The following waste management tips for facilities managers will help to identify areas for improvement, methods to achieve change and to increase buy-in from management, staff, suppliers and other stakeholders.
Complete regular waste audits
Measure what matters. If your organisation is serious in reducing waste and making savings then it is vital that you have an accurate picture of the waste generated by your organisation.
A waste audit will help you:
- Identify the quantity and make-up of the waste generated
- Identify the processes that are generating waste
- Provide you with a picture on how the waste is currently being managed
The audit will also identify:
- Whether your current waste management provider has the correct licences and permits to collect, transfer, store and process your waste
- How much non-hazardous and hazardous waste your business generates
- Opportunities to improve waste segregation
- Identify waste that can be reused or recycled
Regular waste audits are important, as they will allow you to track improvements.
Evaluate your existing approach to waste management
As part of your Duty of Care, you are legally responsible for the waste you produce, store, transport and dispose of without harming human health and the environment.
Managing change is often a matter of being persistent. Imbedding organisational change takes time and staff buy-in. To encourage best practice you can:
- Communicate the financial benefit of waste segregation to the organisation
- Incentivise workers
- Provide training in the current recycling best practices
- Ensure that you use colour coded waste containers that are clearly labelled and placed in appropriate locations
- Speak with your suppliers about returning packaging
Tell people your waste management objectives
You cannot make significant changes without informing the relevant people about your waste reduction objectives. Your employees are not the only people that should know your waste management objectives; you should also inform:
Identify the true cost of waste to your business
Processing waste is not the only cost driver associated with waste in your organisation. Other cost drivers include:
- Annual increases in landfill tax and other disposal charges
- Employment costs for handling waste and the missed opportunity to use those resources elsewhere
- Costs associated with buying materials that are not utilised
- Transport costs
Check your waste management compliance
Your organisation is responsible for the waste it produces from production to when it completes its journey to recovery or treatment. Some questions that you must answer:
- Who is responsible for the process that produces each waste stream?
- Is the storage of materials appropriate?
- Does your waste management partner hold the correct licences and permits to collect, transport, store and process waste?
- Are any aspects of your waste management outsourced to another provider?
Lead from the top
Measuring your organisation’s progress and setting objectives will demonstrate effective leadership. This is essential to achieve buy-in throughout your organisation. In addition, it will also satisfy other stakeholders, such as clients, local authorities, regulatory bodies, contractors and investors that your company is acting appropriately.
Evaluate business relationships
Going through this process may lead you to re-evaluate your existing commercial relationships. Consequently, you may need to bring in new suppliers. If this is the case, you should consider:
- Are their published waste recovery and recycling rates verifiable?
- Do they have current appropriate licences and permits?
- Do they comply with both environmental and legislative regulations?
- Is there an appropriate quality and environmental management system in place to check their activities?
Look for missed opportunities
Management may believe your organisation follows good processes, in reality there is room for improvement. Consequently, if you are looking to secure a competitive advantage it is important to know the truth “on the ground”. Therefore to ensure the changes you stipulate you should get away from your desk and check on progress.
- Are there opportunities to work with supplier and clients on waste reduction?
- Are wastes correctly segregated?
- Can materials be reused more effectively?
Follow the waste hierarchy
Customers are increasingly looking for businesses that have adopted sustainable business practices. As a result this trend is going to stay.
The benefits of following the waste hierarchy include:
- Reduced costs
- Positive brand reputation
- Potential additional revenue streams from re-marketing used or waste products
Agree KPIs with all new suppliers
When you are planning a new project, there is an opportunity to set waste reduction and recycling targets early on. Therefore, you should collate the baselines values:
- Waste generation
- Recycling levels
- Waste diverted from landfill
- Waste to landfill
Identify your baseline levels based on the above; you can track your performance against them. Do not forget to celebrate your successes with internal and external stakeholders.