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Commercial Waste Collection:

How to do what’s best for both your business and the environment.

What is Commercial Waste Collection?

With environmental issues coming to the forefront of current affairs there have been many legislative changes regarding the responsibilities of businesses when it comes to waste collection. The ways in which a corporation is to handle their waste has been a big topic of conversation in the past few years, and most importantly as a business owner, it is a topic that directly affects your business practices. Commercial waste collection, which is your legal responsibility as a business owner, refers to the process of collecting, picking up, and transporting your waste from your offices to a disposal area where the waste can be taken care of properly.

The process of commercial waste collection can be complicated as the procedures for how waste is to be collected in your business and disposed of depends on the type of material that you are disposing of. For you to make an educated choice on how you would like your business to dispose of its waste it is necessary that you understand the commercial waste collection process and your business’ legal requirements when it comes to commercial waste.

What are your responsibilities regarding Commercial Waste Collection?

When it comes to Commercial waste your business has to be careful with both how much waste it produces as well as with how you dispose of your waste. Your business’ legal responsibility regarding commercial waste is mainly outlined in the Duty of Care legislation.

Under the Duty of Care Legislation -which you can read in full by clicking here – your business must do what it can to produce as little waste as possible. That means that you must take any action that can prevent the creation of waste. In the case where prevention is not possible, you must then consider whether the waste produced can be reused and if reusing the waste produced is not possible then your next options are either recycling or recovering the waste produced. If part of the waste produced does not fall under any of the above procedures, then you can consider your options for disposing it to landfills or to waste centres.

For all waste that is produced within your business, you must ensure that the waste is responsibly, safely, and securely sorted through and stored within your premises. After you have sorted and stored your waste you will need to check with your waste carriers what type of waste they are registered to dispose of and more importantly, that they are not disposing of any of their waste illegally. If you find that your waste carrier is following illegal procedures regarding the disposal of your waste you will need to report them to Crimestoppers. For more information on this, you can click the following link.

The waste that your business produces is still your responsibility after it has been collected from your premises, which is why it is of particular importance that you ensure that your waste carrier is disposing of your waste correctly. It is therefore your business’ duty to ensure that all commercial waste is dealt with properly even after it has left your business premises.

Finally, you must complete a waste transfer note for all the waste that leaves your premises with your licensed commercial waste carrier who is responsible for its transport from your business to the waste disposal centre. Your waste transfer notes must include detailed information regarding the types of waste that you are disposing of and more importantly, they will need to be kept for a minimum of 2 years. This means that at any given moment your business should have details regarding all types of waste that it has produced as well as information on how and when it was disposed of.

Depending on the type of waste that your business is producing you might have further responsibilities regarding the ways that it is disposed of. This is why it is important that you understand the way in which different types of waste are classified.

How does the classification for commercial waste work?

One of the easiest ways to check and determine the type of waste that your business is producing is to check the waste codes or codes associated with the items that you are throwing away. Through this information, you can determine whether the waste that you are producing is hazardous or POPs waste. Depending on the amount of hazardous and POPs waste that you produce you can inform your waste carrier so that they can arrange the correct disposal of your waste.

Hazardous waste refers to materials that are known and tested for their ignitability, reactivity, corrosivity, and toxicity. Hazardous materials are regulated by authorities and are added to lists that specify how they are to be discarded. Some of the most common hazardous materials include asbestos, batteries, pesticides or oils (excluding cooking oils), or medical needles and material. If you have a container for hazardous material in your business you must be careful with how you dispose of it and at times even request for specific disposal services for this material depending on the area that you live in.

POPs or Persistent Organic Pollutants are chemical substances that can remain in the environment and can pose a health risk for humans through bioaccumulation as they enter the food chain. They can also pose a risk to the environment if they are not disposed of properly.

The waste classification code, which is also referred to as the List of Waste or the European Waste Catalogue code, can be used as guidance for classifying the different types of waste that are produced in your premises.

While cataloguing the types of waste the information that you will need to add often includes the type of premises or type of business where the waste was produced, as well as the process that produced the waste. You must also mention the name of the substances that you are disposing of, and at times you might be required to conduct a chemical or physical analysis of the waste so as to best know how to classify and dispose of it. Depending on the information that you have collected you will need to note any special requirements that are necessary for the correct disposal of the items.

If you would like to learn more about differentiating the different types of waste that your business produces you can click here.

What are the different types of Commercial Waste Disposal?

Depending on the type of business that you are running you might be producing completely different types of waste. For example, where a restaurant might mainly be producing organic waste such as food waste whereas, a medical centre might have a number of hazardous materials that it needs to dispose of.

Residual or trade waste is the most common type of waste. It is created every day and is waste that is not recyclable or hazardous. This means that its disposal can be handled by many waste carriers as it does not require as many specialised processes for its disposal.

