Business waste is inevitable, and all businesses are legally responsible for managing their waste. If you’re a business owner, you’re probably aware that commercial restrictions on waste are much stricter than those on residential waste and this can lead to unforeseen costs. But, did you know that conducting a regular waste audit, could help you save money? Here we will give you some guidance on how to conduct your audit and give you some recommendations for money saving practices.
A step-by-step guide to conducting your waste audit
- Review. Look around your site and make a note of how many bins you have, what type of bins they are, and what condition the bins are in. Also, look at the position of each bin, is it in the right place, which of your bins are getting used the most, and which the least, could there be a reason for this?
- Get hands-on. Not a pleasant job but put some rubber gloves on and go “dumpster diving”. Look at the contents of your bins see what type of waste you and your business are producing.
- The right bins? Now that you’ve had a look at the type of waste are you producing, establish if this waste is being put in the correct bins, or if you have the correct bins to deal with the type of waste are producing.
- Revise. Take a close look at your business processes. Are you producing more waste than you imagined? Are there any changes that could be made to your business procedures that could reduce the amount of waste you produce? For example, could you go paperless and reduce the amount of paper waste you produce?
- Examine. Look at your current waste collection arrangements. Make a note of the frequency of your collections and if you are filling your bin each time. If you only have weekly collections and every week your waste is spilling over the top of your waste container then maybe, it’s time to change your schedule to a twice-weekly collection or order big bins.
- Calculate. Look at the monthly cost of your waste disposal. Identify the areas where there are large quantities of waste and the highest costs.
- Evaluate. Look over the information you have collected, see which areas are standing out and try some “easy win” waste-reduction measures to start with.
- Segregation and education? Are you segregating your general waste from your recyclable material? Do you have food waste that is being thrown into your recycling bin along with the containers, or are your staff throwing away paper in the general waste bins? Making sure you have the correct bins for all waste streams is vital and educating your staff to make sure all waste is being dealt with correctly is important to make sure you are getting the best value for money from your waste management services.
Once you’ve completed your waste audit, and you’ve identified some areas for improvement. Here are some of our recommendations for positive change that could save your business money.
Money-saving changes to implement after a waste audit
Now that you have identified where your waste is coming from you can start to make changes to avoid producing too much waste. For example,
Restaurant owners: Are you wasting to much fresh produce? Or do you have excessive leftover food? Perhaps you could make changes to your menu to use up more of your ingredients, or even remove unpopular dishes or reduce portion size to reduce leftover food waste.
You may also want to re-evaluate the storage of your food to make sure fresh produce is not “spoiling” because of incorrect handling. By reducing the amount of food that is wasted will save your business money and make you more efficient. For more tips read our blog about food waste segregation.
Office owners and managers: Do you have too much paper-waste or recyclable material going into your general bins? Perhaps you could create a single bin or collection zone in each office, rather than a bin under every desk. This will encourage your staff to leave their desks to throw their waste away and will make them consider other options such as recycling or paper shredding. You could also try going-paperless and save money by ordering less paper and less printer toner.
General Waste or Recycling bin?
There are several benefits for companies who adopt good recycling habits, one of these is that it is better for the environment, but it’s also great for staff morale and how your customers view your business, and it’s a great way to save money.
As general waste collections are subject to landfill tax, you can reduce your costs by opting for a smaller general waste bin and segregating all recyclable material into different waste streams, such as glass recycling or Mixed Dry Recycling containers. By training and educating your staff to segregate waste properly and use recycling bins correctly will reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and reduce your waste management costs.
Excess Weight vs. New Collection Schedule/Bin
If you’ve discovered in your waste audit that you are producing more waste than you initially anticipated, or you are regularly producing more waste than you current waste management tariff allows, you may be finding that your being charged for “excess weight” by your waste management company.
Unfortunately, due to the landfill tax, the “excess weight” charge from your supplier is unavoidable if you’ve produced too much waste. If you are regularly being charged for excess weight, then it might be time to change your collection schedule or your bin size. Despite what people may think, it’s usually cheaper to increase your service level rather than continue to pay for the unbudgeted cost of excess weight. By choosing the correct waste management service waste management costs will become more efficient and your forecasted budgets will be more accurate.
If you’d like some advice about how to conduct a waste audit or make changes to your waste management service, please do not hesitate to contact us.