Alongside a societal move to reduce wastage, the UK government has also introduced a 25-Year Environment Plan. This applies pressure from legislation to run an efficient waste management process which is only growing.
However, effective waste management isn’t just beneficial to the environment. When these strategies are employed company-wide, it can lead to a reduction in overall operational costs.
We’re laying out all you need to know about waste management strategies and what to consider before implementing one in your organisation.
- What is Sustainable Waste Management?
- Why is Sustainable Waste Management Important?
- How to Approach Implementing a Waste Management Strategy
What is Sustainable Waste Management?
Sustainable waste management aims to protect our natural resources through a variety of practices. It affects how items are treated at the end of their lifecycle and how they are produced. According to WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), 80% of environmental damage due to waste could be avoided by changing the way products are produced.
As well as the government’s environmental objectives, sustainable waste management matters to your customers. Consumers are more concerned about their waste output than ever before, which is why many will pay more for products from environmentally friendly brands. This affects your company’s competitiveness and can be an important determining factor in whether you are awarded contracts.
Why is Sustainable Waste Management Important?
The government’s 25 Year Environmental Plan has a strategic framework to achieve the following:
- Eliminate avoidable plastic waste
- Double resource productivity by 2050
- End all avoidable waste by 2050
- End food waste being sent to landfill by 2030
- Shift to reusable, recyclable, compostable plastic packaging by 2025
So, by establishing sustainable waste management systems now, your business will be prepared for the future of waste management. With plans in place now, you’ll be working towards future regulatory compliance, especially considering the avoidable waste costs will become expensive for businesses of all sizes.
How to Approach Implementing a Waste Management Strategy
It’s best to start with the waste management hierarchy. This hierarchy is a framework that offers an effective guideline for making your business more sustainable. It’ll help you identify the type of waste your organisation generates, how it is generated and if there are any alternatives for disposal. It also covers ways to repurpose or reuse waste and what can be recycled.
The waste hierarchy can be broken down into the following sections and practices:
- Using less material in design and manufacture
- Keeping products for longer
- Using less hazardous materials
- Avoiding single-use items
- Aiming to make your business paperless
- Checking, cleaning, repairing, refurbishing whole items or spare parts
- Asking yourself, could your waste find a new application or use elsewhere?
- Avoiding single-use products and opt for refillable, re-usable items wherever possible
- Re-purposing wherever possible
- Turning waste into a new substance or product
- Paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, aluminium tins, and aluminium foil are some of the more common recycled materials
- Trying to use recycled products in the first place
- Being aware of the types of plastics you use because some plastics are harder to recycle than others
- Includes anaerobic digestion, incineration with energy recovery, gasification and pyrolysis which produce energy (fuels, heat and power) and materials from waste, as well as some backfilling
- Where there is no other option, send waste products to landfill
If you’re ready to take the first step to reduce your impact on the environment, we have a guide to make implementing your waste management strategy easy.
Experience the Benefits of a Waste Management Strategy
Waste management strategies are a crucial part of a business’ everyday working methodology. Not only does it benefit the environment, but it also saves money and improves brand image. Now’s the time to re-evaluate your strategy and ensure it’s properly suited to your business’ needs.