Minimising Commercial Waste and the Environmental Impact Discussed by 1st Choice Waste Management
Minimising Commercial Waste has a huge impact on the environment and will help us to protect our world moving forward. As a business owner, you may not have thought a huge amount about your waste before, how you can minimise it and protect the environment, as well as be able to earn money back from the waste you produce.
What types of Commercial Waste could you produce as a business?
Your business and commercial waste can be anything from food, wood/timber, garden waste, plastic, paper, cardboard, paper, aluminium/steel cans, glass, packaging, electronic equipment, printer cartridges, office furniture, drink cups, fluorescent light tubes, batteries, scrap metal, bricks/tiles/concrete, hazardous waste such as asbestos, paints, solvents and much more.
Waste which is produced as a result of business activity is classed as controlled waste and you are legally responsible for disposing of it safely and correctly. If a business or, even a householder loses control of their waste or they haven’t taken reasonable care to prevent this from happening then a breach of a ‘Duty of Care’ is committed. You can view the Waste Duty of Care here.
A professional waste management company like 1st choice Waste can support you with your waste management and will dispose of it safely, legally and in an environmentally friendly way, as well as you being able to earn money back from your waste, reducing your waste costs.
A responsible and reputable waste management company will recycle as much of your waste as possible and a company like 1st Choice Waste Management has its own waste management site as well as a biomass boiler which converts all possible waste into renewable energy.
Biomass energy is a renewable energy source generated from natural or once-living material like; wood, timber, wood pellets, branches, roots, grass clippings, manure, crops, garden waste and much more. The materials are burned in a biomass boiler and the chemical energy created is released as heat, thus biomass. Biomass provides energy for homes, businesses and communities as well as creating steam which can drive wind and tide turbines.
What is the benefit of biomass in regards to the environment?
In simple terms, biomass converts unwanted waste into energy which can be fed straight into the main electricity grid as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases are reduced in two ways. The heat and electrical energy which is generated reduce the dependence on power plants and fossil fuel which is a non-renewable energy source. The greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced as it prevents highly toxic methane emissions which are generated from landfill sites. Landfill waste takes thousands of years to degrade and whilst this process is happening harmful and dangerous gases are emitted.
1st choice Waste Management will review the waste your business produces and support you to plan how you can firstly reduce your waste and then any waste that is left is recycled and disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.
As an example of this, preventing and reducing wood waste improves the efficiencies of wood use and the production of new wood products. Producing new products made from wood in a factory will have an environmental impact from the energy the machinery uses to produce the wood as well as the emissions a factory produces. It also reduces the number of forests and trees that are cut down. The impact of deforestation destroys the natural habitat of wildlife and some of these species are now instinct or endangered because of this. In addition to this, trees absorb and store carbon dioxide. When forests are cleared and trees cut down they then release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Forest loss and damage is the cause of approximately 10% of global warming. It is a fact that human-driven and natural loss of trees and deforestation affects wildlife, ecosystems, weather patterns, and the climate across the world.
A shocking fact is that approximately 2.3 million tonnes of solid wood products are disposed of in Australia’s landfill sites every year, which then produce and emit greenhouse gases resulting in more forests and trees needing to be cut down to replace these products.
A lot of construction materials need a high energy input in any of their manufacturing processes. Recycling them and using them for alternative uses means there is less need for products to be produced, resulting in less energy being used and toxic gases being produced.
It is estimated that in the UK food waste costs approximately £5 billion per year and the government are now reviewing if new legislation is needed to tackle this problem. You can find really useful hints and tips about food waste processes and how you can reduce food waste here.
There is also crucial information you should be aware of as a business from the government on the impact of waste on the environment here.
What can you do to improve your Commercial Waste management performance?
