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Monday 28 February 2005
Effective waste management is a good way to improve environmental performance whilst saving money. Recent independent investigations have proven that many companies are not fully aware of the ecological or financial costs of waste, and that some are paying as much as five times more than necessary.
Therefore waste minimisation is a win-win situation, increasing company profit and benefiting the environment.
Through a combination of legislation and advancing technology, waste management in business is coming under control. The Environment Agency register and monitor businesses who carry or produce significant amounts of waste, to ensure procedures remain as green as possible.
Reducing waste is a step towards a healthier planet, and more competitive industry.
Waste Watch UK Business Information
Monday 07 March 2005
The following information is kindly provided by Waste Watch UK.
Waste at Work
Currently, 66% of commercial waste goes to landfill and 4% is incinerated. Disposing of potentially useful materials as waste means resources are lost forever, producing demand on non-renewable, raw materials. Safe disposal methods and implications on public health also have to be considered. Additionally, there is a growing shortage of landfill space and stricter European emission rules led to incinerators closing down. Retailers in particular have already felt the effects of consumer pressure in the wake of public concern about environmental issues. As more local authorities facilitate domestic waste reduction, recycling becomes a normal part of home life.
Careless Waste …costs money!
Businesses should start looking at excessive processes and - on top of the environmental implications - save money through the use of fewer materials. A good way to start and identify wasteful areas is to conduct an environmental audit, considering every aspect of the organisation and the implications for waste and the environment. Organisations like Waste Watch and Waste Alert will help businesses to achieve major waste reductions and savings for their offices.
Buying recycled in the office - The Recycled Products Guide
Many businesses in the UK are showing their commitment to the environment by adopting policies to purchase recycled products where practicable. This will usually include a more general environmental policy; often initiated through items such as recycled stationary and remanufactured toner cartridges. It is good for the company’s image, and, increasingly, businesses are specifying that their suppliers or contractors have sound environmental policies as well.
Most suppliers and printers can now provide very high grades of recycled paper suitable for any application at competitive prices. Many are guaranteed for use in printers and photocopiers and are designed to the same specifications as virgin paper. There is a range of recycled stationary including envelopes, fax paper, mailing labels, files and document wallets, flip charts, storage boxes and Post-It notes. Choose post-consumer waste content rather than post-industrial mill waste, which brings no real environmental benefits in terms of energy and resource conservation or the reduction of consumer waste.
The Recycled Products Guide is a comprehensive UK listing of products made from recycled material. It contains everything from adding machine rolls to wiping cloths and includes the percentage of post-consumer content and contact details for the manufacturers and suppliers. The Recycled Products Guide is aimed at the purchasing departments of businesses and local authorities.
Steps your business can take to reduce, reuse, and recycle
Waste Watch, the national organisation promoting action on waste reduction and recycling, supports a waste hierarchy:
* Reducing your waste by not creating it in the first place
* Reusing when possible by finding alternative uses
* Using durable over disposable items
* Finally recycling.
View information sheets and find details of all Waste Watch publications. Download Waste Alert’s "Careless Waste … costs money" Guide, which is full of business case studies.
National Recycling Forum
View the Recycled Product Guide.
* This applies whether you just have a kettle and a few cups, or if your office has a canteen.
* Choose reusable alternatives to plastic or paper cups, plates and cutlery.
* Try to avoid individual portion products, such as milk and sugar, providing a jug of milk and a sugar bowl eliminates this waste.
* Bulk buying where possible helps reduce the amount of packaging to be disposed of.
* Investigate the opportunities to compost any waste food or look at central composting through the local authority or community group.
* If there is no real alternative to a vending machine with plastic cups for tea/coffee, there are schemes available that collect them for recycling – and provide recycled plastic cups for use with the machine.
* Can banks could be provided for recycling cans. Collectors operate nationally and would be able to collect them from your offices, although this may depend on being able to store the cans.
* Cooking oil can be recycled, but again there is a minimum quantity for collection.
* Circulate memos to all staff or put them on the notice board – even better, use email if you have it.
* Print documents on both sides of the paper – making sure you proof-read it on the screen first. If draft copies are needed, print them on scrap paper.
* Put scrap pieces of paper together to make a notepad, use them for notes to colleagues too.
* Reuse envelopes for internal circulation and, if possible, externally with a reuse sticker.
* Always photocopy using the duplex option when available, and remember to return the setting to one copy if you’ve done several.
* Set up an office paper-recycling scheme. White paper is of a high grade and so is in demand from the paper industry. The market for this quality is much more stable than lower grades.
Computers and electrical equipment
* Try to repair equipment before having replaced – invest in a long term maintenance contract for any appliances.
* When buying replacement equipment such as printers, photocopiers and fax machines, choose those with a duplex option and recycle the outdated items.
* Rather than buy new floppy diskettes, reformat old ones – and use unwanted CD-ROMS as coasters.
* Once your equipment reaches the end of its life, take it to a computer / electronic recycling scheme.
* Mobile phones and their batteries can be recycled through most One to One service Centres as part of a national take back scheme.
* Make sure your mailing lists are up to date to avoid sending out unnecessary details.
* Join your local business in the environment group. This provides a great way to exchange practical ideas with others who are trying to improve their environmental performance.
* Encourage staff to use public transport, cycle or walk to work, and pool cars, were possible.