Ethical and cost effective

Tips on waste management solutions


Reducing the cost of waste disposal

Whether you’re a new business start-up or a long established and experienced business, managing how to get rid of your industry waste — both ethically and cost efficiently — has always been challenging.

Wastage, in terms of what a business actually throws away, can incur costs as high as 4-5% of a business’ overall turnover according to CIPS, and in some more extreme instances, can account for up to 10% of a company’s overall gross profits.

This cost can become a concern for many businesses if they are not making sufficient attempts to recycle and dispose of their waste in the correct way. With rising landfill taxes, as well as recycling and sustainability becoming a main concern within ethical business principles, creating a reliable waste management solution is more important than ever for any forward-thinking business that is looking to make a change.

We’ve teamed up with Reconomy, the UK’s leading outsourced waste management provider with unrivalled skip hire coverage, who can advise you on how to dispose of your waste properly and how to put in place a business-wide waste management strategy that can save your business money.


Based on UK legislation and governmental requirements, businesses have key responsibilities when managing the disposal of their waste properly. The requirements that you should meet are broadly as follows:

  • Adopt the Waste Hierarchy principles in order to keep waste to a minimum by preventing, reusing, recycling, and recovering waste where possible.
  • Store or sort waste securely in a safe environment.
  • Complete a waste transfer note for each load of waste that leaves the premises.
  • Check to establish whether your waste carrier is registered. This can be done by visiting the official Environment Agency
  • Do not let your waste carrier dispose of waste illegally. As a producer of waste, the legal responsibility for safe and correct disposal falls on you, and not the waste carrier. You have a responsibility to ensure safe disposal through an auditable document trail.

Sorting and storing waste

To store waste safely and securely, businesses should as standard:

  • Use suitable and EU-approved containers to prevent leakage.
  • Label containers in a way which clearly stipulates what type of waste they contain.
  • Use waterproof covers — where appropriate — so that no contaminated run-offs are created.
  • Use lockable containers to safeguard your waste.

Disposal of waste

As stipulated, for any non-hazardous waste that you move off your premises, you need a waste transfer note or a document that contains the same information — this could be an invoice.

You should register online with the appropriate services if you wish to fill in a waste transfer note, or you can create a season ticket for a series of loads that will occur in the future.

Your business, as well as the third party that collects your waste, both need to do the following:

  • Fill in the sections of the note that applies to them.
  • Sign it.
  • Keep a copy for two years.
  • Be able to present it to an enforcement officer from the local council or the Environment Agency, if requested.

Reducing the cost of waste disposal

Bringing down the disposal cost of waste produced is an aim that most businesses will have. However, this can be a leap in the dark if business owners are uncertain of how to do this effectively.

The solution is segregation — but to do this, it needs to be monitored closely and a report must be conducted to see the volume, material and cost of the waste. From this you can set your strategy, highlighting your own targets and goals to ensure the best results possible when it comes to disposal.

It’s important for businesses to be aware of TEEP — technically, environmentally and economically practicable. This determines whether a business should segregate and store various types of produced waste within the business premises prior to its collection by a waste management contractor you have teamed up with.

As part of EU legislation that was created in 2015, which Britain is likely to adopt after Brexit, the EU Waste Framework addresses that commercial and municipal waste producers are obliged to manage their waste correctly. They can use a third party to achieve this, but businesses will continue to remain responsible.

There are many reasons as to why a business may need to separate the waste that they have produced and one which stands with the highest ethical standard is whether there will be an environmental benefit or reduce a negative that currently exists.

Measuring waste disposal

With advances in technology, waste management providers are likely to use online automated systems that can help monitor business waste volumes and spend — giving their clients a greater insight to their overall waste plan. Through waste management portals, each business can have tailored permissions that help provide them with an overview of waste statistics and management information.

To test the waters of how much waste your business is producing and before going down the route of using a waste management contractor, it might be worth visually assessing how much waste your organisation is disposing on a regular basis, monitor the bins over a week until they are collected by noting how much waste a bin holds and how full it is before the collection date.

It could be beneficial for businesses to reduce the amount of waste collections they currently have and from this, they will be setting themselves the challenge of being more thoughtful with what they throw away and this will eventually lead them to make better decisions which in turn, will save them money. They will have to deal with the limited bin space they have for waste ensuring that every decision is important.

With the price of landfill tax rising, these kinds of evaluations will be crucial when producing a waste management solution that aims to save an organisation money.

On the 1st of April 2014, the cost per tonne of landfill was priced at £80, which increased to £84.40 on the 1st of April 2016, and the price is set to rise further to £88.95 from the 1st of April 2018. With the cost of landfill waste rising year or year, it’s clear that businesses need to ensure that their waste solution system is driven towards recyclable methods to keep the costs of landfill waste to a minimum.


This article is supplied under the terms of the DB Direct service

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