How businesses should approach waste management and recycling in 2020 and beyond

The issue of recycling and proper waste management has never been more critical than it is today. As the impacts of climate change are evident in our everyday lives and scientific data, it falls on all of us to make changes and improve how we conduct aspects of our lives.

While there are lots of things we can do as individuals, there are also steps that businesses can take to improve how they operate and their environmental impact.

In this article, we asked the experts at JBM Environmental Services to highlight some areas that businesses should be targeting to improve their waste management and recycling going forward. They have over 30 years of experience when it comes to waste management.

Office paper

One of the most prominent materials which contributes to business waste is paper. Offices, and businesses in all sectors, have for years used large amounts of paper on a daily basis. Now that filing systems have primarily moved over to digital with the development of computer storage, there is less paper used.

However, it may surprise you to know that the average UK office worker is estimated still to use a staggering 10,000 sheets of A4 paper each year. It is, therefore, critical that businesses recycle paper correctly.

Ensuring businesses have clearly marked paper recycling bins around the office or premises is an easy but effective way to establish a recycling culture. The important thing to remember is that paper needs to be clean to be recycled, so if it has oil or food on it, the recycling bin should be off-limits.

A key part of waste management is the principle of ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’. When it comes to paper, several simple steps can be put in place in businesses to reduce paper usage. Asking employees to avoid printing emails or meeting notes unless necessary and having a digital noticeboard system rather than a paper one are two examples of easy ways to reduce paper usage.

Packaging

If your business produces a product, there will likely be packaging which goes with it. As a business, you can’t control what happens to this packaging after a customer purchases the product.

With this in mind, reducing the overall level of packaging can reduce what may be disposed of incorrectly. Furthermore, a simple step business can take is to clearly mark if the packaging is recyclable so that customers know how best to dispose of it.

Single-use plastics

One of the big focuses when it comes to waste in recent years has been with single-use plastics. As with paper, you may actually be unaware of how many examples of single-use plastics businesses go through every day.

The best example of this for businesses is something common in most office buildings, a water fountain. Those little plastic cups which you can fill with water for a quick drink are often just thrown away. The best solution to this problem is to provide your staff with reusable water bottles and remove the single-use plastic cups.

General waste

There can be a variety of waste management companies responsible for dealing with a business’s waste. Depending on your location, it may be a local council or a private company. Regardless of who it is, businesses should be in direct communication with their waste management partner when they start working together.

This allows both parties to have a good idea of what exactly is being disposed of or recycled and how best to deal with it. For businesses, one area where this will be particularly important in the future is with the disposal of documents or systems which hold client data.

Overall there are some crucial aspects of waste management and recycling, which will play a large role in businesses operating more efficiently in the future. Not only is following the principle of ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ beneficial for the environment, but it can also be beneficial for businesses in regard to costs.


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