What is Business Waste?
Business waste is the term used to describe the refuse/waste material produced by commercial entities. Business waste makes up to one quatre of all waste created by England according to the Waste Resources Action Programme and the types of waste produced by businesses can vary greatly depending on the industry.
This post will outline everything you need to know about business waste. Quickly jump to the section you want to read about first:
Types of Business Waste
Each business will produce various types and amounts of waste. The core factors which may affect the type of waste your business creates include the size of the company, the industry the company is part of, the customer/client base, and the company’s waste strategy (such as whether they are a paperless or a recycle-first company).
Here are the various types of business waste:
General waste is the common, everyday rubbish business sites produce which cannot be recycled. Examples include laminated paper, food packaging, and used tissues. Pretty much all businesses will produce this type of waste, no matter the industry.
Dry Mixed Recycling
Dry mixed recycling waste includes waste which can be recycled because it is not contaminated. Examples include a mix of paper, plastic bottles, food tins (although need to be washed) and cardboard. The majority of businesses will produce these types of waste and will likely have a dry mixed recycling bin so that they do not have to separate their recyclable refuse on-site and can send it off in one container to be segregated at a business waste treatment facility.
Glass waste is the refuse created by businesses where the main material is made from glass. Examples include glass bottles and broken drinking glasses. Industries such as restaurant and hospitality, and glass manufacturers (perhaps a bit of an obvious example) will be most likely to produce this type of business waste.
Food waste is the food produce which has not been consumed entirely and has thus been discarded. However, larger food waste products such as large animal bones discarded by butchers comes under a different category of business waste and an ‘animal-by-product’ bin is required over a food waste bin. Examples of food waste found commonly in businesses are banana skins, chicken wing bones, and leftovers scraped off of plates. Restaurants will undoubtedly produce food waste, but most offices will too! If your employees eat at work then you’ll likely have a fair amount of food waste being put into your bins.
Clinical waste is actually quite difficult to define. Clinical waste is the waste produced which consists wholly or partly of animal (including human) tissue, bodily fluid, excretions, drugs or pharmaceutical products, or swabs, syringes and bandages which may be hazardous if not rendered safe. Industries producing clinical waste include hospitals, dentists, and tattooists.
Hazardous waste is any waste product which poses a potential risk to the environment or public health. Materials which are considered hazardous need to have at least one of following traits: Toxicity, Reactivity, Ignitability, and Corrosivity. Examples of this type of waste include batteries, cleaning chemicals like chlorine (for swimming pools), and solvents. Industries who typically produce hazardous waste include chemical manufacturers, electroplating companies, and oil refineries.
Washroom waste is the waste found in toilets and showers. Examples include nappies, sanitary products, and tissues. Industries that typically produce this business waste include hospitality and leisure.
Secure Document Shreddings
Secure document shredding is the paper document waste which has been shredded to preserve confidentiality and to avoid disclosure. Examples are shredded client document information, employee personal information, and company financials. There are many companies which will have secure document shredding waste. However, it is more typical for a larger corporation to have masses of shreddings which need to be disposed of. Law firms and Accountancy firms are great examples.
Why Business Waste is Important to Small Businesses
Because it’s your legal responsibility
Every business in the UK with a registered business site is required to responsibly dispose of their business waste. Your small business must ensure that your waste is being stored, removed and disposed of adequately, otherwise, you will be fined and can be fined excessively.
If you are convicted of an illegal waste disposal offence, under the Environment Protection Act 1990, the Magistrates or Crown court can sanction you with unlimited fines. You could even receive a prison sentence up to 12 months if convicted in a Magistrates court and up to 5 years if in a Crown court.
Duty of Care
Duty of Care (Section 34 of the Environment Protection Act 1990) is the name of the legislation which outlines the need for companies to responsibly dispose of their business waste. It states the following:
- Store your waste safely and securely
- Prevent the waste from causing any damage to people or the environment
- Ensure that any waste collection providers are fully licensed
- Contain all waste within your control to the greatest extent that you can
- Include a waste transfer note if you transport your waste using an outsourced waste management service
It also says that you must keep your waste to a minimum by following the Prevent, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover waste management hierarchy.
Waste Transfer Note
When using a waste management service, they will transport your business waste. But they need to be given a waste transfer note attached to the waste. As a business owner, you need to supply this and fill it out. The note will categorise the type and amount of waste. You are also required to keep a copy of each note for 2 years. We have more information on this here.
However, this note does not apply to hazardous waste. You should go to the UK government website to help you determine whether you are producing hazardous business waste. Once you have identified your waste then contact a waste management service provider who can collect and dispose of hazardous refuse like CheaperWaste.
Because making the right decisions about your waste can have a big impact
Depending on how you decide to handle your waste, you have the opportunity to make a real difference to your business. You can have an impact on your company culture, your staff morale, and you can even positively impact your finances.
The main way to have a positive impact in all of these areas is to adopt a business-wide recycling scheme. Using a waste management service who will recycle your waste is the first step towards this. You can then introduce recycling education to your staff and make everyone accountable, as a team, for your ‘going green’ initiative. This will undoubtedly nurture a great company culture and make your staff proud to work for an environmentally conscious and forward-thinking business.
In terms of your finances, recycling the majority of your waste will save you money on landfill tax and disposal gate fees and with the rising landfill taxes these savings can really add up. You can read more about business recycling in our guide here.
Furthermore, there can be more indirect effects on your finances when you choose to go green. A study conducted by Unilever (in 2017) found that 33% of consumers choose to buy from brands that they believe to be environmentally good. You should, therefore, make recycling your business waste something you are proud to shout about as this will inevitably attract more eyes from potential customers.
What Small Businesses can do about their Business Waste
Managing your waste effectively
As a small business, you need to have your business waste managed effectively and legally. There are some key things you should do, therefore, to ensure that this is the case:
- Conduct a waste audit to understand what type of waste, how much of each type of waste (in litres – because commercial bins are sized by their litre capacity), and how quickly you are producing each type of waste.
- Ensure that you use a business waste management service and tell them about the results of your waste audit so they can provide you with the appropriate bins and collection service.
- Make sure that your staff are segregating their waste and putting it in the appropriate bins.
- Make sure you are storing your waste containers (bins) out of the way and safely, and ensure they are made accessible for your waste collectors.
- Make sure you are correctly filling out and signing your waste transfer notes and keeping a copy in a safe place.
Remember, as your business grows and changes, so will your waste. So make sure to conduct a waste audit once a quatre or whenever you suspect that there may be changes in your waste stream.
Choosing the Right Waste Removal Servicer
Ultimately, you need to choose a business waste servicer who can actually collect the type of waste your business is producing. Some collectors, for instance, will not pick up hazardous waste or will not securely transfer your document shreddings. So firstly, make sure you research the servicer so that you know whether they can actually do what you need them to do.
Secondly, you should seek a company who can offer their services at inexpensive prices. CheaperWaste, of course, comes to mind. Thirdly, if you’re a small business you will likely value ease of setup, and speed. Securing a contract with a business waste collector can be laborious, take time, and be extremely frustrating. Small business owners simply do not have time to go through that process. As such you should look for convenient and fast setup. Luckily, this is CheaperWaste’s speciality.
Why CheaperWaste has got your back!
Here at CheaperWaste we are the UK’s fastest-growing, fully-licenced, waste management company and we are growing fast for a reason. We offer the best service, at inexpensive prices, and are focused on small businesses. We understand your business’ needs and have a team catered to help you grow and succeed. Get a quote for free and see how much you can save today!