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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Fancy using less stuff in your workplace?

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logoEven in this digital age, the average UK office worker uses around 45 pieces of paper every day, which means in an office of 25 people, 261,000 pieces of paper are used in just one year (that’s a lot of paper). To encourage people to use less we have put together a few hints and tips for using less stuff in the workplace…

Think Before You Print

Think twice if you really need to print – and if you do need to print, think about printing on both sides. This is an easy way to reduce paper usage by half.

Work As a Team

Put a new system in place that encourages recycling in the workplace – even something as simple as putting in a few recycling bins or creating a system that allows staff to measure how many print copies they are personally responsible for each month will get everyone working together on reducing their personal footprint.

Switch it Off

Have a ‘switch it off’ checklist that needs to be completed before the last person leaves at the end of the day. Apparently, £227 million worth of energy is wasted on appliances that are left on standby every year. Not only will this help to save money, it will also reduce your risk of a fire and help the environment too – it’s a triple win!

Think Small

Big change comes from small actions – it all adds up! You could do your part with anything – use a tupperware dish instead of tin foil for your packed lunch, think twice about printing, turn off your charger when it’s not needed: If we all did these little actions, it would make a big difference.

If you would like any help on waste management in your workplace, why not give The Organised Cleaning Company a call on 020 7458 4433 and they’d be happy to help!

Do you encourage recycling in your office?

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cropped-occ-logo-white-background2.jpgHigh quality office cleaning is crucial to guarantee productivity & good working environments for your staff – it lets your employees get on with what they’re great at. However mixing high quality of cleaning with good standards of recycling can sometimes be hard to accomplish within an office environment.

In order to develop and encourage recycling in your office, we thought we’d provide you with a handy guide, which can save money, help you become a ‘greener’ company and protect the environment in the long term.

The why: Protects the environment & builds reputation

By recycling paper and cardboard to other office waste your company can help to protect the environment and reduce dependency on fossil fuels. Recycling has many other positive factors; from reducing waste to landfill, categorising your waste, and making it easier for your cleaning team to sort.

It also builds your business reputation, as you are seen as a company that cares about the wider environment, and gives your office environment a boost in appearance.

The How: Remove under desk bins

Under desks bins can have a negative impact on recycling, as employees can become lazy and throw everything and anything in their own bins.

One way you can change this bad habit is to remove all under desks bins, and have several bigger bins in the middle of the office. Categorise these bins for recycling and general waste. This forces (and of course inspires) your employees to get up from their desks, and categorise their own waste into the correct bins.

If some of your employees don’t particularly like this, make sure you point out the positives. Sitting down for too long can be bad for health, which this recycling scheme actively discourages. As a result you will be recycling and improving your health at the same time!

Encourage senior management

To persuade your employees to recycle, encourage your senior management to recycle themselves. If employees see the senior staff going out of their way to recycle, this will spur other employees to recycle too.

Others have to set good examples for others to follow, and if you can be consistent with this, it can become a main ethos within your company. Embedding recycling into your company’s culture is the first step to recycling success.

The How: Communicate to your employees about your new scheme

To make recycling a key policy of your company, your staff and cleaners need to know about it! You may place recycling points in your office, encourage senior management to recycle themselves, but if you don’t actively communicate to your employees about your new recycling scheme, they may simply ignore it.

To avoid this, send an email newsletter to your employees, place a notice on the noticeboard or even send a letter. This can make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to recycling goals.

Encouraging recycling in the office requires persistence in getting the message across to staff, as well as making sure that the waste disposal requirements in the office are properly set up to enable recycling to take place. Your cleaning service provider or a waste management company should be able to help you in this regard.

 

Waste Awareness Part 3 – Waste Management

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 I’ve already helped define what waste is in Part 1 (What is Waste) and Part 2 of the series covered avoiding the production of waste (Waste Minimisation) as part of this series. In the third of my four-part series on waste awareness, I’m going to set out information on the disposal of waste, which is the very last option in the waste hierarchy.

Waste Strategy 

As landfill is a major source of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas contributing to global warming), the EU Landfill Directive has set ambitious targets for the reduction of biodegradable municipal waste (See Part 1 – What is Waste) sent to landfill:

  1. Reducing municipal waste to landfill down to 35% of the 1995 tonnage by 2020;
  2. banning co-disposal of hazardous waste & non-hazardous waste, and requiring separate landfills for hazardous, non-hazardous and inert waste;
  3. banning landfill of tyres and certain other wastes;
  4. banning landfill of liquid wastes, infectious clinical waste and certain types of hazardous waste together;
  5. increasing standards of landfill.

