When was the last time you thought about your business’ waste disposal systems? Most likely, this is something that hasn’t crossed your mind for some time. This is fair enough, too: with the range of considerations and concerns to worry about when running a business, from staff to budgets, it is not surprising that waste disposal falls to the bottom of the list.
However, having said all that, waste management is an essential part of running any business, and so is not something you can afford to ignore. Check out this overview on setting up an effective waste disposal system for your business.
Why is Waste Disposal Important for Businesses?
Whatever kind of business you have, you generate some kind of waste. For some sectors, this made be obvious, such as medical waste in hospitals, food waste in the hospitality sector, or industrial waste in the manufacturing industries. However, even in small offices, there are large volumes of waste, such as paper waste, cardboard packaging, and so on. Additionally, every business involves people, whether staff, clients, visitors, or suppliers, so waste is generated
One of the major threats associated with waste management is the health and safety of your employees and other people who visit your site. Improper storage or disposal of rubbish can lead to the spread of bacteria, causing illness.
Another risk associated with improper waste management is to the environment. All businesses have a ethical responsibility to protect the natural environment, and in some cases they have a legal responsibility to do this also. Government regulations dictate how certain waste can be disposed of, such as electronics.
Not properly disposing of waste, which includes recycling appropriate items, means waste can end up where it should not, whether in nature, or in landfill when it doesn’t belong there.
Setting up proper waste disposal systems does require some investment, however more efficient processes will likely save you money in the long run. Additionally, it will mean you are looking after the health of your staff and anyone else who visits your premises, looking after the planet through recycling, and generally doing the right thing by people and the planet.
Components of an Effective Waste Disposal System
Properly dealing with your business’ waste involves two key components:
1) Disposing of waste in the appropriate way to the appropriate place
2) Storing it properly while awaiting disposal
The first part involves making sure all recyclable items go to an appropriate recycling facility. Additionally, it necessitates the proper handling of specific items, such as sharps disposal (such as syringes in medical facilities) which should be handled by dedicated sharp disposal facilities. It also means making sure all of these things happen in a timely manner so that waste is not sitting around, causing bacteria and other risks.
For the second part of this equation, it is important to set up safe, dedicate waste storage areas. However, no matter how efficient your processes for waste disposal, you will likely find that waste piles up quite quickly, even in reasonably small businesses. This is where equipment like baler and compacter machines come in: these machines bundle your waste into smaller, easily stored units. Ideally, businesses will have something like the PHS wastekit which covers baler and compacter machines, servicing, maintenance and accessories.
Special Waste Management
As previously mentioned, there are certain types of waste that require specific handling, usually for the safety of those handling it, or to protect the wider community and environment once it is disposed. Depending on the type of business you have, you may have to deal with one or more of these types of waste.
Sharps disposal is one of these types of waste that requires special handling. This could be medical equipment such as scalpels and syringes, but also more common items such as broken glass or old tools. In all cases, they cannot be disposed with general waste as they are a risk to people and wildlife, and so must be disposed in special sharps disposal bins. Another consideration, again especially for medical centers and hospitals, is the disposal of pharmaceuticals. By law, these must be disposed in dedicated, locked pharmaceutical bins and disposed of to the appropriate facility.
One special type of waste that almost every business will need to deal with is sanitary products, nappies, and similar items. This is particularly relevant for businesses that have a lot of clients on their premises, such as hospitality and retails companies, but is also something any business with staff on site will need to accommodate. There are special rules for disposing this kind of waste, as it is illegal to both incinerate it or send it to landfill due to environmental concerns. For this kind of waste, dedicated units should be placed in all bathrooms, and a professional company contracted to remove and replace them regularly.