A guide for businesses to manage and reduce waste

In 2016, all businesses have generated around 2 500 million tonnes of waste, the highest amount the EU-28 has ever recorded. There are differences in the amount different countries have generated, so the smallest EU member state caused the smallest amount of waste and larger states have generated more. Romania and Bulgaria generated the highest quantities of waste, while countries like the UK, Sweden, and Denmark had a relatively low quantity. The trash businesses produce seems gargantuan in comparison with individual or residential waste production, so companies reducing their waste is a top priority.

Manufacturing businesses can reduce and manage the waste they produce if they implement effective recycling programs. If you cut the amount of waste you produce, you not only help the environment, but you also save money. An effective program will identify where you have to manage and reduce waste, and will provide a strategic overview you can base your decisions on. Here are some suggestions that will help you create the right recycling program for your business.

How much trash does your business produce?

You can manage waste effectively only if you know how much you produce. Once you have the numbers you can decide how each department can reduce the waste it produces. If one particular department is producing the highest quantity of trash, you can take measures to fix this problem. If you are using compactors or balers, you can measure the waste by weight. Conduct a waste audit for a determined period and identify the type of waste you are generating. The research will help you design a recycling program that can boost your efficiency and cut costs.

What type of waste do you produce?

You have to evaluate both the type and quantity of waste you produce. In order to reduce, recycle and repurpose waste, you have to conduct a waste characterisation to separate and weigh different elements of your waste stream. You can fully determine the type and quantity of waste you produce only if you conduct a waste characterisation. It’s one of the essential steps in helping you cut down costs and boost your business’ sustainability.

Keep a track of the 9-generation points

By determining the generation point or points you are subjected to, you will easily conclude the type of waste you generate and identify the right strategy to recycle. There are nine-generation points: hospitality, retail, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, housing, construction, grounds, and offices food services.

Take advantage of recycling programs

Once you identify the type of waste you produce, and you estimate the volume you generate monthly you can check the market for sub-streams. Some products that were part of single-stream recycling programs, as film plastic are not banned because they can be further recycled. You can search for programs that recycle the film plastic once it’s source separated.

You can transform your business into a more eco-friendly one if you discover alternative ways to use raw materials. You have to evaluate the manufacturing process in all its stages and find solutions to reduce waste. You can definitely reuse some of the materials used during the manufacturing process. Miltek recommends recycling the materials you cannot reuse. You can hire a company to conduct an on-site survey to evaluate the waste you produce, and to offer you recommendations on the balers and compactors you should use to recycle your waste.

Exchange waste with other companies

For some companies your waste is their main resource. You can reduce your waste by offering it to another company that sees it as a resource. Check the market and track these businesses, instead of taking the trash to a landfill you can earn money by selling it to another business. This way it would not even become waste, it will be just another source of income.

Packing is unnecessary most of the times

Some of the products we find beautifully bundled on the market do not even need wrapping because they come with their own package. There are two effective strategies to reduce packing, the first one is to deliver on the market products without wrapping, and the second one is to buy packaging in bulk. You can collaborate with a supplier that reuses or recycles the packages once the products are discarded to trash.

No more bottled water

Your business produces waste through the plastic bottles of water the employees are using. It’s eco-friendly to recycle the used bottles, but this is not the only solution. It would be better for the planet if you would reduce, or eliminate the use of plastic. You can swap the plastic bottles with drinking glasses or even with cups. You can filter the water on site and your employees can use their own glasses or cups to drink it. By promoting the use of reusable recipients, you eliminate plastic waste.

Train your employees to follow waste reduction practices

In order for your recycling program to succeed, it’s important for everyone to be up to date with the waste reduction practices it promotes. You can organise employee meetings or training sessions, send them newsletters, implement recycling incentive programs or use other creative methods.

Your employees are responsible for most of the waste your business is generating. Your role is to point them in the right direction, you have to create an intuitive program they can easily follow to change their working habits. This starts with putting the proper signage next to the right recycling bins and offering instructions on how to complete certain tasks to reduce waste.

Go the extra mile and reward their efforts, the employees who recycle the most can receive gifts cards, free lunches and other similar gifts.

Hire a recycling professional

If you don’t know where to start, you can collaborate with an expert to offer support and guidance and help you create a program. It’s important to adopt the recycling program with minimal effect on your business operations. A recycling professional not only that will evaluate your business from the waste production perspective but will also make recommendations on how to reduce or eliminate it.


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