Waste Management is the process and actions required to manage waste from start to finish. This includes the collection, transport, treatment and disposal of the rubbish.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waste_management But even with this information, do businesses understand the impacts of waste management on the environment?
The increase in online shopping and our consumeristic culture has seen a rise in items being thrown away. In doing so, public awareness of the need to use waste management has emerged, although late.
Impacts of waste on the environment
A study in 2019 found that of the 6.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic waste that was produced, only 9% of it had been recycled. https://www.earthday.org/how-our-trash-impacts-the-environment/ The amount of waste produced affects the environment in multiple ways; it harms wildlife and the natural environment, intensifies climate change, and is detrimental to our public health.
It has been estimated that the UK generated 43.9 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste in 2018, 85% of which was generated in England. The latest estimate from July 2021 shows that we generated around 37.2 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste in 2019. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1002246/UK_stats_on_waste_statistical_notice_July2021_accessible_FINAL.pdf
Several factors contribute to our environment. Food waste in landfills decomposes and releases methane gas, which contributes to the greenhouse gas effect. Furthermore, it is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Electricals and electronical equipment (WEEE waste) can result in air pollution if disposed of incorrectly. Numerous hazardous materials can be found in WEEE waste that can be hazardous to human health.
Irresponsible disposal of waste can also cause many environmental problems; it can cause air and land pollution and could also cause many health conditions.
How to implement better Waste Management
Why it’s important
A business’s waste disposal can account for 4-5% of a business’s turnover. With landfill taxes on the rise, it will cost you and your business more to ignore waste management as an area to save in potentially. https://bmmagazine.co.uk/utilities/why-your-business-needs-a-waste-management-plan/
Ethical practices involving waste management is crucial now more than ever to those who transact with your business. Businesses are beginning to face the scrutiny of their mindful clients as they become increasingly aware of sustainability environmental practices- including waste. https://smarterbusiness.co.uk/blogs/the-importance-of-waste-management-how-it-saves-your-business-money/
Waste Management plan
A Waste Management plan is a written record of your goals for managing waste and what practices need to be implemented to achieve those goals.
- Before planning how to improve, you should know how much waste your business currently creates. Record your waste bin size and how full they are on collection day and document what type of waste it is (municipal, industrial, agricultural and hazardous)
- Who is responsible for the waste?
- Set objectives and goals; these will depend on your business sector. Is the waste your produce recyclable or not? Can it potentially be sold on?
- Identify local waste management and collection services, which can help with a range of waste materials. They can go through your options based on what type of waste you generate and where your business is located.
- Continue to monitor and adjust your waste management plan if needed. https://www.wastewiseproductsinc.com/blog/workplace/9-steps-to-making-a-waste-management-plan-for-your-business/
How your business benefits
For any business, image is critical; negative press can wreak havoc for new customers. However, there is nothing wrong with good PR to attract new clients. Being an eco-friendly company can improve your reputation with clients and other businesses. Some businesses actively look for partnerships with companies who have the same environmental policies, so ensure that you’re sharing your eco-friendly efforts with the public and future partners.
Many employees, particularly millennials and generation z, are more conscious about the environment and prioritise recycling at home within today’s day and age. It can be disheartening coming to work and not having the facilities to recycle their rubbish. However, as minor, as it may seem, introducing environmentally-friendly policies in the workplace can boost employee morale and make your business more appealing to potential job seekers.
Businesses often make decisions that can affect their local community. Simple, mindful choices such as printing double-sided can have a bigger impact than you think. Recycling one tonne of paper can save the equivalent of 322 gallons of gasoline.https://www.kabbage.com/resource-center/manage/4-small-biz-waste-benefits/
The majority of businesses can benefit from an efficient waste management programme. A waste management company can perform a waste audit on your site to analyse your current practices onsite. It could be cheaper for your business to lease equipment rather than buy it, or there could even be a recycling option that you haven’t considered yet.
When you contact Sigma regarding your waste management, we will send our team of experts to your site to complete a full site audit for FREE. We will recommend and liaise with one of our vetted waste management partners, including the likes of Biffa, Veolia, and Viridor, to bring you the ideal service for your business and the best prices.
Whether you need a regular bin schedule, a full site clearance, skip hire, or an in need of a specialist waste collection expert, we can provide all with a fantastic service at a reduced cost.
Written by Clare Bennett
Social Media & Business Development