Food waste, which tends to be organic waste, includes any parts of a food item whether those are edible or inedible. Food waste might have already been cooked and processed or it could be the parts that were disposed of before the process of cooking the food began. This can include bones, animal products, vegetables, seeds, fruits, or any other type of food item that is to be discarded from your business. Depending on where you are located it might be that there is a separate organic food waste bin that you can have within your premises. This is useful as food biodegrades much faster than other types of products, which means that if it is sent to a regular landfill it could lead to further pollution for no reason.

Dry Mixed recycling, is recycling that does not necessarily require the items disposed to be separated into different types of recycling. This makes it easier for businesses to recycle more without having to have multiple different designated recycling spots for each different type of recycling. This means that you can have one single bin for paper, cardboard, plastic, or aluminium. After your recycling has been collected and transported to a Materials Recovery Facility where the different categories of recyclables will be sorted and then recycled according to their type.

One of the most recycled materials in the United Kingdom is glass. Glass is an indefinitely recyclable material and as such often times it needs to be disposed of in its own bin, this allows glass to be taken to the appropriate facility so that it can be recycled.

As described above, hazardous material that need to be disposed of can pose a risk both to the environment as well as, to the health of the public. This is why there are many regulations surrounding the disposal of these materials as well as tests that can be performed to better discern the dangers that each material poses. For Hazardous Waste disposal it might be that you will need specialised support for throwing away the material. It is always sensible to contact your local council to check if there are any specific regulations regarding Hazardous waste disposal in your area.

Clinical waste is one of the types of waste that is most common in medical centres but it can also exist in other types of testing centres, biology labs, or tattoo and piercing parlours. Clinical waste is a type of waste that could lead to the spread of infection if the waste has been contaminated. This type of equipment could include syringes, blades, needles bandages, or dentistry equipment. As this is hazardous waste that could lead to potential health risks for anyone who comes in contact with it, it is crucial that it is disposed of properly and that any waste carrier service that you opt to use is able to discard this waste efficiently and safely.

Waste from your business’ washroom might also need to be disposed of separately. Any residual waste or sanitary toiletry products might need to be disposed of with care for fear of it posing a health risk if it carries any infections.

Your business might have many different types of waste that it is producing and depending on the type of waste that it is you might be required to arrange for different collection and transportation services for the disposal of the different materials. Some Waste might be recyclable while other types of waste might need to be sent to a landfilled. This is why it is important to document the type of waste that your business is producing so that you are better equipped to make the decisions regarding how it will be disposed.

It is also important that you consider how you would like confidential information to be discarded as it often contains confidential information that is not to be shared with a third party. For this, you might need to consider using a paper shredder and depending on the level of security you would like to impose it might be that those documents are able to be disposed of either off-site or on-site.

When considering the types of waste that your business is disposing of it is important to not everything that could be recycled or recovered and used to make energy, rather than send everything to be disposed of in a landfilled. You should always ensure that you do not mix waste as doing so is illegal. It is part of your Duty of Care to ensure that your business is following ethical and environmentally friendly business practices.

If you would like to dispose of your own waste and be your business’s own waste carrier you can do so by registering to become a carrier. For more information, you can click here.

What steps can your business take to take care of its business waste?

1. Understand your waste needs: By understanding your waste needs, which includes both the types of waste that you are disposing of, as well as the amount of waste that your business is producing. Once you have determined those it will become easier to contact your local waste carriers so as to get quotes regarding the cost of disposing of all the waste from your business.

2. Contact a licensed commercial waste collections carrier: Each commercial waste carrier will have different rates that they can offer you for disposing your waste. It might also be that a certain carrier does not have the option of disposing all of the types of waste produced by your company. Through contacting them you will also be able to discuss how often the collection of waste will take place and how the waste will be handled once it is off your premises. They will also recommend a service level and bin size based on the needs of your company.

3. Bin placement and cleanliness: One of the most important things that you can do is ensuring that the placement of your bins does not obstruct the public and more importantly that it could not pose a health hazard to the public or the area that you are in. Do not overfill your bins, if you do overfill them regularly that is a sign that you should renegotiate your contract and bin size as your waste needs are larger than what you previously thought it was. You will also need to arrange for the bins to be kept clean, this could include hiring a cleaning service for your bins.

How much does Commercial Waste Collection Cost?

The cost of Commercial Waste collection will vary based on your location, the type of waste that you are producing, the amount of waste and the company that you choose to go into business with. In general, Commercial Waste Collection can be a significant cost for your business, this is why it is important that you understand your needs and arrange for the most cost-effective and efficient way to dispose of your waste properly.

We recommend that you try getting multiple different quotes for your waste collection. If you have local waste collection carriers it might be best to contact them so as to see whether they would have a service available for you to use -if you would like to know more about why you should choose a local business please click here to learn about supporting your local businesses.

Once you have received multiple different offers you will be able to best determine which waste collection service fits your budget. You will also be able to get an idea of what your local waste collection services tend to offer as part of their contract. If you are unsure of how to deal with certain types of waste, they will be able to assist you with that as well. In this way, you will be able to get the best possible deal for your business.