Hazardous waste doesn’t only impede on the environment, there are effects on individual health and well-being too. With the help of North West Waste Consultants, you could ultimately improve your quality of life.
The starting point for any discussion about waste management has to be any legislation that has changed the industry. Perhaps most crucial, is the EU Waste Framework Directive, which came into force in December 2008. EU directives have provided long-term vision and guidance for waste management in the UK, particularly in terms of recycling and environmental risks and hazards.
Indeed, the EU directives require all EU member states to prevent or reduce waste products and encourage the recovery of waste by recycling, reuse or reclamation where possible.
Other legislation that businesses should be aware of are:
But what is waste? Waste is defined as:
A material is considered to be waste when the producer or holder discards it, intends to discard it, or is required to discard it.
Businesses must be contracted to a registered waste carrier to collect their waste; these registered carriers must be registered with the Environment Agency – and it is the responsibility of the business to ensure that those who remove waste, have the authority to do so. Registered waste carriers will issue a Waste Carrier Note, which businesses must keep for two year – it is essential that these are kept, as local councils can legal ask to show these – failure to do so can lead to an unlimited fine.
If your business deals with food, it is essential to know the rules on this, as there are strict rules on animal by-products and other potentially dangerous contaminants.
Other forms of waste maybe hazardous too – if it contains things such as batteries, solvents, chemicals, oils or pesticides – then this may need to be disposed of through special means, due to the environment damage or contamination that it can cause. Check here for more information.
Electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) waste, is another major problem for businesses in the modern world. This is complex due to the many components that they contain, and not only do they do not biodegrade, but they can also contain contaminants – things like printer ink, or cathode ray tubes, for example. Much of can be repurposed, when using specialist WEEE waste experts. For more information on this, and to check on what types of waste this is and how to go about disposing of it – check here.
Waste management can be a major headache for any firm, but with some research and a logical approach – it can help businesses save money and help the environment.
Following the French government’s decision to prohibit supermarket food waste in 2016, the rest of the world has begun to take notice. Fed up with food waste on an outrageous scale, it has been suggested unsold food be donated to homeless charities and food banks.
Among reports that like Morrisons, Tesco have committed to donating unsold food to the needy, we’ve been wondering about the practicalities of such a decision. What will be the process to acquire unsold food? Are there are criteria or pre-qualification? Or will the homeless simply visit their nearest Tesco?
It isn’t only homeless people who go foraging in supermarket bins nowadays. Growning numbers of people from all walks of life are partaking in ‘dumpster diving’, highlighted in the 2009 film Dive! by Jeremy Seifert.
With many supermarkets taking drastic measures to prevent this practice – padlocking bins, spoiling perfectly edible food with bleach – we are left questioning the morality of the consumerist giants; in 2013, it emerged that Abercrombie & Fitch immediately dispose of any blemished clothing. An unnamed store manager said, A&F doesn’t want to create the image that just anybody, poor people, can wear their clothing.
It isn’t simply food that’s past its sell-by date which ends up in the bin. Often perfectly edible but visually imperfect food is discarded – a bruised apple, a dented tin of beans.
Discarded meat is a subject of particular controversy, the animal having often been bred purely for the sake of food. During the 2013 horse meat scandal, Tesco disposed of the perfectly edible meat because British culture deemed the consumption of horse meat as disgusting. The chain neglected to ask the needy themselves if they would care to try the meat.
By regulating food waste, citizens of lower means will be able to acquire food with dignity. Unspoiled food will go directly to food banks, where it must be stocked hygienically and distributed with human interaction and a sense of community, as opposed to handed out on the street.
There is the question of whether simply donating to the homeless is enough. In the face of benefit sanctions, wage levels remaining stagnant and high amount of people in debt, many people with a roof over their head are also struggling to make ends meet.
Although the decision to donate all surplus food to the needy is admirable, it does raise the question of whether the government is simply transferring responsibility to supermarkets, instead of dealing with the poverty issue.
Try as we might, we can’t ever avoid risk. Even when we’re trying to do something as positive as waste management. As business, you try to avoid risk at all costs. Depending on what kind of business you’re in, and if you’re in a waste management industry job, you probably fill out risk assessments on a weekly, if not daily basis. But what are the hidden risks? The ones that slip under the radar and catch you out at the last moment. Some are easily forgotten or not even thought about, but unfortunately, be it in law, personal injury or environmental damage, it won’t matter how hidden the risks are.
