The Modern Rules Of Waste Management

The starting point for any discussion about waste management has to be any legislation that has changed the industry. Perhaps most crucial, is the EU Waste Framework Directive, which came into force in December 2008. EU directives have provided long-term vision and guidance for waste management in the UK, particularly in terms of recycling and environmental risks and hazards. Indeed, the EU directives require all EU member states to prevent or reduce waste products and encourage the recovery of waste by recycling, reuse or reclamation where possible. Other legislation that businesses should be aware of are: But what is waste? Waste is defined as:
A material is considered to be waste when the producer or holder discards it, intends to discard it, or is required to discard it.
Businesses must be contracted to a registered waste carrier to collect their waste; these registered carriers must be registered with the Environment Agency – and it is the responsibility of the business to ensure that those who remove waste, have the authority to do so. Registered waste carriers will issue a Waste Carrier Note, which businesses must keep for two year – it is essential that these are kept, as local councils can legal ask to show these – failure to do so can lead to an unlimited fine. If your business deals with food, it is essential to know the rules on this, as there are strict rules on animal by-products and other potentially dangerous contaminants. Other forms of waste maybe hazardous too – if it contains things such as batteries, solvents, chemicals, oils or pesticides – then this may need to be disposed of through special means, due to the environment damage or contamination that it can cause. Check here for more information. Electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) waste, is another major problem for businesses in the modern world. This is complex due to the many components that they contain, and not only do they do not biodegrade, but they can also contain contaminants – things like printer ink, or cathode ray tubes, for example.   Much of can be repurposed, when using specialist WEEE waste experts. For more information on this, and to check on what types of waste this is and how to go about disposing of it – check here. Waste management can be a major headache for any firm, but with some research and a logical approach – it can help businesses save money and help the environment.

Waste Management – Seven Facts You Never Knew

Waste management might not be something we think of on a daily basis. Especially when we’re at work. A business will generate more waste than an average household. Ten times over. Be it paper waste, water waste, technology waste or a lack of recycling bins- waste is happening, and it isn’t good. This is something that needs to change. As a business, you can actually help with waste management more than you think and there are financial and reputation based benefits in doing so. Many businesses have embraced a zero waste attitude and are helping the environment, and themselves in the process. Some waste management facts can be shocking to hear, but amongst them are equally shocking positives that come out of it. If you are a business that needs to update their recycling ethos, then these facts may help.
  1. It’s unlikely a business doesn’t use a computer and maybe a few of them. In fact, it’s used so much that one day it will burn out and break down. Probably heading straight for a skip on its way to the landfill. But computers can be recycled, unfortunately we ignore this and dump around 50 million tons of electrical equipment every year. Ctrl-Alt-Delete.
  2. How many times have you had to file away paperwork? Shred it? Print it? Sign it? Chuck it? Enough times to cut down 4 million trees a year. Tonnes and tonnes of paper just heading to a landfill, when really recycled paper can be turned into something new in just seven days. Your weekly copy of metro you pick while travelling to work could be the same you picked up last week. The only new thing is the scandals.
  3. Companies can benefit from attempting a zero waste to landfill ethic. The avoidance of diverting company waste to a landfill and trying for a complete reuse of waste could save a company £500 a month in landfill tax. Maybe more. The office Christmas party just got a little bit fancier, just turn off the printer at the wall.
  4. A companies landfill efforts are vetted by third party verification parties. There are three categories a business can be fitted into. Zero Waste to Landfill:Products, facilities and/or organizations that have achieved a landfill waste diversion rate of 100 percent. Virtually Zero Waste to Landfill: Those that have achieved a landfill diversion rate of 98 percent or greater. Landfill Waste Diversion: For those that have achieved landfill waste diversion rates of 80 percent or greater. A lot of customers like the idea of using a company whose mind is also on the environment. Waste not want not.
  5. Water waste is something we forget needs management. In a business setting you have multiple people using the bathroom. People going in and out every day flushing toilets and leaving taps on. A leaky tap could waste around 5000 litres of water, what happens if someone leaves the tap fully on? Water rates don’t pay themselves and the planet doesn’t save itself.
  6. Lighting in offices is usually made up from those florescent tubes with one that always flickers in the corner of the room ominously. These are rarely disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. That’s leaves us with 80 million tubes and 4 tonnes of mercury scattered about in a landfill.
  7. By building healthy waste management habits, one small business can help the world. This can be hard work, but there are companies out there that specifically help business become more sustainable. A good investment for your business and the world your business lives in.

Hazardous Waste in Schools

When we think of hazardous waste environments, schools are not the first that come to mind. Yet, like any other environments where people work and go about their day-to-day activities, schools produce waste products that can be harmful to human health – and therefore must be disposed of accordingly. High schools usually have greater pupil numbers and more sophisticated subjects for children to study, which means the greater the chance for hazardous waste to be created. Nevertheless, primary schools should be aware of products that are potential harmful. Science laboratories and departments often have stocks of harmful substances used to demonstrate the basic functions of chemistry and chemical reaction – careful disposal for this type of waste is essential. Flammable liquids, oxidizers, reactives and toxics are all commonly found in school labs, and should be labelled and identified correctly under COSHH regulations. In print and art workshops commonly found chemicals include developers, fixers and dyes, as well as petroleum-based inks. In wood and metal workshops for industrial design subjects, degreasing solvents and Polyurethane sealers are used. Paint and other solvent-based coating materials might also be found on-site at schools, and should be risk assessed for storage, use and disposal. These are extremely hazardous to health and their disposal treated with care. Some examples are paint thinners, adhesives and oil-based paint. Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) can pose another significant hazard: most schools now rely on electrical equipment as an educational aid, and the disposal of this should not be underestimated – there are regulations governing this type of disposal – and it can mean virtually anything with a battery or plug. Similarly, fluorescent tubes and bulbs are also extremely common in both primary and high schools and are classed as a hazard. Used materials should be stored in a special container until they are collected by a licensed waste collector. Oils used for cooking by catering staff at primary and secondary schools are also a problematic and hazardous waste, and all waste should be sealed and taken away by the authorised waste management collectors. Those supervising dangerous or hazardous chemicals in schools are advised to regularly do an inventory of substances and potential hazards, particularly if they have an expiry or use-by date. This will minimise risk, and help those who collect hazardous waste to dispose of it correctly and efficiently.

