We are all being made aware of the importance of Waste Management at the moment. It is all over the news and social media…stop waste…decrease landfill…say no to plastic.
Our waste has changed over the last hundred years which means traditional methods of disposal such as burying and burning are no longer feasible.
Waste management is a bit more than putting the bins out for the binmen to collect and take away. There is so much that you can do before collection which can save time, money and the planet.
The 6 R’s of Waste Management
The 6’s of waste management can help you manage your waste. They are:
- Reduce – There are things you can do to reduce your waste. Think…do you really need to print that email? If you do, does the signature of the email add an extra page of printing that you don’t need?
- Refuse – Simply say NO. Say no to plastic and other unrecyclable materials. Work with your suppliers and reduce packaging. In the canteen or company kitchen, say no to disposable cups and cutlery. If you have a watercooler, say no to the plastic cups and bring your own reusable cup.
- Reuse – Before you throw items away, have a think…can you use it for something else? Can you reuse packaging? Have you printed a page you didn’t need, use it as scrap paper. An old cup or pot, can you store things in it? It could be a new pen pot. Get creative, turn an old ladder on its side, mount on a wall and you have a new shelf or rack for extra storage.
- Recycle – There are so many schemes for recycling, have a look in your local newspaper and see what programmes are in your area. These schemes can cover clothing, metal, wood and more. You can also find recycling bins in your local supermarket car park.
- Repair – Repairing things when needed is a great way to reduce waste. Ripped workwear can be mended by stitching it back together. Superglue, nails and tape are other items you can use too.
- Resell – We have all heard the saying…’ one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. There are so many selling sites and pages now. Sites like eBay, Shpock, Gumtree and so many selling pages on Facebook and Facebook Marketplace. Of course, you can always stick an advert in your local post office as well. These are great ways of getting rid of unwanted items and you can make a little bit of money at the same time. You never know…you might find some treasure yourself.
Organising your Waste
If items are destined to be disposed of, then organise your waste, so that it can be disposed of or recycled correctly. How you do this, can depend on the industry you work in.
The biggest source of waste in schools is paper, followed closely by cardboard. Make it easy to sort waste by placing colour-coded bins in classrooms. You can have a blue bin for paper, green for recycling, red for plastics and black for general waste. Using these colours can encourage and make it easy for children to get into the habit of recycling. Why not have bins with transparent bodies so that the children can see their efforts?
Paper, cardboard, disposable cups and plastic make up the majority of office waste. Having coloured open-top bin for recycling paper and cardboard between a group or for an individual will make it super easy for staff to recycle. Each member of staff can have their own small lidded bin for general waste tucked under their desk.
Warehouses can produce vast amounts of waste, this could be cardboard, shrink wrap and pieces of metal. A standard waste bin would simply not be enough. Installing industrial recycling and waste sacks could be the answer! Have a different sack for shrink wrap, metal, glass, cardboard and general waste for easy disposal into larger wheeled bins ready for collection.
Clinical and Research Facilities
It is vital waste is sorted correctly in clinical and research facilities, especially when disposing of items such as chemicals and sharps. Installing clinical sack holder bins is an ideal way of sorting waste. Differentiate between the types of waste by having a different colour lid for each waste type. When disposing of chemicals and other liquids such as acids or even body fluids, try using granular absorbents. These granules absorb and neutralise liquids enabling them to be simply swept up and disposed of in the general waste. This can save time and a lot of money as specialist waste collections are not required.
When sorting your waste, make sure you come up with a plan and inform your staff so they can follow your procedures. Applying labels to your bins can help ensure procedures are followed, especially if you have visitors or patients who will not be aware of your waste management plan.
I hope reading this has given you ideas on how you can manage your waste.
We will be back in the new year! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!