Our experience in helping businesses to take care of their waste responsibly has shown us that many organisations find it difficult to deal with small everyday items which are technically classed as hazardous waste.
You might be one hundred per sure of what your business responsibilities are in dealing with hazardous waste, but are your staff following the rules?
The Environment Agency (EA) is clear on your responsibilities: "You must make sure hazardous waste produced or handled by your business in England causes no harm or damage."
To read about your 'Duty of Care' please go to the EA website www.gov.uk/dispose-hazardous-waste
Fire risks from hazardous items
Did you know that twenty per cent of people knowingly put the wrong items in with general waste at work?
Items such as lithium batteries or light bulbs have a nasty habit of turning up in the general waste, causing employers to find themselves inadvertently breaking the law and facing fire risks.
We commissioned independent research to investigate just how widespread the problem is, and it has identified some worrying concerns for employers:
- Only a third of UK workers make a real effort to recycle things properly.
- One in five admit to knowingly putting the wrong items in general waste.
- Uncertainty about ‘hazardous’ creates a huge fire risk as 22 per cent admit to throwing batteries in their general waste bin
Top five items hazardous items thrown away in general waste
The top five hazardous items thrown away in general waste include light bulbs, batteries, aerosol cans, glue and ink cartridges.
For any organisation working with a young people the problem is especially significant, because under 26 year olds make the least effort to recycle things properly, and are the most likely age group to throw batteries away in the general waste.*
You can see in this graph below just what a high proportion of people at work throw away things they shouldn’t in the general waste bin.
Others items shown in the graph below such as light bulbs, the most commonly thrown away item, are classed as hazardous waste. Batteries are the most liable to pose a fire risk.
A solution to dealing with hazardous waste items in the workplace
This is why we have developed a new product specially to help you deal with smaller items of hazardous waste with a simple, affordable service called HazBox.
The service provides you with a bright orange UN approved 77ltr Hazbox for your office, which we collect and replace twice a year. It also includes a separate battery caddy where you can safely store used batteries, ready for collection.
The bright orange box is a strong visual reminder to separate hazardous items in the workplace, and of course is incredibly easy to use. It’s an easy way to encourage staff to recycle waste properly and make sure your organisation is following environmental best practice.
To find out more about the HazBox service please click here