It is becoming common to see waste management practices difficult to grasping many organizations. In most cases, this boils down to a lack of strategic approach and not enough understanding of waste streams. The end result? They end up spending more than they should on waste management in general.
Having a strategic waste management plan can be the difference when you are dealing with waste materials such as plastic which cannot be disposed of easily. There are plastic pollution and human health concerns to address, as well as regulatory challenges, such as diversion goals, to address when it comes to waste management.
Plastic waste is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, and plastic waste management is the need of the hour. With the world producing more plastic than ever before, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to manage all of this waste. In this blog post, we will explore the issue of plastic waste management. We will look at how Waste Control helps organizations collect, recycle, and dispose of plastic waste in a way that is both environmentally friendly and bottom-line efficient. Read on!
Why is Plastic Waste Management Important in Organizations?
There are many reasons why plastic waste management is important in organizations. One reason is that it helps to protect the environment. When plastics are not properly managed, they can end up in landfills or be burned, which releases harmful toxins into the air. Proper plastic waste management can help reduce these emissions and help to protect the environment. Plastic being non-biodegradable means that it remains in place for years. There are also rising concerns regarding microplastics. Recently, microplastics have been found in seafood and water sources which is a huge risk to the ecosystems and poses a risk to human and animal health.
Currently, tons of plastic waste, including plastic packaging, plastic bags, and other plastic materials are being disposed of daily. There is a massive movement to reduce the amount of global plastic waste in the form of Municipal solid waste (MSW) as well as commercial plastic waste. In many jurisdictions, bans are in place for single-use plastic items, and recycling is mandatory.
Another reason why plastic waste management is important in organizations is that it can help to save money. Organizations that properly recycle and dispose of their plastic waste can save money on disposal costs. Recycling is not just a good thing to do; there is an increasing number of regulations that are forcing organizations to reduce the amount of plastic waste they generate. This is aimed at increasing the reuse of plastic and improving recycling systems. Additionally, recycling plastic can provide organizations with a source of revenue as they can sell the recycled materials to companies that use them to create new products.
Finally, proper plastic waste management is important in organizations because it helps to ensure the safety of employees and customers. When plastics are not properly managed, they can pose a safety hazard. For example, if sharp objects are mixed in with other recyclables, employees could be injured when sorting through the materials. Also, if toxic chemicals are present in plastics that are not disposed of properly, they could leach into the ground and contaminate water supplies, which could pose a health risk to all people and animals who depend on the water.
How can Organizations deal with Plastic Waste?
When it comes to plastic waste, there are a few things to consider. First, what type of plastic is it? Second, how will it be recycled or disposed of?
There are many different types of plastics, each with its unique benefits and drawbacks. The most common type of plastic is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used in water bottles, soda bottles, and food packaging. PET is recyclable, but only into new PET products – it cannot be downcycled into lower-quality products.
Other types of plastics and polymers include high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), and polystyrene (PS). HDPE and LDPE are both recyclable, but HDPE can be downcycled into lower-quality products while LDPE cannot.
Most plastics can be recycled, but the process is not always efficient or cost-effective. In some cases, it may be cheaper to simply dispose of the plastic waste in a landfill. However, this should be a last resort option as landfills are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and plastics are non-biodegradable.
Organizations can take steps to reduce their reliance on disposable plastics and increase their recycling efforts. One way to do this is by implementing an employee education program that promotes the use of reusable items like water bottles and coffee mugs.
There are many ways for organizations to collect, recycle, and dispose of plastic waste. At Waste Control, we work with many organizations in plastic waste management. Here are some of the top ways in which we tackle the plastic waste problem.
Reducing Plastic Waste
Reducing the amount of plastic debris and waste that needs to be dealt with is the best step in plastic waste management. While it seems simple enough on paper, it is not really so. This would mean a complete relook at your supply chain and an understanding of which processes and departments are producing the most plastic waste and of what kind. Once you have this information, the next step is to find ways to reduce the waste of plastic materials. If there are opportunities to replace plastic with some other materials, doing this will be a sensible approach, even if this means slightly increased cost.
