Construction can be a messy business. Sometimes knowing what to do with all this mess can be confusing and the temptation to just chuck it all in a landfill can rise when the waste does.
UK construction makes up 35% of waste, filling up 36 million tonnes of landfill. Those numbers are only rising and it makes you wonder how long we’ve left of our landfills. This isn’t doing the earth any good, it affects the environment and spreads pollution and disease. We need better waste management amongst companies and individuals within the construction business. With the biggest proportion of waste coming from this industry it seems important to start controlling and managing the waste as soon as possible. Many other countries have already implicated methods that have cut down their landfill waste by 80-90%. Proving that waste management works.
Not only does waste management help the earth but it can also benefit the industry and the individual companies. Especially now with landfill taxes coming in, this is the time to become more concerned with waste. Some instant benefits from waste management are:
-Instant reuse. Recyclable materials at hand.
-Lower disposal costs
-No waste transportation costs
-The reputation of an eco-friendly company
But where do you start with waste management. As stated before, construction can create a lot of waste. What you should be aiming for is a zero waste to landfill policy. How do you manage the waste?
A lot of waste can come from over buying materials. While some may say this is just being prepared, it can mean having materials that are never used. By buying only what you need and accurately ordering, you’re already cutting down waste before you’re in the yard.
Make sure your storage areas are safe and weather proof. Damage to materials just ends with them in a landfill. The same goes for materials that are damaged in delivery, reject them. Let them be reused elsewhere.
Buying materials that are already recycled could be cost effective and earth effective. Consider the companies you’re buying from. Do they use recycled materials? How about recyclable packaging? If you can recycle everything it’s your step towards a zero waste construction.
Keep the site organised and tidy to ensure no accidental waste, throwing out materials causing re buying for example.
Recycling is a huge part of waste management and even big scale construction sites can do their bit to recycle. A way to do this is through waste segregation. This is separating out waste into a different sections. If the space is there this could include several different skips. For wood, plastics, mixed materials, inert waste and metals. If space is an issue that can’t be avoided and the cost of skips too much, there are other ways to separate waste through a tidy site and organisation. There are companies that specialise in waste management that a construction company can hire who will search through waste and find the recyclable materials. However doing it yourself could mean better results.
Have you ever dreamed of living a zero waste lifestyle? In an age where environmental issues are at the forefront of our mind, it’s certainly worth considering just what you can achieve by producing no waste.
Don’t believe it’s necessary? Well, just look at the statistics for waste disposal in the UK, and you’ll see that making the effort now will really pay off in the long-run.
Although we all try to reduce waste where possible, we’re all still guilty of throwing out perfectly good products. Consider these facts:
More UK households recycle now than they ever have before. That’s great news, but we’re a far cry from being a zero waste country.
- Almost 25% of electronic products that are thrown out could be re-used
- Not doing so costs us £200 million every year!
- 83% of couches are sent to a landfill – when many of them could be re-used (saving both money and energy)
Food waste can be a serious issue – and an expensive one too.
- 43.9% waste from households was recycled in 2012
- In 2011, that figure was 42.9%
- 600 million tonnes of products come into the UK each year…
- And only 115 million tonnes of that is recycled
Choosing a zero waste lifestyle can ensure that you’re not just another statistic, but that what you do really counts! You’ll not only be saving wasteful energies – since you’ll be self-sustaining, there’s no rubbish to burn or send to a landfill; you’ll also save yourself loads of money too. If not wasting food alone saves your family £60 a month, imagine how much you could save by not wasting anything.
Of course, aiming for a zero waste life isn’t always easy, but North West Waste are experts in waste management, and we’ll be happy to help you reduce your costs save you money, and protect the environment all at once. Now that should make you feel pretty good about yourself!
- 50% of the food thrown away comes from the home
- 7 million tonnes of food and drink are thrown out each year…
- Half of which was just fine to consume
- We chuck away more food than we do actual packaging
- It costs a family an extra £60 per month to throw out good food…
- Or £400 per year for a person living on their own
It’s the stuff that gets us going and sustains us every day, we frequently visit shops full of it and there’s a realm of television shows, blogs and internet website about it. But what happens to all that food?
It doesn’t always make it to our stomachs. In a 2013 survey of the commercial food sector, it was found that 12 million tonnes are discarded every year – much of which was avoidable. The commercial food industry has still not found a way to be more resourceful with its stock – which is good news for for those who make a living removing this waste.
The regulations and rules surrounding food waste are every bit as stringent and complicated as they are for food which is intended for our plates. What the food is, governs how it is disposed and where.
Firstly, anything that can no longer be eaten – by humans at least -is classed as ‘former food stuffs’; food that has come from animal by-products (ABP) – meat, fish and diary for example, regardless of whether they are raw or partially-cooked or completely cooked.
Raw meat fish and dairy cannot be taken to a landfill or used as animal feed. Slightly cook or cooked meat and fish, as well as ready-meals, pies and oils pose a slightly lower risk – they can be sent to a landfill but used as animal feed.