Doesn’t sound as nitty gritty as hazardous waste but like everything waste management has some hefty rules and a lot of those could be ones that a business may not think about. Waste management is more than following the three R’s. The definition of ‘waste’ differs throughout legal literature and it’s important that there’s someone or several people making sure that any hidden waste management laws are dealt with and not purring your business at legal risk.
- Legal Risks.
This isn’t just the toxic, green, acid like substance we see in tv and film. But chemical and biological waste such as car batteries, bleach, varnishes, dead animal carcasses, straw, hay needle, human waste, garden products and much, much more. All of these things can cause harm to someone in contact with them. While some of these wastes may seem obviously hazardous (human waste, carcasses, bleach ect) things like garden products, straw, hay and batteries may slip under the radar, risking harm to others. Obviously the biggest risk with hazardous waste is the harm to employee’s interacting with it. This can be through several ways…
- Hazardous Waste
As stated before, things like needles count as hazardous waste. Therefore if someone’s skin is penetrated with a needle or sharp object, then they are exposed to any kind of contamination and are at risk. It can often be something overlooked as especially if the waste is a mass and hasn’t been organised into categories or managed effectively.
- Risk of Injection.
This doesn’t just mean hands or through cuts and grazes. A thing that is often caught out is the contact with eyes that also counts as a skin contact. Anything that is getting involved with eye membrane and mucus is going to cause damage.
- Skin Contact
Breathing around waste is a risk. And a hidden one at that. Asbestos, gas and all other inhalable toxins lurk in waste. Hidden from sight until someone takes that deep breath before starting work on waste management. Things like masks should be provided by an employer but even regular health checks for employees could be a good thing to offer, minimising this hidden risk.
- Inhalation Risks
Sounds odd, but it is a genuine risk for something working in waste management. From machinery to the deafening noise of glass collection and methods of recycling. Over time this can become quite a dangerous thing for work.
- Noise Risks
Whatever your position in waste management, you know that it’s an environment to stay clean and hygienic in. Poor hygiene practises amongst staff, poor hygiene education and/or lack of proper washing facilities can make those waste management risks even riskier and harder to spot.
- Personal Hygiene- Or lack of.
We here at North West Waste Consultants handle waste in the most efficient and environmentally-friendly manner for all of our clients, with a vast range of company sizes and industry sectors. However, the question has been asked: what are the biggest causes of waste in the UK? Here, we look at some of the big players of waste creation in Britain.
The construction industry is one of the biggest causes of waste in the UK, and that more specifically comes from the wastage of raw materials. Counting for more than 50% of all desposited material in a typical landfill, construction waste can be further broken down into material waste, labour waste and machinery waste. This ties in with a report from the UK Green Building Council, which noted that the construction and demolition sectors generate 120 million tonnes of waste every year, roughly a third of all waste produced in the UK. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the major construction companies in the UK account for a hefty percentage the waste created, but fortunately we have strong working relationships with these organisations so that the waste stemming from major construction sites is always handled carefully and correctly.
Another major cause of waste comes from farming. An article from The Guardian in 2016 suggested that farming was amongst the biggest causes of air pollution and waste not only in the UK, but Europe as a whole. The source of this came from a study which found that the nitrogen compounds from the fertilisers on the farm, along with the animal waste, are mixed with air that has already been polluted from general industry waste, the two combine to form solid particles which can cause breathing difficulties, impaired lungs and heart function, and in extreme cases, even the potential for premature deaths.
There are other major industry sectors which heavily contribute to waste, one of which comes from the retail sector, and big-budget supermarkets in general. A recent report from the College of Estate Management on UK Shopping Centres and the Sustainability Agenda suggested that due to the costs involved, retailers in general have not taken enough steps as a whole in reducing the amount of waste being produced, ranging from unused cardboard and polythene waste to the likes of used drinks can, plastic bottles, glass and food waste, not to mention any unsold or unused food and drink products which remain in the stock rooms beyond their sell-by dates and are therefore not edible. However, some shops and shopping centres are progressing, such as the Belle Vale Shopping Centre in Liverpool, which recently lifted an environmental award for promoting the best practice in regards to waste disposal. So, whilst retail does produce a lot of waste, and the industry as a whole could do more, some shops and shopping centres are moving in the right direction when it comes to waste disposal and reducing waste creation.
In any event, however, North West Waste Consultants are here to ensure that regardless of how the waste is created or how much of it comes from specific sectors or industries, we will be able to identify the most suitable methods of handling and disposing of all waste, recycling and reusing wherever possible, and generally ensuring a clear and logical method of waste disposal for the future.
To find out more about North West Waste Consultants and how we help our clients with handling their waste, you can visit www.northwestwaste.co.uk.