How to conduct a waste audit

Small to medium size businesses often don’t have the luxury of a dedicated facilities manager and, in many cases, those who run the business will find that waste management falls within their remit.

Can you cut cost on waste?

As a necessary and vital consideration, waste management is one area that can make a difference to your business’s bottom line, and its ethical reputation. As such, it’s worth taking a little time out to consider your current waste arrangements to see where you can save money and become more environmentally friendly.

Time to audit?

Many waste management organisations, including Cawleys, will do this for you. However, if you’d like to conduct your own waste audit, here’s how:

  1. Review your premises Take a walk around and note down the number of bins and their condition. Are they full or overflowing? Also check the location of the bins. Removing under desk bins and having a central recycling station can improve segregation. Ensuring everyone has access to the right bins will avoid losing any recyclables into the general waste just because it is the nearest or only bin available.
  2. Peek inside If possible, put on some gloves and have a rummage through your bins. Record the type of waste within them and identify the types of waste you have most and least of.
  3. Where’s it from? Analyse the source of most of the waste. Is it packaging, kitchen waste, customer waste or waste from employees?
  4. Processes Examine your business processes to see if you could reduce the amount of waste being produced. Do this by talking to employees and reviewing the documentation your business produces. For example, is your business printing more than it needs to, could you switch to email invoicing. Could the wastage from raw materials be reduced by designing products differently?
  5. Review current arrangements Jot down the frequency of your current waste collections and how it is collected. Do you have segregated recycling or just general waste collections?
  6. Current costs Calculate the monthly cost of your waste disposal. Identify the areas where there are large quantities of waste and the highest costs.
  7. Ideas Look at the information you’ve collected from your waste audit. Focus on some relatively cheap and easy waste-reduction measures to begin with. Even a service-based business could look at ways of recycling more paper.
  8. Segregate For the elements of waste that can’t be reduced, it is vital to consider the type of waste that is high in volume to see if this can be collected separately to reduce costs. For example, food waste is heavy and can add considerably to your general waste costs. If this were to be disposed of and collected separately it could save you money.
  9. Recycle All types of waste are recyclable and because the recycling companies can receive rebates for certain types of material many charge less for the collection of good quality recyclable material that has been segregated. This is particularly true of plastic, glass and cardboard. Recycling at work will also improve your business’s green credentials.

If all this sounds daunting contact Cawleys who will arrange to come into your business for FREE and assess if you can save money on your waste management arrangements. Whether your business is large or small we'll be happy to help.

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