Are you looking for a way to save money, improve your service delivery, and create a healthier work environment for yourself and your employees?
Shockingly, the United States is a wasteful country, and reports from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proves it.
According to the report, the total annual municipal solid waste generation increased by 77% since 1980 to 292.4 million tons per year. This means that one person generates 4.9 pounds of waste per day.
The system used for the consumption and disposal of goods in the United States has brought about a serious waste of resources and pollution that now threatens human health and the environment. Hence, the need for a good waste management strategy.
Everyone has a part to play in managing waste. Reducing waste is essential for environmental conservation and managing the growing waste problem worldwide.
How can your business help to protect human health and the environment?
You can start by ensuring that your business consumes less and uses materials that can continuously be reused, recycled, and composted. It can include adopting cleaner production methods, using renewable energy sources, and employing pollution control technologies.
Investing in sustainable waste management makes considerable economic sense and, as Silpa Kaza, the World Bank Urban Development Specialist puts it, “Environmentally sound waste management touches so many critical aspects of development.”
Your business may be generating substantial waste without you even being aware of it. So, to help you become more aware of how your business impacts the environment, we’ve come up with different types of business waste that your business activities might be creating.
Before we delve deeper into the subject of waste management for businesses, here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect:
- Understanding the concept of business waste
- Why is business waste management so important?
- The 8 major types of business waste
- How can your business effectively manage waste?
Understanding the Concept of Business Waste
Every business, no matter how big or small, produces waste during the course of its business activities.
Business waste, also referred to as commercial waste, industrial waste, or trade waste can be described as any waste product that is created by business activities.
Examples of such waste include paper, cardboard, glass, packaging, drinking cups, wood, batteries, scrap metal, plastics, steel cans, office furniture, printer cartridges, fluorescent light tubes, plastic bottles, and even hazardous waste, such as solvents, paints, and asbestos.
Since every business generates some amount of unwanted rubbish, it is your legal responsibility to make the correct disposal of your business waste a priority.
Why is Business Waste Management So Important?
Are you paying way too much for your trash service and missing out on new opportunities to make your organization more green?
Most businesses generate all kinds of waste that must be disposed of properly. Spending too much time on administrative tasks tends to prevent you from getting rid of your business waste correctly.
As a property manager or director of operations, you need to understand the importance of minimizing your business waste to the barest minimum. You can utilize a professional property management service to help you.
Here are two major reasons why you should do this:
1. You are mandated by law to manage your waste
Several regulations involving business waste management are enforced to protect the environment and the health of people, plants, and animals. Every business owner is tasked with the responsibility to take care of all business waste, and failure to do so attracts sanctions.Local, regional, and national regulations typically govern the legal responsibility to make the correct disposal of business waste. The specific requirements can vary depending on the jurisdiction.
For example, in the UK, all registered businesses are required to take responsibility for disposing of their waste. Every small business must ensure that they store, remove, and dispose of business waste properly because they know that if they fail to do so, they will pay a huge fine as a sanction.
If a small business owner is found wanting to illegally disposing of waste, the magistrate will impose fines under the Environment Protection Act of 1999. A repeat offender could even get a prison sentence of up to 1 -5 years, depending on the court.
2. Your employees and customers will feel safer working with you
Correctly disposing of business waste is more important than ever before. Customers who transact with businesses these days look for those who are more environmentally friendly.
Businesses of all sizes are scrutinized by their increasingly environmentally mindful clients to implement sustainable, responsible environmental practices, and this includes waste.
Employers also owe their employees a duty of care when they are working. In some cases, improper storage, removal, and disposal of waste can have negative health effects on you and the people in your employ, which can reduce productivity.
3. You will make a huge difference in general
You can make a real difference in your business, depending on how you choose to handle your waste, which can impact your business culture, your employee morale, finances, and customers.
One good way to make a positive impact in all the mentioned areas is to implement a good business recycling method. Getting a good waste management company to help you manage your waste is the first step.
You can then introduce recycling, educate your employees, and make everyone accountable, as a team. The future of businesses is going green, and you cannot afford to miss out.
By implementing the correct measures, you can expect your business to grow and mature, one that you and your employees will be proud of, a business that is conscious and works towards achieving an environmentally-friendly environment.
Additionally, your finances will thank you because recycling your waste will save you money since you are not paying tax and disposal gate fees. With rising landfill taxes, these savings can add up.
The 8 Major Types of Business Waste
Different businesses produce different types of wastes, which are categorized in different ways. This could be construction waste from a building, papers discarded from offices, or plastic created by your business.
Which of the following types of business waste does your company produce?
1. General waste
This is a type of waste that cuts across every business irrespective of what they produce or do. This type of waste includes everyday rubbish produced by a business that cannot be recycled. Examples include lamination papers, polystyrene, contaminated packaging, napkins, food, wood, used tissue paper, etc.
Since such waste will end up in the general waste bin, it is advisable to separate waste for easy recycling.When disposing of general waste, always check your local regulations and guidelines for proper disposal. Some areas may have specific rules and recycling programs to help reduce waste’s environmental impact. The goal is to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.
2. Food waste
Food waste is produced from leftover food in most restaurants and other businesses. When discarded, it becomes business waste.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency reports, Americans have become the global leaders in waste with about 40 million tons of food discarded annually.
It is estimated that about 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted globally each year. This is one-third of all food produced for human consumption, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Unfortunately, business waste plays a significant role in this.
Speaking with Al Jazeera, the executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Inger Andersen, said, “We waste about one-third of the food produced for human consumption, at a cost of $990bn per year.”
This food is still fit for human consumption but is thrown away, often at supermarkets or by consumers either because the person is satisfied or the food has been in the store for long. One reason for food waste is bad consumption habits resulting from food surplus.