Which hazardous wastes can be recycled?

Hazardous Wastes

Hazardous wastes are waste materials that is considered dangerous to to humans, animals or the environment, or if it contains a substance which is dangerous. Where possible we are encouraged to recycle or reuse these items to reduce the amount of waste produced to reduce the impact on the environment.

What is a hazardous waste?

Examples of hazardous waste include:

  • Asbestos

  • Chemicals eg. Brake fluid or printer toner

  • Batteries – household and car batteries

  • Solvents

  • Pesticides

  • Car Oil

  • Fluorescent tubes

  • Electrical items eg tvs and fridge freezers

What can be recycled?

Electrical appliances are the fastest growing waste stream in the UK at the moment, as these items are frequently replaced in the home. Fridges, freezers, tvs, computer monitors and large domestic appliances such as washing machines can all be recycled at your local waste management centre.

Items such as fluorescent tubes and smaller electrical goods such as kettles are recyclable, but they need to broken down and separated at the waste management centre before being recycled. Even energy saving lightbulbs can also be recycled along with fluorescent tubes!

These items can be taken to your local refuse centre at any time and should be disposed of in the designated areas.

What cannot be recycled?

Household or garden chemicals should not be washed down the drain as these can run into water systems and contaminate them. Instead you can try contacting a specialist waste facility for advice on how to dispose of these hazardous materials safely.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which is found in many older homes, and it is often disposed of illegally as it is one material which cannot be taken to every waste management facility. If you have asbestos that you need to get rid of, speak to your local council to find out which centres are licensed to dispose of the material legally.

Construction and demolition waste generated from DIY or excavation, for example bricks, rubble, plasterboard and soil is not recyclable waste but it can be taken to your local waste management centre to be disposed of. Tradesmen can register to take more rubble and waste, so if you are doing a lot of work in your home then you can contact a private contractor to remove this for you. Normally nothing more than a car load of household waste will be accepted from non-licensed members of the public.

Seven Top Hidden Risks In The Waste Management Industry

Try as we might, we can’t ever avoid risk. Even when we’re trying to do something as positive as waste management. As business, you try to avoid risk at all costs. Depending on what kind of business you’re in, and if you’re in a waste management industry job, you probably fill out risk assessments on a weekly, if not daily basis. But what are the hidden risks? The ones that slip under the radar and catch you out at the last moment. Some are easily forgotten or not even thought about, but unfortunately, be it in law, personal injury or environmental damage, it won’t matter how hidden the risks are.  
  1. Legal Risks.
  Doesn’t sound as nitty gritty as hazardous waste but like everything waste management has some hefty rules and a lot of those could be ones that a business may not think about. Waste management is more than following the three R’s. The definition of ‘waste’ differs throughout legal literature and it’s important that there’s someone or several people making sure that any hidden waste management laws are dealt with and not purring your business at legal risk.  
  1. Hazardous Waste
  This isn’t just the toxic, green, acid like substance we see in tv and film. But chemical and biological waste such as car batteries, bleach, varnishes, dead animal carcasses, straw, hay needle, human waste, garden products and much, much more. All of these things can cause harm to someone in contact with them. While some of these wastes may seem obviously hazardous (human waste, carcasses, bleach ect) things like garden products, straw, hay and batteries may slip under the radar, risking harm to others. Obviously the biggest risk with hazardous waste is the harm to employee’s interacting with it. This can be through several ways…  
  1. Risk of Injection.
  As stated before, things like needles count as hazardous waste. Therefore if someone’s skin is penetrated with a needle or sharp object, then they are exposed to any kind of contamination and are at risk. It can often be something overlooked as especially if the waste is a mass and hasn’t been organised into categories or managed effectively.  
  1. Skin Contact
  This doesn’t just mean hands or through cuts and grazes. A thing that is often caught out is the contact with eyes that also counts as a skin contact. Anything that is getting involved with eye membrane and mucus is going to cause damage.  
  1. Inhalation Risks
  Breathing around waste is a risk. And a hidden one at that. Asbestos, gas and all other inhalable toxins lurk in waste. Hidden from sight until someone takes that deep breath before starting work on waste management. Things like masks should be provided by an employer but even regular health checks for employees could be a good thing to offer, minimising this hidden risk.  
  1. Noise Risks
  Sounds odd, but it is a genuine risk for something working in waste management. From machinery to the deafening noise of glass collection and methods of recycling. Over time this can become quite a dangerous thing for work.  
  1. Personal Hygiene- Or lack of.
  Whatever your position in waste management, you know that it’s an environment to stay clean and hygienic in. Poor hygiene practises amongst staff, poor hygiene education and/or lack of proper washing facilities can make those waste management risks even riskier and harder to spot.    


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