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Tips for developing a waste management plan

15 September 2020

In an ideal world every business would have a clearly defined waste management plan, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. If your business doesn’t yet have a plan for its waste production, now’s the time to be proactive.

If you’re serious about reducing, reusing and recycling waste you need a clearly defined plan of action that takes into account government and council regulations. Many businesses recruit the help of a consulting firm with expertise in waste management and planning, while others might choose to go it alone. Either way, any effort you can make in minimising waste is a celebrated first step.

Objectives of a waste management plan

Every plan needs goals and when it comes to a waste management the three main aims are:

  1. To reduce the amount of waste generated
  2. To maximise the amount of material that can be reused, recycled or salvaged
  3. To minimise the waste sent to landfill

Key elements of a waste management plan include:

  • An outline of the project
  • Estimates for the amount of waste expected to be generated
  • A list of the types of waste materials and how they are going to be salvaged, disposed of or recycled
  • An outline of how the materials will be separated and stored 
  • A flow-chart of site operations, which includes actions and responsibilities
  • A plan for evaluating the waste and its recovery

7 tips for implementing a waste management plan

Putting a waste management plan into effect is all about planning and communication. The following elements should be considered:

1. Waste reduction – don’t just plan to manage the waste once it has been created. Think about ways to prevent the generation of waste in the first instance. 

2. Waste streams – recognise which waste streams will be utilised and estimate the amount of waste to be produced. Check out our A-Z of recycled materials.

3. Waste management – consider whether waste will be separated on-site or off-site and what procedures you need in place to do this, for example the number of bins required if implementing an on-site waste separation recycling program.

4. Service providers – you may want to recruit the services of a waste management company or contractor who will arrange the separation and disposal services and provide data on your recycling efforts. Take a look in our Resources directory.

5. Delegate and communicate – make sure that all employees and subcontractors know their recycling obligations when it comes to managing their waste and communicate how your waste management plan will work.

6. Assess – there’s no such thing as ‘set and forget’ when it comes to waste management. Ensure someone is in charge of monitoring the plan and taking note of what is and isn’t working.

7. Evaluate – once the project is completed take the time to evaluate the results of your recycling. Compare the actual data with the estimated figures, gather feedback from those involved and look at what you might do differently in the future to further optimise results.

If you’re not yet convinced about the need to dramatically reduce our waste, take a look at the effect that landfill is having on the environment and human health.

Waste reduction and recycling does take effort, but together we can work towards ‘A World Without Waste’.

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