How to Improve Your Business Waste Management Plan

Waste management plans (WMPs) are crucial additions to your overall operational model. Every business creates waste of some form, so you need to determine the right way to deal with it. However, some types of waste or poor waste management can cause real issues for growing businesses, risking unsafe working conditions or non-compliance.

To mitigate these issues, you need a strong and adaptive WMP to help you get the most out of your waste management and help create a safer, more cost-effective business.

What Is a Waste Management Plan?

WMPs are put in place to reduce the amount of overall waste produce on a specific site. More often than not, this applies to retail or manufacturing companies, but it can also apply to construction companies as well.

This plan will be updated throughout the project or business process to make sure that it’s still effective at reducing, managing and eliminating waste. This is a crucial part of a successful WMP, as without analysing the effectiveness of the plan, it won’t get any better results.

While there’s no set legal requirement for a WMP, they do help companies remain compliant with environmental and waste regulations, as they offer a firm structure for the waste management process. For example, under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act, all businesses have a duty of care towards managing their waste properly.

The UK Government has a WMP template on their site that businesses can use to begin to develop a thorough waste management plan, if they haven’t already.

Common Inefficiencies of Waste Management

There are a number of common inefficiencies when it comes to waste management. They can all prove to be headaches for employees and business leaders and can even go on to affect the success of a business if not managed effectively. 

Storage

The first common issue is storage. Imagine your company produces a large amount of waste polythene or polystyrene. Where do you store it all between collections? Polythene is a particular issue, being hard to form into regular, consistently-sized waste volumes. There’s also a good chance of it blowing all over in a strong breeze. 

While polystyrene is light and easy to transport, it’s also irregularly sized. This means that if you’re hiring a skip to store it, it could be a truly inefficient use of that skip’s space. Because of that, you may need to hire that skip for longer or consider hiring another. 

Collection

The number of waste collections you need will depend on the amount of waste you’re producing. Seasons and demand change, with the potential for summer to be more productive than winter or vice versa. A WMP needs to reflect these changes to keep a business’ waste management cost-efficient.

With a fixed collection date, there’s the chance of your waste storage solutions (such as bins or skips) overflowing by the time it’s collected. In a lesser-productive season, you might have too many collections for the amount of waste you’re producing. Each of these circumstances represents an unnecessary expense.

Issues like these certainly represent a problem, a problem that an effective WMP can solve.

How Can You Improve Waste Management?

First of all, evaluate your current waste management process. It may not be a full plan at this point, but rather a series of steps you’ve had in place for a number of years. Without evaluation, there can be no progression. This is the same mindset you need when working within your WMP. View it as something that isn’t fixed, but is constantly changing to meet the demands of your business. When you find something doesn’t work, go back to the drawing board.

Make an effort to answer these questions:

  • How much is waste management costing?
  • Is my business fully compliant with waste regulations?
  • Do I have the right amount of waste collections for the amount of waste my business produces?
  • Is my waste storage process efficient or am I finding spillages often?

By providing answers to these, you can determine whether your current plan or process is the most effective it can be. At this point, you can also start implementing some of the following best practices for waste management.

Waste Management Best Practices

  • Determine the waste types you’re producing and have specific processes for managing each of them. For example, with polystyrene, have you considered compacting it to make it easier to store?
  • Make your waste storage areas clear and defined, with easy access for staff.
  • Non-recyclable waste containers need to be placed next to recyclable waste containers, to make sure no non-recyclable waste ends up in the wrong container.
  • Consistently audit your waste management, identifying any issues that might have occurred since your last check.
  • Implement staff training, so that everyone knows the proper procedures for dealing with waste.
  • Partner with an experienced waste management solutions provider. They’ll be able to help you audit your waste management process and develop a plan that’s right for you.

Using Machinery

Finally, consider adding specialist machinery to your WMP. Equipment such as balers and compactors can help mitigate the impact of poor waste management or difficult waste types to a great extent. Additions like these are crucial to a successful WMP.

For example, to return to our polystyrene issues, investing in a polystyrene compactor can help you reduce the physical volume of your polystyrene waste. This means that you can save money by reducing the number of skips you need and create a more efficient waste collection strategy (as you may find compacting polystyrene means fewer trips are needed to collect it all). It’s also a way of generating a new revenue stream.

Now, on top of a waste management plan, you might want to see what efficient waste management looks like in action, including what the implementation of machinery can offer. That’s why we’ve created a downloadable case study you can investigate to see just how the right waste management plan can help solve your waste needs.

Download Our Case Study

Below you’ll find a link to our ‘I Love Wallpaper’ case study. Inside, you can see how we helped North East-based wallpaper retailer I Love Wallpaper to deal with their cardboard and polythene waste. You’ll be able to see the background of their issue, their business need, how it was solved and the benefits they’re currently enjoying.

Just click the link below to see for yourself.

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