Waste Audit & Waste Compliance: How to manage your waste?
Here at Imvelo Ltd, we provide exceptional and bespoke waste audit, environmental, and sustainability solutions to a whole range of businesses. Beyond solving tricky problems or delivering comprehensive strategies, we are also on a mission to educate, inform, and help increase staff participation and engagement in progressive internal change.
To increase transparency, and help anyone who might be a little foggy about this service, we felt it necessary to answer the question ‘What are waste compliance and waste auditing services?’
Table of contents:
- What is Waste Management?
- What is a waste audit?
- How can a waste audit benefit your business?
- How to conduct a waste audit?
- What is your Waste Duty of Care?
- What is waste compliance?
- Who needs waste compliance or a waste audit?
- Who (or what) doesn’t need waste compliance or waste auditing services?
What is Waste Management?
Waste management is the process of collecting, treating, and disposing of waste materials. It involves the handling of all types of waste, including solid, liquid, and hazardous materials, in a way that minimizes their negative impact on the environment and human health.
There are several methods of waste management such as recycling, composting, and incineration.
Recycling is the processing of used materials in order to create new products.
Composting involves the decomposition of organic materials into a rich soil amendment.
Incineration involves the burning of waste materials in order to reduce their volume and generate electricity.
Why is waste management important?
Effective waste management is important for a number of reasons like protect the environment by reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and other disposal sites, where it can release harmful substances into the air and water. It also helps to conserve natural resources, as recycled materials can be used to make new products, reducing the need to extract raw materials from the earth. Finally, it can help to reduce the overall cost of waste disposal, as recycling and other waste management techniques can often be less expensive than sending waste to a landfill.
What is a waste audit?
A waste audit is an analysis of the types and quantities of waste generated by a particular business, organization, or community. The purpose of a waste audit is to identify opportunities to reduce, reuse, or recycle materials. This is primarily done with the goal of increasing efficiency and reducing the environmental impact of waste.
There are several steps involved in conducting a waste audit. First, the waste stream is carefully examined to identify the types and quantities of materials being generated. This may involve separating the waste into different categories, such as paper, plastic, metal, and organic materials. Next, the sources of the waste are identified, such as offices, restrooms, or production areas. Finally, the audit may include an analysis of the current waste management practices in place, such as recycling or composting programs.
Based on the results of the audit, recommendations may be made for improving waste management practices. It might include implementing new recycling programs or finding ways to reduce the amount of waste being generated. Conducting a waste audit can help businesses and organizations to reduce their environmental impact, save money on waste disposal costs, and meet regulatory requirements.
How can a waste audit benefit your business?
There are several reasons why a waste audit may be beneficial and necessary:
Identify opportunities for waste reduction:
A waste audit can help to identify the types and quantities of materials being generated, as well as the sources of the waste. This information can be used to identify opportunities for reducing the amount of waste being generated, such as through the implementation of new recycling programs or the use of more efficient production processes.
Improve waste management practices
A waste audit can provide insights into the current waste management practices in place, such as recycling or composting programs. This information can be used to identify areas for improvement, such as by implementing new programs or increasing the efficiency of existing ones.
Conducting a waste audit can help businesses and organizations to identify opportunities to reduce waste disposal costs. Such as by recycling materials or finding ways to reduce the amount of waste being generated.
Meet regulatory requirements
In some cases, businesses and organizations may be required to conduct a waste audit as part of their regulatory obligations. For example, a company may be required to demonstrate that it is taking steps to reduce its environmental impact by conducting a waste audit and implementing waste reduction programs.
Overall, a waste audit is a useful tool for identifying opportunities to improve waste management practices, reduce the environmental impact of waste, and save money.
How to conduct a waste audit?
Conducting a waste audit is a systematic process that involves examining the types and quantities of waste being generated by a particular business, organization, or community. That is followed by identifying opportunities to reduce, reuse, or recycle materials. A waste audit can help to improve waste management practices, reduce the environmental impact of waste, and save money on waste disposal costs.
Here is a detailed guide on how to conduct a waste audit:
1. Define the scope of the waste audit
The first step in conducting a waste audit is to define the scope of the audit. This includes determining the types of materials to be included in the audit, the sources of the waste (such as offices, restrooms, or production areas), and the time period to be covered by the audit. It may also be useful to involve stakeholders in this process, such as employees, management, and waste management service providers, to ensure that the audit is comprehensive and relevant to the needs of the organization.
2. Collect and sort the waste
Once the scope of the audit has been defined, the next step is to collect and sort the waste. This may involve setting up waste collection stations around the facility, with clearly labelled containers for each type of material (such as paper, plastic, metal, and organic materials). It is important to ensure that the waste is sorted accurately, as this will be used to analyze the data and identify opportunities for improvement.
3. Analyze the data
Once the waste has been collected and sorted, the data must be analyzed to identify patterns and trends. This may involve calculating the percentage of each type of material in the waste stream, as well as the total volume of each type of material. It may also be useful to compare the results of the audit to industry benchmarks or other relevant data, such as the amount of waste being generated by similar organizations.
4. Identify opportunities for improvement
Based on the audit results, recommendations can be made for improving waste management practices which may involve implementing new recycling programs, finding ways to reduce the amount of waste being generated, or identifying opportunities to reuse or repurpose materials. It may be helpful to involve stakeholders in this process, as they may have valuable insights into ways to improve waste management practices.