The lowest risk food is baking and confectionary products – not containing meat, fish or seafood – as well as oils and eggs. These can be sent to landfill sites or used as animal feed.
The highest risk category of ABP is raw meat, fish and seafood – this must be sent to an incineration plant. Manufacturers and caterers can send up to 20kg of partially-cooked fish, meat and shellfish to landfill every week, any other food waste can be sent to a biogas or composting facility. The lower risk category of food can either be incinerated or taken to an anaerobic digestion plant, or made into fertiliser, depending on their constituents.
Disposing of former food stuffs is heavily regulated and poses a number of issues. A thorough method for handling food waste is recommended, with improved waste management, which can lead to better practices and increased rewards for businesses.
You’re probably aware that hazardous waste can be a serious problem. After all, it’s called hazardous for a reason. But do you know the sorts of issues such waste can cause?
At North West Waste, we specialise in waste management, putting together disposal plans that ensure your waste is disposed of the right way. So we thought we’d highlight precisely what problems hazardous waste can cause, and the importance of disposing it the right way.
These days, we’re more aware of the environment, with climate change and eco-friendly living featuring highly on news agendas. As such, it’s unsurprising that more and more people are taking an interest in how hazardous waste can affect the environment.
Simply tossing such waste into the sea, for example, doesn’t mean it sinks without a trace; it means that it’ll pollute the seas. There have been cases, for example, of whales who have enough toxic waste in their systems to kill a human – and enough to kill a whale too, it seems.
Storing it on land, too, can mean that hazardous materials, like chemicals in paint or batteries, infiltrate the soil and plant systems. Such toxins can also enter the water supply, which affects every living being: humans, animals and plants.
And all of that can lead to…
All living creatures can be exposed to hazardous waste in three ways:
Consider water, polluted by hazardous waste. We could be exposed by each of these: we might breathe in toxic fumes as we shower, or splash it onto our faces, or even drink it. We don’t need to simply wolf down a glass of hazardous waste – in fact, usually, we won’t even know we’ve ingested anything toxic until it’s too late.
Depending on who has been exposed, and to what level, the effects of hazardous waste on the body can vary. Perhaps you’ll feel faintly nauseous, or severely sick; you might have headaches.
On the other hand, it could be far more serious. Over time, such wastes might cause issues such as liver failure, breathing problems or even cancer. Prolonged exposure may even harm off-spring, causing birth defects and reproductive disorders. At worst, failing to dispose of hazardous wastes correctly can even lead to death.
Such problems can be eliminated when hazardous waste is disposed of correctly. Here at North West Waste, we believe that it’s imperative to protect both the environment and the population. Because of that, we use our experience and expertise to reduce the effects of hazardous and toxic waste – by finding the disposal solution that not only adheres to all regulations, but also one that works for you.
- Dermal exposure – where hazardous waste enters via the skin’s pores
- Inhalation – where the waste is breathed in
- Ingestion – where hazardous waste is eaten or drank
With green issues moving up the political agenda and local councils setting up operations to help you stay green, it’s now easier than ever to give something back to the environment, by recycling, reducing and reusing. It takes little effort to change your habits so that these important activities become part of your life, and once you do there are some enormous benefits… here are just a few of them:
Everybody can do with an extra penny or two, and whether it’s reducing the number of new products that you buy or reusing items when you once might have thrown away, you’re going to end up with some spare change jangling in your pocket. Choosing energy efficient products, from electronic goods to the car that you drive, can help to reduce your consumption of resources whilst saving you money on the fuel bills, and if you choose to reuse items by selling them on via sites like eBay then you can even make some money. And it’s not all about your own wallet – recycling, reducing and reusing has also been shown to help save the country money as a whole.
Some Resources are Irreplaceable
Not every natural resource is sustainable, which means that once they’re gone that’s it – we’ll also lose the products that they’re made with. We can help these resources last a lot longer by reducing how much we use them – this includes making sure you turn your lights out when you’re not using them and don’t just leave electronic equipment on standby. It’s also a good idea to think twice before throwing something away if there’s a chance you won’t be able to get it replaced.
Greener is Cleaner
We’re yet to meet anybody who doesn’t want cleaner air for themselves and their families, and landfill sites can be a big factor when it comes to creating the pollution that chokes up our cities. Every person can make a difference, even when it comes to big issues like clean air.
Stay In Fashion
Choosing to reuse and recycle your goods is a big trend now – it’s called upcycling, and it means repurposing your old goods into something stylish and new. From turning an old glass bottle into a nifty bedside light to using your battered suitcase as a medicine cabinet, your imagination is the limit and upcycling means that it’s now fashionable to stop throwing things away.
Help Your Planet
You’ve probably heard it a million times, but it’s as true now as it ever was – the world is not indestructible, and issues such as global warming and deforestation will only get worse if we don’t all do our bit to slow them down. By remembering your three environmental Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – you can help your planet, whilst benefiting from all the other great advantages listed above.