Meeting these target is a major challenge and the Government has introduced its Waste Strategy for England (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have separate strategies) which concentrates on the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste.   The Government has placed a number of restrictions on the disposal of waste including financial tools such as Landfill Tax, to disincentivise landfilling and make other ways of dealing with waste more financially attractive.

Waste Disposal Routes

There are a number of routes to disposing of waste and all parties, including the waste producer, have a legal responsibility to receive or dispatch waste in a way that satisfies their duty of care (more on this in Part 4!). The responsibilities of each person in the waste chain is set out below.

Waste Producer – The waste producer decides on which route is chosen to dispose of waste. The most important point for the producer is to know its waste so that important financial, legal or environmental decisions on how to handle the waste can be made. The type of waste and description of waste will dictate how it’s handled & stored to meet safety and environmental obligations.

Segregation of waste may be necessary as different waste has different disposal routes. For segregation to be effective it should be done as close as possible to the point of waste production. Good waste management practice should also ensure that people are accountable for the cost, nature and description of waste .Having made a decision about the segregation of waste, the next step is to decide on the best disposal route by:

  • Appointing a registered waste carrier;
  • Contracting with a registered waste broker; or
  • Delivering waste to a suitably licensed waste facility direct.

Waste Broker – Brokers usually deal with complex hazardous waste or where the producer has a number of sites spread over a wide geographical area. Brokers will contract with other waste specialists to provide a complete waste service of waste collection and disposal. All brokers must be registered with the Environment Agency and clients must check that the broker is indeed properly registered.

Waste Carrier – Waste carriers are specialised contractors with purpose-built vehicles or containers for carrying waste. Whoever is appointed as the waste carrier must be given an adequate description of the waste it will be transporting so that this can be carried safely and transferred onto the next person in the chain.

The waste carrier can only be responsible for the waste described to him by the producer and should check the waste ‘so far as reasonably practicable’ to ensure that it is the waste as described. Therefore, if the waste is wrongly described to the carrier, the producer may be responsible for it, not the carrier. The waste carrier has to keep appropriate documentation about the wast it carries and also needs to be registered with the Environment Agency.

Waste Management Facilities – There are a variety of waste disposal facilities throughout the UK. Because of their specialised knowledge & position in the waste disposal chain, they’re in the best position to identify where something has gone wrong further up the chain (e.g. wrong description, wrong waste) and it’s not uncommon for a waste disposer to reject waste where it has been incorrectly described. Waste disposers have a responsibility, once they’ve accepted waste, to process it only in the manner that is allowed in their licence or permit and to ensure best environmental practice:

  • Transfer Stations – They bulk up waste to make subsequent transport more efficient, and also sort and separate materials for recycling (sometimes known as Material Recovery Facilities or MRFs). The bulked residues will then go to landfill, recovery or treatment, in larger containers or vehicles.
  • Thermal Treatment Facilities – These facilities subject wastes to some form  of heat treatment, converting the waste into another form and recovering energy from the material. Two types of waste normally incinerated are either combustible household, industrial and commercial waste or hazardous waste. Thermal Treatment Facilities have to meet stringent standards for all emissions and require complex equipment to clean the discharges to the environment.
  • Treatment Facilities – These operations process the physical or chemical treatment of waste to change its nature so that it’s a useful secondary material or more suitable for landfill. Examples include composting, oil and solvent recovery, refuse derived fuel and solidification.

Landfill – Landfill is the process of placing waste below or above ground to get rid of it and at the same time either restoring land to its previous level or providing an attractively mounded landscape. The Landfill Directive has restricted what waste can go to landfill. Biodegradable and hazardous wastes cannot go to landfill without some sort of pre-processing in a treatment facility.

Waste Audit

An essential feature of good waste management practice is waste auditing so that detailed knowledge is gained of the wastes being produced by a business. A waste audit will identify a) types of waste b) quantities of waste and c) points of waste production. Waste audits should be carried out in a systematic way and legal obligations should be considered at each stage.

Carrying out a waste audit should be a combination of both waste data collection and a review of processes. From this information it’s possible to see which activities in a department produce waste and what types of waste, and consideration can also be given to how raw materials, processes or waste handling methods can be changed to reduce or prevent waste.

In the last of this four part series on waste awareness, I’ll be covering safety, environmental and legal aspects of waste. Hopefully, at the end of the series I will have provided you with some useful insight on the importance of managing the waste that your business (or home) produces, the options available to you before having to dispose of waste and how the effective management of waste can have a significant impact on your business’ bottom line.