- Concentrate on significantly reducing waste and encouraging reuse wherever possible. This minimises the creation of single-use products including packaging as this can be a large opportunity in many businesses. Single-use items include cups, straws, carrier bags and much more. Remember, the more single-use plastics you refuse to have in your business, the less you will need to reduce and reuse
- When you have exhausted all of your waste reduction opportunities you can then focus on how you can recycle as much of your waste as possible and this will include ensuring you have a business recycling policy in place for everyone to follow
- The last step of reviewing your waste is to use the remaining waste to generate low carbon energy. The residue from energy recovery can be used as aggregates in road surfacing
How can you support sustainable waste management?
There are many ways of improving your waste management and a starting point is the hierarchy of the 4 R’s of waste:
You can reduce the waste produced by your business by no longer buying individually packaged items and single-use plastics.
- Give your teams branded mugs and glasses for their drinks or ask them to bring their own in rather than providing plastic or cardboard cups.
- If you have a coffee station or cafe give them money off their hot drinks when they bring their own mug or coffee cup and then as a final step no longer offer the option of takeaway cups as an option
- If your business uses plastic bags then change these to reusable eco-bags or bags for life
- Ask your suppliers what their environmental policies are and what they are doing to reduce and replace single-use packaging. Let them know you longer want anything delivered in single-use packaging
- Request that all of your invoices and contracts are delivered by email and that you will no longer accept paper copies
- If you have catering within your business or if you ever use outside caterers refuse the use of disposable plates, utensils, and cups
Part of reducing is buying less and being more aware as a consumer. Before anyone buys anything within your business ask them to ask themselves; do they really need it, is there another option, how often or how long will it be used for and if the product they are buying is recyclable.
- Invest or replace items (office furniture, uniform, chairs etc) that have been recycled or when no longer needed that can be recycled
- Reduce your overall budgets for anything procurement
- Ensure items within your business are serviced regularly so they last longer
- Ensure items within your business are cleaned regularly to ensure they last longer
- Reduce your businesses stationery and printing budgets
- Ensure all lights are switched off when they are not needed to reduce your electricity usage
- Ensure heating and hot water is only switched on when it is needed, again to reduce your fuel or electricity usage
Reuse everything you possibly can and ask your team for their ideas of everything you have or produce within your business.
- Ask your teams to reuse everything they possibly can and ask them to come up with ideas for reusing items within your business.
- Purchase rechargeable batteries for anything in business which uses them
- Provide a compost bin for used ground coffee and tea bags and use them as fertilizer in your business grounds or send them to a recycling site which will use them in compost
- Donate company uniform and mobile phones to a charity that will reuse them
- Turn any single-use plastics into eco-bricks
Recycling is the R in the 4 R’s and your last resort in your waste management process. Ensure your team’s sort and clean any recycling items and add them to the right bin. Professional waste management companies like 1st Choice Waste Management will act as a waste broker for you and you can earn money back for anything they can recycle.
- Provide recycling bins clearly marked around your business for your teams
- Offer incentives and awards for your team’s recycling
- General Ideas Around the 4 R’s
- Put posters up around your business around the importance of the 4 R’s
- Communicate your Waste Management targets with your teams
- Give your different teams individual waste management targets
- Communicate regularly with your teams and let them know how you are doing against your waste management targets, celebrate your successes
- Utilising the services of a professional and expert waste management company like 1st Choice Waste Management ensures you have waste experts who will support you to review your waste production and advise you on the best ways to reduce your waste and recycle.
Simple and Easy Ways to Reduce your Business Waste
- Talk to your teams about the impacts of waste on the environment and how they can support the reduction of waste within your business
- Ask them to think before they throw something away, ask them to ask themselves if there is someone else or another part of the business who could use it
- Ask your teams to think before they print:
- Do they need it printed?
- If they do, does the whole document need to be printed?
- Encourage them to use single-spaced documents, reduce font sizes and margin sizes wherever possible
- Can it be printed in black and white?
- Can it be printed double-sided?
- Do they need multiple copies or is one copy enough?
