In recent times the disposal of waste has evolved from being a service that you merely pay someone to perform into a new and significant revenue source. It all depends on your knowledge of the market, your ability to integrate specialised channels to form the optimum supply chain, and at a strategic level, your ability to achieve ‘zero to landfill’.
Success demands efficient management as well as knowledge. Apart from financial incentives there are the punitive inducements levied by ever changing statutory requirements. The power to enforce these has moved from the courts directly to the Environment Agency who is energetically exercising its newfound authority.
The consequences of non-compliance range from on-the-spot fines of £2,500 for poor clerical administration, to custodial sentences for individuals within companies who flout the law – such is the government’s determination to reduce instances of poorly managed waste in the UK. The positive approach is therefore to design and implement an effective waste management regime, future proofing your company by anticipating regulatory changes and profiting from the commodity value of well managed waste.
Turning policy statements into actions
Many companies produce an environmental and waste management policy but fail to take responsibility for turning it into operational procedures that benefit the company on a daily basis. Managers fail to prosecute policy objectives because either, they lack the requisite expertise and resource or there are too many other operational issues taking priority.
The benefits of partnering with a waste management specialist
The cost of building a management infrastructure with in-house expertise is prohibitive for many companies. By collaborating with a waste management specialist (WMS), you can build a virtual infrastructure at a fraction of the cost. More importantly this enables you to achieve inspirational goals without distracting management from the core business.
Tactical versus strategic approach
If you are not effectively turning policy into procedure, where do you start? You could begin with an audit to assess how waste is currently managed. You may find a specialist who will provide a free audit such as a ‘gap analysis’ which will prioritise the actions you need to take immediately to minimise your exposure in the light of current regulatory changes. A WMS will help you build a supply chain of specialist contactors who pay best prices for waste materials and ensure the waste is prepared in a manner that optimises your revenue. Even food substances used by anaerobic digesters produce valuable products such as animal feed, fertilisers and fuel.
At a strategic level waste management specialists work with the management of organisations to format and implement strategic objectives such as ‘zero to landfill’, revenue optimisation and cost minimisation. This involvement can encompass project management, staff education and legislative alerts to ensure a highly efficient operation that continually complies with legislative changes, contributes to the bottom line on an on-going basis and enhances brand value.
A waste management partner can ensure that your organisation moves from one stage to the next without increasing costs because each stage can become self funding. Furthermore, when companies are seeking to achieve accreditations, such as ISO 14001, accreditation bodies generally prefer to see an independent WMS undertaking the assessments rather than the company doing them in-house because the WMS is less likely to be influenced by familiarity.
Use legislation to best advantage
Without an effective waste management system in place it is extremely difficult to keep ahead of the law and surprisingly easy to be caught out by a hefty fine. Many companies have no real understanding of existing or proposed legislation which has to be interpreted in the context of their business and within different autonomies such as Scotland, Northern Ireland and England & Wales.
Companies fail to realise how frequently standard regulations such as WEEE and the Environmental Act change. This year alone has seen eight new or revised pieces of legislation affecting England and there will be ten affecting Northern Ireland. Monitoring change requires dedicated time and legal expertise to ensure your company responds effectively. Two significant changes to the Controls Waste Regulations will become enforceable in October and carry fines of £50,000. The Environment Agency will now target individuals responsible for waste as well as the company. Even small transgressions can prove costly. Waste Transfer Notes for instance are notoriously mismanaged. The Waste Transfer Note from a contractor should include full waste hierarchy details along with all addresses and SIC code. The Environment Agency is now insisting on having full details about where the waste came from, where it is going and the nature of the materials, whether metal, plastic, paper, wood, liquid or solid. From September full notes will derigor and if an on-the-spot check reveals omissions these small oversights can cost transgressors £2,500 or more.
In this respect a WMS will reduce your risk exposure by monitoring legislation, advising and helping you implement appropriate changes. Some waste management specialists also provide a ‘cradle to grave’ service, monitoring the life cycle of waste from its origins through to its final destination what ever this may be and will ensure that your waste is handled by correctly licensed contractors throughout the supply chain. For instance waste management specialists are already helping multinational companies work towards ‘zero to landfill’.
Every type of business can benefit from implementing an improved waste management process. An excellent starting point is to ask a WMS to conduct a gap analysis. Some waste management specialists offer this as a free service and you can use the results to test the efficiency of your current waste management activities.
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