Implementing a waste management strategy for your business
Industry waste has always been a challenge for businesses, as firms strive to ensure that their waste is disposed of in the most ethical and cost-efficient way.
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According to the CIPs, waste disposal for a business could cost as high as 4-6% of their entire turnover — which could in fact escalate up to 10% of their overall gross profits.
If companies do not find themselves making the appropriate changes to tackle their ongoing waste problem, the heightened cost will become a concern. With rising landfill taxes, as well as recycling and sustainability becoming a main concern within ethical business principles, creating a reliable waste management solution is more important than ever for any forward-thinking business that is looking to make a change.
A business’ duty of care
Companies across the UK have a duty of care outlined in countless pieces of legislation noting that they have a responsibility to dispose of any waste in the correct manner. The requirements that you should meet are broadly as follows:
- Adopt the Waste Hierarchy principles in order to keep waste to a minimum by preventing, reusing, recycling, and recovering waste where possible.
- Store or sort waste securely in a safe environment.
- Complete a waste transfer note for each load of waste that leaves the premises.
- Check to establish whether your waste carrier is registered. This can be done by visiting the official Environment Agency website.
- Do not let your waste carrier dispose of waste illegally. As a producer of waste, the legal responsibility for safe and correct disposal falls on you, and not the waste carrier. You have a responsibility to ensure safe disposal through an auditable document trail.
Securing waste correctly
Businesses should use the following as a guide to store waste safely:
- Use suitable and EU-approved containers to prevent leakage.
- Label containers in a way which clearly stipulates what type of waste they contain.
- Use waterproof covers — where appropriate — so that no contaminated run-offs are created.
- Use lockable containers to safeguard your waste.
Removing the waste efficiently
For any non-hazardous waste that your business wants removed from your operation site, you require a waste transfer note. However, documents that hold the same information, such as an invoice, can be used.
To fill in a waste transfer note, you must sign up with the appropriate services — if you are disposing multiple times, create a season ticket that can be used in the future.
Your organisation and the company you use to dispose the waste must:
- Fill in the sections of the note that applies to them.
- Sign it.
- Keep a copy for two years.
- Be able to present it to an enforcement officer from the local council or the Environment Agency, if requested.
Lowering the cost of waste removal
Every business that produces waste will have an aim to lower the cost of disposal. However, this can be a leap in the dark if business owners are uncertain of how to do this effectively.
Segregation is one option that businesses can take, as this allows business owners to monitor their waste usage closely and make appropriate decisions — whether this is analysing volume or materials thrown out. From this you can set your strategy, highlighting your own targets and goals to ensure the best results possible when it comes to disposal.
Something that all businesses should look at is TEEP; technically, environmentally and economically practicable. This determines whether a business should segregate and store various types of produced waste within the business premises prior to its collection by a waste management contractor you have teamed up with.
The Waste Framework implemented by the European Union is something that the UK will likely adopt after Brexit. This legislation looks at commercial and municipal waste and how businesses have a responsibility. They can use a third party to achieve this, but businesses will continue to remain responsible.
Measuring the waste
As technology is constantly growing, waste management companies have taken advantage of this and created online automated systems that allow businesses to look at their own waste volume and spend. Through waste management portals, each business can have tailored permissions that help provide them with an overview of waste statistics and management information.
Visually assessing the amount of waste you produce is essential before going ahead with a waste management provider. This will allow you to see how much waste you produce within a certain amount of time — giving you the opportunity to test the waters first.
To ensure a save in spending, businesses should look to reducing the amount of waste collections they have in place and reduce them to see how you can cope — this would encourage your business to try and reduce the amount of waste you produce. They will have to deal with the limited bin space they have for waste ensuring that every decision is important.
These types of assessments are vital when it comes to waste, especially with the rise in landfill tax.
Landfill tax is set to increase further to £88.95 from the 1st of April 2018. With the cost of landfill waste rising year or year, it’s clear that businesses need to ensure that their waste solution system is driven towards recyclable methods to keep the costs of landfill waste to a minimum.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.