iiE Consultancy – Top Tips to Cut Waste

Did you know that for every tonne of household waste produced, commercial, industrial and construction businesses produce another six tonnes. Why not try some of the top tips below to see what else your business can do to help reduce waste?1. Simple changes like thinking about the packaging on your lunch can make a big difference when it comes to your business waste. London alone produces approximately 263 tonnes of waste every lunchtime, enough to fill Trafalgar Square every week! [Waste Hierarchy]

2. Provide reusable bags for staff. Hang them in a convenient place and encourage staff to use them at lunch.

3. Set up a composting system in your kitchen to collect fruit and vegetable waste, teabags, coffee grounds, and loo roll tubes. You could even try setting up a wormery!

4. Tape up or remove all the general waste bins leaving only one central bin for rubbish. Place it in a location that means people have to get up from their desks to reach it. Place recycling bins by everyone’s desks. This will get people thinking about what they put into landfill, and encourage recycling.

5. Try to reduce paper consumption. A significant proportion of all printing is wasted and goes straight in the bin. Raise awareness amongst your colleagues, do they really need a hard copy? Where printing is necessary, you may be able to reduce paper use by setting printer and photocopier’s to defaults to double sided printing or 2 pages per sheet.

6. Work with customers and suppliers to reduce packaging. Could suppliers use returnable packaging? This will reduce your waste and help your supplier with any obligation under the Packaging Regulations. If re-usable/returnable packaging is not an option, could less packaging be used? Could goods be packed more efficiently? Could voids and fillers inside packaging be reduced? Could the packaging material be changed to a material more easily re-used or recycled?

7. Waste can be reduced through clever design. Packaging needs to protect the integrity of the product and should do this as efficiently as possible. As well as reducing the amount of packaging used, savings can also be made through designing packaging to allow for efficient distribution. For example, designing the packaging to maximise the number of units that fit on a pallet. Try to influence design so that standard sized components can be used without the need for cutting or trimming. For example, in the construction industry ensuring wall sizes accommodate standard block sizes and heights reduces the need for cutting and wasting blocks, saving time, waste, money and reducing the hazards and nuisance associated with block cutting. Similarly room heights can be designed to accommodate standard plasterboard sizes

8. If you want to get TECHNICAL…. what’s your MBY and FTY? Mass Balance Yield (MBY) is weight of materials produced divided by the mass of virgin material used x100 (expressed as a percentage). MBY can only be improved by converting more of your raw material into product. First Time Yield (FTY) measures how much is produced ‘right first time’. It is calculated by dividing the mass of products produced by total material input into the process (this should include rework) x 100 (expressed as a percentage). FTY can only be increased by reducing the amount of rework and/or increasing MBY. Ideally FTY=MBY.

Next, how big is your COW? Understand the full annual Cost of Waste (COW):

COW = MBY cost + FTY cost + other waste related costs

MBY cost = (100 – MBY) x annual cost of materials / 100

FTY cost = (100 – FTY) x annual cost of running the process / 100

Other waste related costs = an estimate of the total annual cost of: process losses, stock losses, waste container rental, transport and disposal costs, the costs of labour associated with it. Also try and include costs associated with compliance, reporting and liability insurance.

Your COW can be up to 20 times more than the annual total of invoices you receive from your waste contractor. Reducing waste saves much more money than you think, and it’s straight off the bottom line.

9.Set up a Zero Waste suggestion box for staff to submit ideas on ways to become waste free. Award (waste free) prizes for the best ones.

10.And finally, remember to equip your staff with the knowledge they need to understand and reduce waste! iiE Consultancy will 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

For an in depth review of your waste streams and an action plan for waste reduction, or to find out more or register your interest in our waste training course, contact us on 01733 882549 or e-mail: [email protected].

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