iiE consultancy helps you manage your waste and comply with waste legislation!

With Zero Waste Week fast approaching, iiE Consultancy shares some advice on conducting a waste audit of your site, the first step in any waste minimisation programme. Read on to find out more about our upcoming Waste Management and Awareness training…

An effective waste reduction programme must be based on current and accurate information on the quantity and composition of your waste. Therefore, the first step is a “waste audit,” a systematic review of operations and waste generation. A simple waste audit will help highlight areas for improvement and provide baseline information to measure change against. It will also help you to prioritise the most important areas for action.

Key steps in a waste audit:

  1. Gather as much information as possible about your current waste generation. Look at your invoices and waste transfer notes and find out: What type of material is collected and how waste is segregated, how frequently waste is collected, what is the volume or tonnage, how much do you spend on waste disposal etc.
  2. Identify your resource streams. What are the material inputs and outputs in your business? Produce a process map to identify all of these, how they are used, how they interact and particularly where by-products and waste materials are disposed of.
  3. Conduct a walk-through of your site. Look at incoming materials, how they are used and where they end up and check that this matches your process diagram. Pay particular attention to where waste is generated and disposed of at each point in a process or location within the site.
  4. Next do a waste sort. Wearing protective clothing physically sort through waste generated during that day. (If the amount or type of waste varies substantially from day to day, you might want to conduct this inspection over the course of two weeks and calculate an average profile of one day’s waste.) Categorise the waste into different types or “streams” e.g. plastic, card, metal etc.
  5. Use a scale, if possible, to quantify the weight of waste produced in each category of waste and estimate the percentage of each category in your overall waste production. If you produce a large amount of waste on a daily basis, use a representative sample of your waste. The quantity of materials generated is important because even though many items in the waste stream might be recyclable, they must be present in sufficient volume to make separate collection feasible.
  6. If you don’t have a scale you can estimate the volume and use a weight conversion chart to calculate estimated weights of waste streams.
  7. Now that you have a baseline, you are ready to look for opportunities for waste minimisation – are there any opportunities to reduce waste e.g. ordering less stock, printing less, reducing wastage in a process etc. Can any waste streams be reused e.g. packaging, paper etc. Is any recyclable content being sent to landfill that could be segregated and recycled instead?
  8. Remember to evaluate the success of any minimisation strategies by monitoring and conducting audits periodically; Has overall waste generation been reduced? Has percentage of waste being recycled increased? Have hazardous waste streams been reduced etc.

To find out more about waste audits or to get help in conducting one, contact Katie Woolston on 01733 882549, 07908 375557 or email [email protected] .

iiE Consultancy will also be running a one day training course on Waste Management and Awareness to help you further understand strategies for waste minimisation and to help you understand your legislative obligations and requirements.

Topics it will cover include:

  • What is classed as waste?
  • Types of waste
  • Hazardous waste
  • Waste management legislation
  • Packaging regulations, WEEE and other producer responsibility regulations
  • Vetting waste disposal contractors and complying with duty of care
  • Waste management “hierarchy” and waste minimisation strategies
  • Auditing waste management

To find out more or to register your interest, please e-mail [email protected] with “Waste Training” in the subject line.