5. Implement changes
Finally, the recommendations from the waste audit should be implemented, with ongoing monitoring and tracking to ensure that the changes are effective and are resulting in improvements in waste management practices. This may involve setting up new recycling programs, introducing new waste reduction initiatives, or making changes to production processes to reduce the amount of waste being generated. It is important to regularly review and update the waste management plan to ensure that it is effective and remains relevant to the needs of the organization.
Overall, conducting a waste audit requires careful planning, data collection and analysis, and the implementation of changes based on the results of the audit. By following these steps, businesses and organizations can improve their waste management practices, reduce the environmental impact of waste, and save money on waste disposal costs.
What is your Waste Duty of Care?
The Waste Duty of Care relating to waste stipulates that any business that produces, imports, keeps, stores, brokers, transports, treats or disposes of the various types of waste must also take the steps required to guarantee that it is managed properly, ethically and legally. The Waste Duty of Care was introduced back in 1990 to protect public health and the environment, and a failure to follow its rules can result in an unlimited fine upon conviction, but we won’t let you get to that point.
What is waste compliance?
Waste compliance means abiding by the rules of the Waste Duty of Care, meaning as a minimum you must:
- Do everything you can to prevent, reuse, recycle or recover waste, in that order, to keep wastefulness to a minimum.
- Store and sort your waste safely and securely.
- Fill out a waste transfer note for each load of waste that leaves your facilities.
- Take steps to ensure that the waste carrier you hire is lawfully registered to dispose of waste.
- Not allow this waste carrier to dispose of your waste illegally, by means such as fly-tipping.
As we mentioned, the above is the bare minimum, but to go one step further and increase your strength of commitment to compliance, you can also:
- Go through the waste chain, in both directions, finding out where your waste streams come from, and where they will go which often requires transparency from waste carriers and material suppliers.
- If you have specialist waste streams, you may require multiple waste carriers. Quite often, waste carriers have licenses and permits for a limited number of waste streams, so it is vital that you either find one company who can legally handle all of your waste, or divide the streams among different service providers.
- Consistent compliance is what often catches businesses out, as they forget that the Duty of Care is recurring, and must be adhered to for every load of waste leaving the premises. Thoroughly vetting each waste management company you work with, or hiring a first-class environmental consultant from Imvelo Ltd, are the best ways to protect your interests.
Who needs waste compliance or a waste audit?
Any waste-producing commercial activity must follow the Duty of Care, and so for that reason, there is a huge scope to ‘who needs waste compliance or waste auditing services?’. Retailers, supermarkets, restaurants and train stations all need it, construction sites, farms, demolition sites and football stadiums all need it, so in truth, most businesses need it and must get it.
In some cases, often for businesses that produce huge amounts of waste and don’t want to outsource their waste management needs, such as construction sites. It’s quite common for them to pursue a Waste Carrier License so that they can handle and dispose of their own waste.*
*This must still be audited.
Households also have a Waste Duty of Care, while your local council manages your regular waste streams, you are still responbile for ensuring that ‘special wastes’ i.e. anything that the council won’t take, are still handed to licensed contractor!
Who (or what) doesn’t need waste compliance or waste auditing services?
There are a few exceptions, though they are uncommon, and if your waste falls under these categories, you almost certainly know about it already:
- Decommissioned explosives
- Radioactive waste
- Animal by-products
- Sludge, or septic tank sludge
Understanding your Waste Duty of Care is vital to avoid paying hefty fines, getting in trouble, and having to spend days in court instead of growing your business. Imvelo Ltd is here to support you, to transform what may seem like a daunting task into a smooth, helpful and stress-free endeavour. If, after reading this, you still have some confusion, please give us a call and let us rest your mind at ease.
What is a waste audit?
A waste audit is a process of collecting and analyzing data on the types and quantities of waste generated by an organization or facility, to identify opportunities for reducing, recycling, or otherwise managing the waste more effectively.
What is waste assessment?
A waste assessment is a similar process to a waste audit, but it also involves evaluating the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the waste and identifying ways to minimize those impacts.
What is a waste management audit?
A waste management audit is an assessment of an organization’s waste management practices and systems, to identify areas for improvement and ensure compliance with regulations.
How do you conduct a waste audit?
To conduct a waste audit, you can follow these steps:
1. Identify the types and quantities of waste generated by your organization or facility
2. Collect and analyze data on the waste streams
3. Identify opportunities for reducing, recycling, or otherwise managing the waste more effectively
4. Develop a plan for implementing the identified opportunities
5. Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the plan
Why conduct a waste audit?
Conducting a waste audit can help organizations to identify opportunities to reduce the amount of waste they generate, improve their recycling and composting programs, and increase the efficiency of their waste management systems.
Why is waste audit needed?
A waste audit is needed because it allows organizations to identify the types and quantities of waste they generate, and to identify opportunities for reducing, recycling, or otherwise managing the waste more effectively which can help organizations save money, improve their environmental performance, and comply with regulations.
What is the main purpose of waste management?
The main purpose of waste management is to reduce the negative impacts of waste on human health and the environment including reducing the amount of waste generated, increasing the recycling and composting of waste, and safely disposing of any remaining waste. Effective waste management can also help organizations to save money, improve their environmental performance, and comply with regulations.