Another thing to look at is how you can reuse some of the plastic materials that are currently being discarded. Can the used packaging be reused in some way? Things like this will help you reduce the plastic waste output ultimately. Reducing the use of plastics overall in your business is an aspect you have to seriously consider given the harm that plastic is causing to the environment.
Recycling Plastic Waste
Recycling plastic waste is the most efficient way to deal with it and prevent it from being disposed of in the natural environment. Collecting the various forms of plastic waste in one place is the first step.
Once the plastic waste has been collected, it needs to be sorted into different types. This is because different types of plastics such as HDPE and LDPE, need to be recycled using different methods. Once the plastics have been sorted, they can be sent for recycling.
There are several ways to recycle plastics. There are both chemical and mechanical recycling processes for plastic. One way is to shred the plastic and use it as filler in products such as toys or car dashboards. Another way is to melt the plastic down and use it to make new products such as fence posts or park benches. Finding a plastic recycling vendor who can take in your plastic waste output and recycle them into other products will be the best way to do it. You may however need to invest in some waste processing equipment like balers or compactors to compress the waste into bales before it can be transported to the recyclers.
Plastic Waste as a Waste Commodity
Plastic waste can also be sold to other factories within and outside the country. The emphasis on the circular economy means that there are many vendors out there who are relying on plastic waste as raw materials for their own plastic production. These vendors are critical links in the sustainability value chain and partnerships with these industries can help you sell your plastic waste at good prices and also reduce your overall plastic waste output. Waste Control has partnerships with both domestic and international waste end sites.
It may be necessary to clean and process your waste before shipping it to these vendors. You may also need to bale the plastic waste before shipping to reduce your transportation bills. This will help you save money while transporting tonnes of plastic waste off your facility.
Disposing Plastic Waste
While reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic waste is the most preferred way, it is often the case that not all plastic waste can be recycled or reused. This is when you can consider disposing of the waste.
Waste-to-energy: Another option for disposing of plastic waste is to send it to a waste-to-energy facility like an incineration plant where it will be burned and the energy used to power homes or businesses.
Landfills: While landfills are not the most ideal solution, they are often the only option for disposing of large quantities of plastic waste. In a landfill, the plastic will eventually degrade, but this process can take hundreds of years.
What are the Steps to Get Started on a Plastic Waste Management Program?
To establish an effective plastic waste management program and reduce the overall environmental impact your organization has, a solid waste management strategy is important. Here is how to go about this.
- Assess the organization’s current level of plastic waste generation and identify areas for improvement. This can be assessed using a complete waste audit focused especially on plastic waste.
- Set goals and targets for reducing or eliminating plastic waste.
- Develop a plan of action to achieve the goals, which may include investing in recycling infrastructure, redesigning products or packaging, or promoting employee engagement.
- Implement a plastic waste collection and sorting process which will ensure that all plastic waste you produce is being aggregated and sorted into different types and stored.
- Find vendors who can take care of your plastic waste for you. This could be recyclers who can help you improve your recycling rates or vendors who will buy waste commodities from you.
- Keep track of all the numbers. Document how much waste is being produced, recycled and disposed of. This will be necessary to understand how efficient your plastic waste management systems are.
- Regularly review the program and make necessary adjustments to ensure its continued effectiveness.
Plastic waste management is truly the need of the hour. Beyond just compliance, dealing with plastic waste is one of the pressing needs that we have to undertake globally and as a responsible organization, you share the responsibility for taking positive action.
Managing your plastic waste stream needs an overall plan and constant effort from everyone to ensure that the program remains efficient. Getting your employees and other stakeholders onboard is a critical part of the overall process.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle is the mantra to follow, and they will certainly help when you are dealing with plastic waste. More than this, also ensuring that you are using recycled plastic for your processes and reducing the production of plastic will also be going that one step forward in showing your commitment towards zero plastic waste.
Waste Control has helped hundreds of organizations manage their waste streams efficiently and cost-effectively. We work with you to create a strategic plan to manage your waste, consolidate your vendor and save you valuable dollars. Get in touch with us today to get started!