Secrets to waste reduction in the office!

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When it comes to waste reduction, the challenge must be overcome both at home or in the office. In an office setting, waste usually comes in the form of paper. There are some useful hacks when it comes to effective waste management, which not everyone is aware of. So, in the spirit of starting 2017 with one eye on sustainability, here are some awesome secrets to help with your waste reduction and waste management in the office:

  • Engage Employees, Clients and Communities – Probably the hardest tip to follow through on but if you want to be successful with your waste reduction strategy, you’ll need to cast the vision and ensure the buy in of your team. You might need to carry out training on waste management, take suggestions from your employees, clients and the community at large and then involve them in creating incentives for waste reduction. Your social media page and signage at the office should share information on your efforts and where possible, have a take-back program and implement recycling. You should also consider providing water bottles and mugs that are reusable.
  • Recycling with Other Businesses – A really effective approach to waste reduction is by sharing equipment with other businesses close to you. If you have recyclables, you can sell them off as one. It may be possible to work together to host a recycling event for e-waste (discarded electronic appliances) as well!
  • Commercial Interchange Participation – Did you know that you’re able to exchange materials that you don’t want or may have in excess, for other things that you do need. You will find a wide variety of materials here, some that may be at no cost, while others will be available for a small fee. Either way, you will be recycling some of the things you no longer use including old computers and other electronics.
  • Donations – If you have old office supplies and old furniture, you should consider donating them. Non-profit organisations would benefit as well as cooperatives that would make use of craft supplies, binders, stationary, electronics and more.
  • Reduce the Use of Paper – One of the best efforts at waste reduction is to use the “print on both sides” feature on your computer. Ensure that this is the default setting. Additionally, try to fit more words per page by changing the margins to 0.75 instead of 1.25.
  • Audit your Waste – The motto for productive waste management is reduce, reuse and recycle. Start the waste reduction process by making sure you know just what it is that gets thrown away so that you can have an idea where you need to cut back on.
  • Minimise Lunch Waste – Ask staff to consider eating in by bringing their own packed lunch (in a re-usable lunchbox) vs. ordering out or picking lunch up and eating at their desks.
  • Email Newsletters – Instead of circulating paper newsletters, create a regular mail shoot and send out email newsletters. You’ll be saving trees and reducing advertising spend at the same time! You will definitely be contributing to waste reduction and the environment will thank you for it.

Sustainable business operations are becoming more common place and everybody needs to play their part  in saving the environment. You can start with effective waste reduction and waste management and by getting the message across to your employees you can amplify the impact. As staff learn they will form good habits and spread the information on recycling, waste reduction and waste management to their friends, family members and more!

If you have any questions about effective waste reduction and waste management for your office, call The Organised Cleaning Company on 020 74584433 and talk to one of our team today!

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Waste Awareness Part 1 – What is Waste?

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As a business owner or operator, can you honestly answer this question?

If no, don’t fret! Over the few weeks I’ll be posting a four part series on waste awareness. This all stemmed from our director Matt Harris attending a waste awareness course last week. He brought back some interesting notes and a couple of booklets waste, so I thought I’d enlighten those of you who know as little about waste as I did.

1. Introduction

The management of waste is often seen as an unimportant task which doesn’t require any knowledge about health and safety, protection of the environment or statutory obligation. However, failure to deal with waste effectively can have serious consequences for a business, whilst dealing with it effectively & in a sustainable manner can provide real and tangible benefits.

Businesses can make significant cost savings by reducing their waste (which on average accounts for 4-5% of a company’s operating costs). They can also contribute towards improving their local and national environment, which in turn helps to improve a company’s reputation with its stakeholders.

Research conducted by the Environment Agency points to  SME’s having a lack of knowledge of both environmental legislation and their responsibilities when it comes to waste. As the SME sector is responsible for more than half of the commercial waste produced in the UK, this is a serious cause for concern.

England & Wales produces approximately 430 million tonnes of waste a year (250 million tonnes of waste from household, commerce & industry, 90 million tonnes from agriculture and 95 million tonnes from mining & quarrying). As you can see, this is not an inconsiderable amount of waste that needs to be disposed of.

The cost of dealing with waste is generally underestimated, however, to work out the true cost of waste, you need to consider the following:

  • Raw material wastage;
  • Waste collection and transport;
  • Quality losses (i.e. rejects);
  • Energy, water and other material losses;
  • Handling and storage of waste;
  • Effluent/air emissions abatement plan;
  • Protective equipment and workplace monitoring;
  • Spillages, leaks and contamination;
  • Licensing; and
  • Liability insurance.

By SME’s looking at waste as a resource rather than a problem, they are able to significantly reduce the impact and cost of waste.

2. What is waste?

There are two ways of defining waste:

  1. The process analysis definition – “Anything which doesn’t make it to the final product is waste”; and
  2. The legal definition – Waste is ‘any substance or object…whicht he holder discards or intends or is required to discard’.

With the legal definition, it is important to understand what waste is because once it’s legally defined as waste, it requires the producer to take care of it and keep records and documents differently than if it is not waste.

The different types of waste that can be produced are legally defined by the process or premises from which they’re produced:

  • Household waste arises from dwellings of various types;
  • Municipal waste is collected by or on behalf of the local council and includes household waste, market waste, street sweepings & some commercial waste;
  • Commercial waste comes from premises wholly or mainly used by trade, business, sport, recreation or entertainment; and
  • Industrial waste comes from any factory or industrial process.

Controlled WasteAll of the above classifications are called controlled waste, i.e. the storage, handling, transportation and disposal is controlled by legislation and must meat certain legal requirements. Controlled waste must be handled by competent people regulated by the relevant regulatory agency.

Some controlled wastes have additional classifications and are subject to further regulation because of their nature and the need to handle them differently:

  • Hazardous waste need particular handling and additional controls from the point of waste production to final disposal. Business premises producing hazardous waste may have to register with the Environment Agency; and
  • Clinical waste comes from hospitals, nursing homes, dentists, surgeries and the like but can also include some waste from dwellings. Waste that carries infection shouldn’t be put into normal household waste but needs to be handled differently, and not all clinical waste can be disposed of immediately.

As you can see, there’s more to waste than initially meets the eye, and we’ve only really established what waste really is and its different classifications! For further information on waste & waste management, go to the Chartered Institute of Waste Management’s website.

Just so you know, Matt has gained certification from the Chartered Institute of Waste Management thanks to attending the course last week. As a result, The Organised Cleaning Company can not only provide an organised cleaning service, but we can also carry out waste audit at your premises and help with your waste management requirements. For further details, contact The Organised Cleaning Company on 020 7458 4433.