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8 Waste Management Business Tips for Best Environmental Practices

When you throw trash away, it does not mean it has been forgotten. What you throw away can cost you a lot of money.

If your waste includes hazardous products that breach hazardous waste regulations. Then you could be in for a fine of about $40,000. In California, the maximum daily fine went up to $70,000.

Many businesses are having to completely rethink their waste management. An example is the high profile case of Big Lots Inc. They had to pay a fine of $3.5 million for waste violations. 

Following the fines, the Big Lots revised their policies and procedures and also decided to employ a waste management business. The lesson is clear. Do not waste money buy not managing waste in the correct way.

In this article, you will read eight tips to help you manage waste and save you money.

1. Know Your 3 ‘R’s

Before you can start to manage your waste, you need to know the main principles of waste management. 

Reduce

It stands to reason that everyone’s goal should be to reduce waste. However, to have a clear picture of how much waste you need to reduce, you first need to know how much waste you are producing.

Once you have a reasonable idea of your waste output, you can then implement strategies to reduce that output and assess the effectiveness of those strategies. 

Reuse

This is of course connected to waste reduction. If you can reuse some products, then you are already reducing your waste footprint. Depending on the product it may be possible to reuse some products several times before their usefulness expires

Even if you use a product twice compared to only once, you are reducing waste from this product by 50%. 

Recycle

This is one of the cornerstones of good waste management that is best practice for the environment. To make the most of recycling you need to know what types of waste can be recycled

Those waste types need collecting and separating. The other aspect of recycling is to be well informed about new products made from recyclable materials.

2. Know Your Waste Types

If you are thinking about getting started as a waste management business, then you will need to know what forms of waste are commonly produced and where you can find it. 

If you are a normal business, it is also advantageous to know what your waste streams are. You will need to adapt your waste management strategies based on the waste type your business produces.

Medical waste is from the healthcare industry and may include many hazardous substances that will require specialized handling and management. 

Food waste will, of course, come from many business types but restaurants and grocery stores and even small supermarkets will need a good food waste management policy. 

Paper waste is likely one of the biggest waste streams in white-collar industries. Thankfully it is recyclable. 

Green waste will come from the gardening industry such as grass cuttings, leaves, and branches from tree surgery, etc. This area of waste has its own requirements.

Construction waste is almost self-explanatory. The important thing here is to know what your main waste streams are. Once you pinpoint what is the biggest source of waste in your business you can begin to implement the 3 ‘R’s.

3. Measure Your Waste

You must have some method for measuring your waste. If you do not measure your waste, you will not know if your waste management strategies are effective or not. There are many ways you measure your waste. 

Visual Inspection

The practicality of this depends on your business size and the industry you work in. If you are an office based business or in manufacturing, you may be able to simply inspect the number of waste containers collected at the end of the day or week.

Once you know the volume of the waste containers, you can estimate total waste output by multiplying the container’s volume by the number of containers full of waste. This is at least a start.

Weigh Your Waste

This is more effective and accurate than a visual inspection. Paper waste can be shredded and bagged and then weighed. Cardboard can be bundled and weighed.

Other sources of waste like cans can be compacted using a machine and weighed. Glass can also be crushed using a special machine and then bagged and weighed. 

4. Avoid Landfill Wherever Possible

A landfill is the least effective waste management strategy. Waste is buried in the ground with the belief it will eventually breakdown.

In the meantime, there are negative effects on the local eco-system and at the very least render that designated area as useless to nature. Far better to separate your waste types and use recycling as better means for disposing of your waste.

5. Know Your Waste Collectors

The waste management industry is very varied. Some businesses focus on using a sewer cleaning truck to maintain sewerage lines while others will come and collect toxic waste.

Some collectors will take waste, sort it, classify it and send for recycling, while other businesses will just go straight to landfill sites.

If you want your business to follow best practice in waste management to protect the environment, you need to know who your waste collectors are and where they are taking your waste.

An alternative is to directly employ a waste management business and set up a contract. This may even be associated with cleaning services depending on your waste type and industry.

6. Buy a Waste Compactor

This is a basic tool that can make a big difference in the volume of waste you produce. They are a more hygienic method for managing your waste.

Your business will only have a limited space to store waste until it is collected. If that area is too small, then you can run into other health and safety problems.

Further, a compactor will prevent bugs and insects and other unwanted invaders getting into your rubbish. This aligns with your pest control management.

7. Use Good Signage

If you are working hard to improve your recycling, you will need very clear and visible signage for your staff. The best place to separate waste types for recycling is at the source.

That means having signs that clearly indicate to your staff where types of waste should be disposed of. 

8. Educate and Train

It is commendable you are reading this article and are motivated to protect the environment and your business by using sound waste management strategies.

Just because you are motivated to protect the business and the environment, it does not guarantee your employees feel the same way. Make sure you educate them through the normal continuing education channels.

At the end of the day, what they do will have a huge impact on your waste footprint.

Waste Management Business – Not a Waste

To follow these eight tips and tackle the challenge of waste management is not going to be easy or straightforward. Transformational change is sometimes required, but it is worth the effort.

You will protect the environment and your business. You may need a waste management business to work with you in defining your policies more clearly. If you are looking for other businesses to work with you on some aspect of your business, check out the business directory here.