Business Waste Legislation Bites

Waste collection from businesses has, for a long long time been a pay for it and forget it service for many enterprises. This is changing. As of the 28th September 2011, the legislation changed to impose stricter waste disposal from every business in the UK.

And this does not apply to just the big guns. It has been applied to sole traders, every shop, supermarket, warehouse and all sizes of offices across the land.

The main thrust of the changes are bundled into the following areas:

  • prevention
  • preparing for re-use
  • recycling
  • other recovery
  • disposal

Before anything resembling waste can be removed from your premises, a review process of all these areas must be completed to minimise the business rubbish output.

And before you start to think; “…well they’ve tried to enforce this in the past and we have just paid lip service to their demands”, the Environment Agency are taking this very seriously!

Don’t think if you work in a shared office or building that you can’t be touched either. Everyone will be expected to put the effort in to bring trade waste production levels down to meet targets set by the Government.

To put what these changes actually mean to the business owner, the areas targeted;

Prevention calls for management of consumables like paper – used to print out documents when it is ultimately possible to store and read them on a computer or read them online. If printing is deemed necessary, duplex (2 sided) printing is the way forward. If you are printing emails, do you need to? They can be read on many different devices now so printing is going out of fashion.

Preparing for re-use sets its targets on waste prevention where material can be used again. An example is re-using animal waste using a chemical process to produce usable gas.

Commercial Recycling is a waste prevention system that many are on top of but also far too many treat like the elephant in the room. Simple good habits like shredding paper and storing the cardboard in a safe place ready for the trade recycling team are essential now.

Other recovery aims to take suitable waste and recover commodities like energy from it. Some areas are already trialling business waste incinerators with the end result, electricity, powering peoples homes.

Finally the disposal of anything from your premises will be monitored with fines handed out for non compliance.

So is it a “waste” of staff time coming into line? The answer has got to be no. Taking ownership of your rubbish is necessary to combat the problem of spiralling landfill demands,the effect on the environment and all our futures. You have been warned!