Making Waste Savings
All businesses, regardless of size or sector, will generate, store, handle and dispose of waste materials. The cost of waste in UK companies is typically 4% of annual turnover, and in many companies it is as high as 10%.
Businesses are also faced with annual rises in landfill tax and a growing number of legal obligations in relation to waste management.
By monitoring the amount and types of waste your business is producing, and finding ways to prevent or minimise waste production in the first place and then manage any left-over waste, you can reduce your costs significantly.
The main costs associated with workplace waste are waste disposal and management costs, but hidden costs are also incurred from waste generation. This can happen when:
~ Raw materials are discarded and written off as waste.
~ Materials are made into useful products but end up being thrown away.
~ Materials have to be re-worked a second time due to inefficient production processes, so that production time is lost.
~ Opportunities to convert waste into useful finished products are ignored.
~ Hazardous waste has to be treated before being disposed of.
~ Spillages and leaks have to be cleaned up.
~ Waste materials need to be sorted and stored for collection.
~ Staff time is spent on waste management work.
The most effective way to reduce waste costs is to minimise the amount of waste going to landfill, by following the Waste Hierarchy approach below. The higher up the hierarchy you are, the greater the impact your actions will have.
- Identify key sources of waste so that you can find ways of tackling it at source.
- Review procurement so that you only order what you need.
- Consider whether all the packaging and materials you use are necessary.
- Identify leaks or spillages and make changes to avoid them in future.
- Collect used paper and use the blank sides for printing.
- Re-fill used toner and ink cartridges for re-use.
- Re-use scrap materials for repairs or odd jobs on site.
- Find new uses for returnable packaging or re-usable components.
- Contact a waste brokerage service to see if your waste could be used in production by another company.
- Segregate different types of waste into separate containers so it can be collected for recycling.
- Find out if your waste could be used locally as a fuel for renewable energy generation.
- Install a biomass and Combined Heat and Power boiler on site, to generate energy from waste.