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Waste is a never-ending problem because people are always going to make it. This means we’re always needing to stay on top of it in a smarter way to keep up. Businesses are usually slow to catch up, however, and they are more often than not the largest creators of waste. This can be solved with a strong waste management plan, and some positive changes to your business culture. In this article, we’re going to explain the way you should prioritise waste, and the main issues that bad waste management has on the world.
Disposing of waste takes its toll on the planet. In the UK, a lot of the waste is buried in landfill sites, huge holes in the ground that are anything from abandoned quarries to ones that are built just to store waste. Food and other materials that deteriorate begin to rot, which emits harmful gases and an awful scent. Methane especially is harmful to our greenhouse gas problem. Along with this, the scent will attract flies and vermin, creating a huge eye-sore that residents can’t escape from.
Incinerating waste also causes huge problems, because burning plastics especially tend to let out a lot of harmful gases, that contribute to air pollution and awful environmental anomalies like acid rain. The ash from incinerators also may contain toxins which are then released into our air.
Throwing away something is a waste of the potential it has. The materials and other resources that went into creating it are being buried in a hole or burned to a crisp. Reducing waste means you van potentially save the money, effort and raw materials that went into it before use.
As we’re looking for ways to manage all the waste we’re producing, the EU’s waste framework directive of 2008 contained the waste hierarchy, which is extremely useful for everyone as it helps you know what to do with your waste:
The hierarchy takes all of the different ways you can deal with waste, and prioritises them in order of most to least advantageous. This gives businesses and residents alike a rough guideline on what to do with their waste, and what the best and worst-case scenarios are for dealing with it.
The hierarchy is the made up of the following points:
The simplest method of dealing with food waste is to try and use less altogether. Limiting the stock you attain, to not massively over-buy, is a good idea. This step requires looking in-depth into your business’s activities, and analysing whether there are more material-efficient methods in anything you do. From production to distribution, there can always be improvements. Additionally, you can also change policies to keep products for longer (not with food), or you can reduce the amount of hazardous materials you handle as a business if applicable.
Reusing waste as a business may seem difficult, but is completely possible as long as you know when to not throw away items. For example, in an office scenario, an old computer that the company doesn’t recognise as good enough anymore can be cleaned/refurbished and sold or kept for parts. With food, you can use old fruit and vegetables as a compost for office plants. There are always more uses for your waste, you just have to be creative with it!
Recycling means turning a waste item into a brand-new item, and for this you just have to make sure it’s in the right bin really. We know providers who can take care of this, so you can fill out our short online form and be paired with the cheapest in your area:
When you can’t do any of the things mentioned above, recovery is the next best thing. Waste recovery methods include anaerobic digestion, where plants use the gases released when food rots for energy, by placing them in an area where they’re cut off from oxygen. Other examples are incineration (not completely wasted as the burning creates power), pyrolysis and gasification.
This is the worst-case scenario, and a complete last resort. Only ever do this if there aren’t any more options!
It’s always beneficial to try and reuse waste in whatever way you can. Learning about how to cut down on plastic would be beneficial for your business (our guide is here), as it means you can take steps towards managing your waste in a more efficient way. Wasting waste is one of the biggest problems facing businesses worldwide, and the effects are catastrophic- these are the steps you can take to help!
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