Think about whether you are aiming to reduce it, lower the number of hazards in the workplace or free up some floor space. It can also help you to decide how to segregate your waste on an ongoing basis to make it easier to handle.
The Waste Hierarchy
The EU Waste Framework Directive includes a Waste Hierarchy, which provides guidance on what to do with your business waste. It looks at how to prevent the creation of waste as well as how to prepare it for reuse or recycle it.
The Waste Hierarchy also talks about other forms of recovery and disposal, and these are ranked according to their green credentials. For each factor, the Waste Hierarchy will cover the different routes that you can take for each type, to make it easier for you to determine which categories your waste falls into.
We do not necessarily think about the cost of waste, but it can have a hefty price tag attached to it. You should start by looking at the containers and bins that you use to ensure whether they are the right size and how often they are being collected.
Containers which have been overfilled could be subject to extra charges, whilst not filling the bins that you have is a waste of money. All forms of waste management have a cost attached to them, so ensuring that your setup is suitable for your needs can make a difference to how much you are spending.
It is important to remember that whilst there can be costs to recycling, there is also a landfill tax to take into consideration, which could make it a more expensive way to dispose of your waste. Other nations, such as Dubai, are now drastically increasing the cost of disposing of waste in landfill as a move towards a zero-waste target, and it is likely that this trend will be replicated here too.
Now, there are also incentives to recycle such as or re-sell items that can actually make disposing of your waste profitable if managed in the right way. Take the time to look at your requirements and build a waste management strategy around them to be more cost efficient.
We all understand the importance of recycling, but it can become more complicated at a business level. It reduces the amount of waste going into landfill as well as the number of raw materials being harvested by putting it back into the supply chain. However, different geographical areas have different recycling capacities, so you need to consider what options are available to you.
It is important to discover whether there are recycling processing facilities nearby that handle the materials that you have, and whether they can accept the quantities that you require. Some counties may have collection schemes on offer, and it may be possible to pool waste material with other businesses nearby to reduce the cost of collections.
You should also think about what materials you want to recycle, as this can also have different implications. For example, whilst plastic can be recycled, there is a limit to how many times it can be put through this process, whereas aluminium and glass can continue to be recycled many times. Some materials, such as polystyrene can be repurposed into other products, which can then become a new revenue stream for you.
Depending on the scale of your recycling needs, it can be beneficial to work with specific waste management solution providers, and they can advise you on the best course of action. They might be able to provide you with specialist machinery to help you compact, prepare, or store your recycling and the necessary servicing, or even simply give you the right bins to enable you to sort and dispose of your recycling more efficiently.
Your waste management will always come down to the capability of your staff, so training them adequately is vital. By having training and an ethos that spreads across your entire company, you can be sure that everyone is working to the same standards.
Improving your waste management strategy can make some huge differences to the efficiency of your business, not to mention its impact on the environment. It can save on costs, change your company culture, and make your business a safer, cleaner place to be.
About Flame UK
Sarah Vernau is the Marketing Manager at Flame UK, who are an innovative leader in cost containment and the management for all Waste, Energy and Water consuming businesses.