Separating your waste is not always as simple as it sounds and often waste types end up being mixed together before they are picked up by business waste collectors.
This is something which needs to be avoided at all costs since the collector may even refuse to collect your mixed waste since it will contaminate the waste already in the truck and prevent the material from being effectively recycled or treated.
That’s why we have come up with some top tips for separating your business waste so that your waste collections are not disrupted.
1. Identify your waste
The first step in being able to separate your waste is to actually be able to identify what type of waste your business is producing and what kinds of material fall into which waste category.
The best way to see what rubbish your company is actually producing is to conduct a waste audit. This is where you make a note of all the stuff your business throws away over a short period (1-2 weeks). You’ll document what type of waste it is as well as how much of it is produced. You can read more about waste audits here.
But, of course, to be able to categorise your waste you’ll need to know what common items go in which waste stream. For example, paper and cardboard go into dry-mixed recycling, plate scrapings into food waste, and bottles and jars go into glass waste. You can read a more extensive list of what items go into which bin here.
2. Get dedicated bins
Now you know what your business throws away, you’ll need to get dedicated bins for each waste category you produce in order to prevent cross-contamination.
If you find that your business throws away general waste, food waste items, glass, and clinical waste because you’re a restaurant, for instance, you’ll need to get at least one bin for each of these waste types.
3. Clearly label bins
Now that you have your bins, you’ll need to make sure that only the intended waste for each bin is put in there. It’s no good having dedicated bins if they end up with the wrong waste in them anyway.
To avoid this you need to clearly label your business bins. You should even consider having icons displaying common waste items for that waste stream on the label in addition to a large title featuring the waste category. Using colour would also help your employees and customers easily identify which waste can go in which bin. Blue, for example, is commonly used for recycling.
4. Educate your employees
You might think that by this stage you have all the pieces in place to ensure that your business waste is adequately separated at all times. However, just one staff member not knowing about cross-contamination or which type of waste goes into which one of your bins can completely undermine your waste segregation effectiveness.
That’s why it is important to train all of your current and future employees on how to separate the waste the business produces and educate them on why this is important. This will make sure that everyone is on board and your new waste segregation system works.