Having a well-structured waste management plan can affect the perspectives of your business both internally and externally.
Not only will it improve how the public sees you and make you more desirable to purchase from or work with, but it will make you more aspirational as an employer. This can be seen in research from KPMG finding that 20% of UK office workers would refuse a role if environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors weren’t considered a priority by the company.
Scott Hawthorne, Managing Director at Skips & Bins, who offer bin and 4-yard skip hire, stresses the importance of having the appropriate waste management and recycling strategy for businesses: “Strategy for your business is crucial, especially when you consider the amount of commercial and industrial (C&I) waste generated by the UK in 2020 was around 40.4 million tonnes.”
They’ve offered insight into some of the main contributors to modern business waste and how this can affect the perspectives of your company by a wider audience.
Businesses will inevitably have computing hardware that they must dispose of, which comes from things like laptops, telephones, and peripherals becoming either obsolete or simply breaking down over time. But when it comes time to remove them from your workplace, you might be tempted to bin the hardware.
This contributes to something that is widely referred to as ‘e-waste’, and the UK is one of the biggest offenders globally. A study from Uswitch has found that the UK is second behind Norway in the amount of e-waste generated per capita, with around 23.9kg.
This led the government to introduce stringent laws on the disposal of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), which could see you prosecuted and fined up to £5,000 if you’re found to be improperly disposing of these items. If taken to Crown Court, this fine could be unlimited.
Not only does this mean that you could be contributing to landfills by disposing of these items, but you could be liable to a significant fine and further charges. This makes it increasingly important to implement an e-waste plan for your business waste.
From hospitality to healthcare, single-use plastics like plates, cutlery, and trays have become widely used as a cheaper alternative to buying reusable items. While it’s a great cost-saving measure, the UK government has made the decision that from the 1st of October, single-use plastics will be banned from being supplied or sold by businesses throughout the UK.
While banning in their entirety might seem drastic at first glance, estimates from the government show that 2.7 billion pieces of single-use cutlery and 721 million disposable plates are used a year. Despite these huge numbers, only 10% of these items are recycled.
This was announced initially in January, so businesses would have enough time to adjust their strategies and processes appropriately, such as by investing in reusable cutlery or disposable cutlery made of a more easily recyclable material like wooden chip forks.
Paper waste (always check it!)
Many businesses will use paper for physical copies of standard processes like schedules, contracts, and forms, and paper fibres have the benefit of being able to be recycled into brand new paper up to seven times before the new product begins to get weaker.
One thing that you must think about when it comes to business waste, however, is the paper that you are recycling. The knowledge of how recyclable it is can encourage you to think that it doesn’t matter if the errant scrap of paper is thrown away, but paper still amounts to around 20% of waste each year. This makes it even more important to stick to your business’ recycling processes to make sure that any physical paper used is recycled to help curb the amount that’s wasted.