- Use any unwanted or used paper as scrap paper
- Dispose of any unwanted scrap paper in the paper recycling bin
- Cancel any unwanted subscriptions that generate unneeded paper and printing
- Ask all suppliers and consumers to provide invoices and contracts by email
- Set all default setting on photocopiers and printers for automatic two-sided copies and black and white
- Give teams a budget for printing and reward low use of budgets
- Have a stationery amnesty to encourage colleagues to clear out their secret stash of notepads, post its, pens, pencils and staples
- Reduce stationery, paper and notepad budgets
- Return consumables like toner cartridges for them to be recycled
- Re-use padded postal bags by using a new address label
- Shred used paper and newspapers and reuse for packaging
- Use cups, mugs and glasses and remove any disposable plastic and paper cups
- Recycle your company’s old mobile phones to a charity
What are the benefits of waste reduction within your business?
Legal Compliance – As a business, you are legally required to dispose of your waste responsibly and ethically and be able to document where your waste is going − be it recycling, composting, incineration or landfill. The waste legislation that will affect your business will depend on the type of waste you produce and the sector you work in.
Staff Engagement – You should document your waste management processes and procedures and use your waste stats as a key KPI for your business with lots of positive communication about the improvements your teams are making. This will make them feel engaged with your business and the waste it produces and you will naturally see a reduction with lots of buy-in from staff.
Saves Money – The less waste you produce the less it will cost you to have it removed as business rates do not include the cost of collecting and disposing of your waste. Waste that needs to go to landfill will cost you significantly more to remove compared to items that can be reused and recycled.
Reduce your Waste Management Costs – If you use a licensed waste broker like 1st Choice waste Management you will earn money back from the recyclable waste you produce and this will reduce the cost of your waste again.
Demonstrates you are an Environmentally Focused Business – You will demonstrate to consumers and businesses that you work with that you are a responsible business with an ethical waste management ethos. Many businesses and consumers will now only work with or buy from other businesses which have a sound and proven environmental policy and processes which include waste management. It enhances the reputation of your business and corporate image with customers, employees and external stakeholders, as well as often giving you a competitive advantage when pursuing business contracts.
Reduces Landfill & Greenhouse Gases – Managing your waste in a sustainable manner means a reduction in waste going to landfill.
Minimises Production of Raw Materials – Minimising the waste you are reducing reduces the number of raw materials used.
About 1st Choice Waste Management
We are a reputable, professional and reliable Waste Management & Recycling Business in the North East and we have been in operation for over 10 years. We are a fully licensed and certified waste management company and can cater for all of your waste needs, whether commercial, industrial or domestic.
Throughout our 10 years, we have continually developed our efficiencies in our waste processing, recycling and waste brokerage services and our services are unrivalled.
Our Commercial Waste Environmental Ethos
We take the environmental impact of commercial, industrial and domestic waste disposal very seriously and our company goal is to recycle as much of the waste we handle as possible. Our highly dedicated team ensures we dispose of our waste in the most environmentally friendly way possible.
We offer a highly efficient waste management and recycling service that ensures waste from all industrial and commercial sectors are able to manage all of their waste, including hazardous, difficult, and unique waste produce. Every business is different and waste disposal can be complex but our highly efficient team will work with you closely to understand your waste requirements. Our services include large or small quantities of waste and our waste service and site is unrivalled in the North East.
We are very proud to have our own biomass boiler to convert all possible natural waste into energy which then passes clean electricity straight back to the grid. Our biomass boiler is a highly beneficial solution as it reduces the waste that is generated and produces environmentally friendly renewable energy as well as preventing materials going to landfill.
For any Commercial, Industrial or Domestic Waste Service contact us today on 01642 478734 and one of our experts will be able to answer any questions you may have. We will be happy to explain our biomass waste and energy production in more detail to you if you require and we commit to working with you to help you reduce your business waste production. If you have domestic, commercial or industrial waste and you are looking for an environmentally friendly way to dispose of it then we can help.
Ben works for the marketing team at 1st Choice Waste Management, he has a passion for marketing and helping businesses to grow.