Implementing a good waste management system is a cost-effective approach for businesses to benefit the environment.
Improving bad habits and separating waste into organised streams can allow businesses to improve their environmental efficiency.
In an age of climate awareness for both business, employee and consumer, it is as important as ever to integrate green solutions into working life.
Customers are increasingly conscious of the footprint left by the businesses they choose to shop with, and effective waste management can offer a visible commitment to eco-improvement.
As an ever-increasing number of big businesses take the pledge to tackle the climate emergency, the topic is becoming hard to overlook for many small and medium enterprises who are likewise joining the effort.
What is a waste management strategy?
A waste management strategy is simply a plan of action for the disposal of business waste, with an objective of cost and environmental efficiency.
As landfill taxes rise annually, general waste continues to be the costliest method of disposal, therefore waste segregation is not only beneficial environmentally but economically too.
The strategy often begins with a waste audit, which is a review and evaluation of the waste produced, allowing businesses to identify areas of improvement.
Once the audit has been completed, a strategy can be formulated to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill.
Educating and involving all staff within the business is a necessity, with an increased attention and awareness on the amount of landfill waste being produced the first step to reducing it.
It is often evident from a waste audit that separating waste into different streams would be beneficial for a business.
Many households in the UK have now integrated recycling into their routine, however as waste is often an overlooked element of business running, the most familiar waste stream can easily become foreign to business owners.
A dry mixed recycling bin allows businesses to conveniently separate recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, drinks and food tins into one container, with the methodical and arduous sorting process done off-site at an automated Materials Recovery Facility.
This hassle-free approach can be implemented effortlessly into the thrusts of a demanding business and can significantly lower a company’s carbon footprint.
All metals can be recycled, with a drinks can able to pass through the system within a matter of weeks.
Recycled plastic bottles can not only be used to recreate new plastic bottles but can form plastic to be spun into polyester or craft anything from drainage pipes to pencils.
Plastic that is sent to landfill can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, with drinks bottles averaging at around 450 years.
It is also possible for businesses to recycle glass with a glass collection service.
Glass is one of the most widely recycled materials within the UK, with many food manufacturers that once moved to plastic resorting back to glass packaging.
Once processed, recycled glass can be melted and remoulded into new bottles and jars or decorative materials, with the energy expended to do so far less than sourcing and using new material.
One of Britain’s biggest environmental shames is the amount of food waste which it produces year on year, with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimating UK manufacturers waste one billion tonnes of food annually.
When food waste is sent to landfill it rots and subsequently becomes a significant source of methane – a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Food waste can also take a remarkably long time to decompose with the likes of an orange peel lingering for six months after it has been discarded.
Businesses that have recognised they are producing a substantial amount of food waste can implement a food waste caddy into their waste management plan.
A waste audit may have also identified bad habits within businesses that have negative environmental implications such as a reliance on single-use plastics or unnecessary paper use.
It is the responsibility of a business to do everything they reasonably can to prevent, reuse, recycle or recover waste – in that order – so it is expected businesses practice techniques that avoid the creation of waste primarily.
Many multinational restaurant businesses, such as McDonalds, last year moved to paper straws as it was estimated the UK used 8.5 million of the plastic variant a year.
Single-use plastics can often be easily substituted for environmental alternatives and is an effective way of reducing the amount of waste businesses produce in the first place.
An audit could additionally detect areas where items could be reused instead of discarded such as repurposing jars as drinking glasses or simply using clean waste paper as notepaper.
Many businesses will also find a trend of over-purchasing, whether it be food or office supplies, frugality when buying not only eliminates unused products but the packaging it is delivered in.
Waste management services
Businesses are legally required to have a waste management service, though which one is the prerogative of each business.
CheaperWaste has always operated with the mantra ‘minimal landfill’ and is committed to encouraging and assisting businesses to reduce their landfill output in the most cost-effective means.
CheaperWaste partner with national material recovery specialists who share our principles to offer a range of services to suit each business’s specific needs and environmental potential.