How to Manage Business & Commercial Waste

Many businesses are starting to address their impact on the planet, and waste management should be high on the agenda. In 2018, the UK generated 43.9 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste, demonstrating the need for urgent action. And it’s not just about the planet; a better relationship with your waste will be good for your pocket too. So, what are the best ways to get started?
SL Recycling is a leading waste management company. We have years of experience providing highly effective solutions to businesses in a range of industries. From commercial skip hire to end of life vehicles to waste management, our services are designed and delivered with our clients in mind.
In this blog, we discuss business and commercial waste in more detail, and provide some tips on how to manage it better.

What is Commercial Waste?

Any waste produced by a business on premises mainly used for trade purposes can be classed as commercial waste. From manufacturing to hospitality to retail to healthcare, all industries produce commercial waste and all businesses have a duty of care to manage it effectively.

Examples of Business & Commercial Waste

Since the term ‘commercial waste’ covers such a broad spectrum of industries, the types of waste it includes are equally wide-ranging. Below, we outline some of the most common types of waste materials produced by businesses.

  • Plastic – e.g., plastic bottles, packaging
  • General Waste
  • Hazardous Waste – e.g., chemicals, batteries
  • Glass – e.g., bottles, jars
  • Paper & Cardboard – often from packaging
  • Food Waste
  • Metal – e.g., aluminium cans, vehicles

Why is it Important to Effectively Manage Business Waste?

Cost Savings
Better waste management can be highly economical for businesses. Not only will you save money on landfill tax by opting for alternative disposal methods, but you’ll also reduce wastage across your organisation. More than that, recovering valuable materials like scrap metal can actually turn into an additional revenue stream.

All businesses have a duty of care to handle their waste in the best way, and minimise their contribution to the climate crisis. Improving your waste management is a great way to cut your carbon footprint and significantly reduce the impact you have on your local environment too.

Marketing Tool
Of course, being more eco-friendly isn’t just good for the planet, but it can also be good for your brand image. With the rise of ESG investing and consumers more conscious of the impact of their decisions, leveraging your eco-credentials as a marketing tool makes business sense.

It goes without saying, but reducing unavoidable waste will boost efficiencies across your organisation, whatever the industry. For example, restaurant staff may be spending time preparing food, only for that food to be thrown away. By applying waste management principles, you’ll create a leaner operation all round.

Tips for Managing Business & Commercial Waste

It is recommended by the UK government that businesses should deal with their waste according to the waste hierarchy. This hierarchy outlines the order of preference for waste management methods, starting with the most desirable. Let’s explore what they are.

  • Prevention – using less materials, keeping products for longer.
  • Preparing for Use – refurbishing, repairing or cleaning items and materials for reuse.
  • Recycling – turning materials like glass, plastic and metal into new products.
  • Other Recovery – processes like anaerobic digestion, gasification, or pyrolysis.
  • Disposal – the least desirable option; landfill or incineration without energy recovery.

See more: The Ultimate Guide to Waste Management

Limit Waste & Reuse Materials

According to the waste hierarchy, review your processes and identify areas where waste could be minimised. If you’re a manufacturing business, perhaps there are ways to reduce offcuts and by-products of production. If you’re a retail business, perhaps your packaging could be redesigned to limit excess material used. Finally, assess whether you’re throwing away materials that could easily be reused or repurposed. Cardboard boxes, for example, could be used to store things like stationary.

Separate Waste

To minimise the amount of general waste you produce, it’s important to implement an effective recycling scheme. To do this, you’ll need to sort your recyclable waste into separate streams, so make sure this is easy and convenient for members of your organisation to do. Providing colour coded bins and clear information on what goes where can make a big difference, particularly if you’re just getting started.

Educate & Engage Employees

Your employees have a big role to play when it comes to your business’ waste management. Providing adequate training will ensure staff understand why things are changing, and that they follow your instructions carefully. If staff know the benefits of waste management, they may have a renewed sense of purpose. More than that, because lots of people want to work for a responsible business, it might improve your talent retention too.

Outsource Waste Management

Working with a waste management company that specialises in commercial waste can help you find a solution that works for your business. They’ll be able to advise you on areas to improve on, provide bespoke collection and disposal options that suit your budget and timetable, and make sure your organisation is complying with the necessary UK regulations.

Business & Commercial Waste Management with SL Recycling

SL Recycling is a waste management provider based in South Wales. We deliver tailored solutions to all kinds of businesses, from small independents to large multi-site companies with complex needs. Whatever the industry and scale of your waste problem, we can cater to a variety of requests and requirements.

Talk to us today and start your waste management journey!

Read more: Types & Methods of Waste Management

Read more: Zero Waste to Landfill – What Does it Mean?