How can you play your part in reducing food waste?
Food waste can be reduced if consumers imbibe good consumption habits.
Businesses that are into food processing can also create food waste by food spillage, spoilage, discarding substandard edible materials, or removing edible food parts during inefficient processing.
Larger food waste, such as bones discarded from the remains of large animals falls under a different type of business waste and a special bin, known as an animal by-product bin, is needed for this type of waste.
Examples of food waste found commonly in businesses are banana skins, orange skins, bones, and leftovers scraped off of plates. Restaurants undoubtedly produce the most food waste, and if you have people who bring food to the office, expect some amount of food waste in the bin.
Offsetting business food waste involves taking proactive steps to reduce food waste at the source and then managing remaining waste in an environmentally responsible manner. Consider incorporating the following methods to reduce food waste in your business.
- Food waste reduction plan
- Donation and food rescue
- Food-to-animal programs
3. Dry mixed recycling
More than ever before, the subject of protecting the environment has become everybody’s responsibility. There’s a need to take deliberate action in making the planet safe.
With dry mixed recycling, you can help to keep the environment healthy. It comprises waste that can be recycled, making it acceptable since this type of waste is not contaminated.
Examples include different types of paper, plastic bottles, food cans, cardboard, etc. Incorporating dry mixed recycling (DMR) in your business is environmentally responsible and can save money on waste disposal costs. Here are a few ways to implement DMR in your business:
- Designate recycling areas
- Partner with a recycling company
- Reduce single-use items
- Print responsibly
Most businesses are likely to produce this kind of waste, but shops and restaurants usually produce it in large quantities.Therefore, having a detailed plan for DMR is essential to businesses.
4. Glass waste
Glass waste is produced by businesses where glass materials are commonly used. As of 2017, glass waste made up 4.2% of the total MSW composition in the United States.
Examples include glass bottles, glass plates, and broken drinking glasses. Industries, such as restaurants, hospitality services, and glass manufacturers are the most likely to produce this type of business waste.
Glass waste has the following effects on the environment:
- Slow decomposition
- Resource depletion
- Energy consumption
- Water pollution
Mitigate the environmental impacts of glass waste by promoting glass recycling, encouraging the use of recycled glass in new products, and supporting initiatives that reduce glass consumption or improve waste management practices.
5. Secure document shredding
Secure document shredding is paper document waste that has been shredded to preserve confidentiality and to avoid disclosure of certain information.
Examples are shredded client document information, personal employee information, and company financials. Many companies have shredded secure document waste. Companies that produced shredded paper waste may include law firms, accountancy firms, etc.
6. Hazardous waste
This waste may contain toxic substances generated from industrial companies or businesses. This wastes could be corrosive, flammable, explosive, or react when exposed to other materials. Some of this hazardous waste could be highly toxic to the environment, humans, animals, or plants.
Materials that are categorized as hazardous will either be toxic, poisonous/infectious, oxidizing, reactive, ignitable, or corrosive.
Other categories are antifreeze, diesel fuel, fuel oil, gasoline, kerosene, cleaning solvents, dry cleaning solutions, adhesive, oil, latex, lead paint, paint stripper, thinner, chemical fertilizer, fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, and pool chemicals.
Industries that typically produce hazardous waste include chemical manufacturers, paint manufacturing companies, paper manufacturing companies, and oil refineries.
7. Clinical waste
This waste is produced by healthcare services and other businesses that are into similar activities like hospitals, dentists, and tattooists. This type of waste may pose a risk of infection.
For example, swabs, bandages, needles, lancet, pipettes, scalpels, trocar, syringes, bodily fluids, excretions, drugs, etc. Discarded medicines from these types of business waste can be hazardous if not rendered safe. It is highly advisable to handle clinical waste with a high level of care because of the risk of infection.
8. Washroom waste
Pushing the flush button of a toilet produces sewage that is transported down the sewer pipe.
The sewer pipe is responsible for collecting and removing other waste including soapy water from baths and showers or water leftover from washing dishes and clothes. All these are called sewage and the pipe that carries this waste is called sewage pipe.
This type of waste is found in almost all businesses, except those without people using the restroom.
Washroom waste also includes paper towels, toilet rolls, sanitary products, and much more.
How Can Your Business Effectively Manage Waste?
Are you guilty of not being more eco-friendly while running your business?
Do you want to learn how to more effectively manage your business waste?
Based on the above information,you can choose to use the waste management hierarchy which involves any of the following:
- Prevention or source reduction
Alternatively, here are some tips for managing your business waste without breaking the bank:
- Conduct a waste audit to find out what type of waste you produce, the quantity of this waste, and how much of it you produce at a particular time.
You should note that this is not a one-time thing. As your business grows and changes, expect your waste to do the same. You are expected to carry out this audit from time to time when you notice these changes in your business.Waste audits help to track progress and make necessary adjustments.
- After the waste audit, you must share your findings with a business waste management company so that they can provide you with the appropriate bin and collection service.
Many people don’t give a second thought to the type of bin needed to discard the different types of waste produced by their business. Different waste requires a different bin. Make sure your employees are placing the correct waste in the correct bin
- Additionally, when storing your waste, make sure your waste collectors have easy access to it, and that it is out of the way of people.
- Finally, ensure that you are correctly filling out and signing your waste transfer notes and keeping a copy in a safe place.
So, What’s The Easiest Way to Right-Size Your Waste Bills and Save Money in the Process?
At Waste Control, our purpose is to help your organization understand your waste and recycling bills while saving money. With the right-sized waste bills and a more efficient process, you will no longer pay outrageous fees for your waste services.