Waste Audit

No matter what kind of business you run, you’re going to produce some form of waste through your daily operations. From food waste to pharmaceutical waste – as a business owner, it is your responsibility to put the appropriate measures in place that allow you to manage your waste and dispose of it safely and securely.

One way in which you can achieve this is by completing a waste audit.

What is a waste audit?

A waste audit, sometimes referred to as a waste stream audit, is an examination of your waste, that focuses on the type and volume of waste you are producing during a given timeframe. Typically, a waste audit is completed over a single week. This can draw attention to any mistakes you may be making when it comes to waste disposal, such as failing to separate specific products. Following this, your auditor will be able to provide you with expert advice to help promote waste minimisation and segregation within your business. This can be achieved by:

    Educating staff on how to segregate waste streams.
    The provision and placement of appropriate waste containers on site.
    Guidance on creating a waste disposal plan that functions appropriately, in accordance with the duty of care standards.
    Implementing changes that can allow you to reduce your costs, while reducing the amount of waste you send to landfill sites.

Why conduct a waste audit?

It’s better for the environment. Once a waste audit has been completed, we’ll provide you with the resources you need to take on a more environmentally friendly approach to waste disposal. For example, we can provide you with a range of colour-coded bins – which will make separating waste easy and reduce the chance of waste ending up in the wrong place.

You can reduce your costs. Whenever you have to send business waste to a landfill site, you must pay an additional tax on top of normal landfill fees, this is known as a landfill tax. You can reduce these additional fees by finding new ways to minimise the amount of waste you send to landfill, such as implementing a strict recycling policy.

Furthermore, at BusinessWaste, we pride ourselves on providing our customers with cost-effective waste management solutions.

You can boost your company’s reputation. With environmental agencies often dominating the news, a new trend has been born amongst consumers. This means that customers are more likely to purchase products from companies that demonstrate a clear commitment to protecting the environment. It is not enough to say that you care about the planet – it must reflect in the work that you do.

How do you complete a Waste Audit?

A Six Step Guide.

Step 1 – Understand
The first step towards conducting a successful waste audit is gaining a clear understanding of the waste you produce – this can help you look out for certain trends, and figure out where you need to cut back.

Therefore, before you begin the waste audit process, write a list of the most common types of waste you produce at your facility. This could include:

Cardboard Waste
Plastic Waste
Paper Waste
Dry Mixed Recycling
General Waste
Hazardous Waste
Liquid Waste

Metal Waste
Packaging Waste
Textile Waste
Pharmaceutical Waste
Glass Waste
Waste Oil
Clinical Waste

Step 2 – Time
Decide upon a time to complete your audit. Ideally, this should not be during a particularly busy period as you need to gain an understanding of what your waste is like on an ‘average’ week. During this time, you should push back any waste collections until after the audit is completed as this could interfere with your data.

Following this, you should ensure that you have all of the materials on hand to complete the audit. As you will need to sort through your waste, this means you need to get your hands on the appropriate PPE such as rubber gloves.

Step 3 – Site
The next step in the process involves analysing your site. Throughout the week, you should pay attention to the following:

    The volume of waste you are producing. (i.e how many bags are thrown away on a given day? How often are your internal bins emptied?)
    Where the waste is being stored (i.e are some bins being used more than others?).

At the end of the week, it is time to sort through your waste. The first thing you should do is weigh your waste – as this will give you a clear indication of the amount of waste you typically produce in a given week. You can then use this data to figure out your monthly or yearly output.

Step 4 – Sort
Following this, you should begin to sort through and separate the waste – taking note of any items that have been improperly disposed of. For example, have recyclable items, such as plastics, found their way into your food waste bin?

Learn more about business recycling

Step 5 – Analyse
Once you have sorted through the waste, you can begin to analyse your data. From this, you should be able to figure out the volume of waste you produce in each of the predetermined categories. You will also be able to identify areas of improvement based upon mistakes you are making or items that are often disposed of incorrectly.

Step 6 – Implement changes
The final step towards completing a waste audit is implementing appropriate changes. This could include:

    Increasing the amount of bins you have on site, ensuring that they are colour-coded.
    Adding extra signage to your bins, minimising the risk of items being thrown away incorrectly.
    Altering your waste management plan, and ensuring employees are aware of all changes.
    Finding a way to reduce the amount of waste you produce.

How do you conduct a Food Waste Audit?

Numerous facilities produce large amounts of food waste on a daily basis. This includes:

Bakeries
Catering
Pubs and Bars
Restaurants
Takeaways

Therefore, if you work within the food service industry, you may also need to complete an additional food waste audit. Here’s how.

Choose a time or date to complete your audit. Food audits are typically completed on a shorter timescale (around 3-5 days), to account for healthy and hygiene regulations.

Food waste can be split into three categories. This includes:

    Food Prep (e.g. fruit and vegetable peelings).
    Plate waste. (e.g. food leftover by customers)
    Spoiled Food. (e.g unsold products, food that has expired)

Therefore, in order to better manage your waste across all categories, you should use three separate bins throughout the auditing process. This will allow you to figure out where the majority of your waste is coming from.

At the end of the auditing process, it is time to analyse your data. You should calculate/weigh the amount of waste you have produced in each category, and begin to figure out what changes need to be made.

Implement positive change. Once you have addressed the issues you are facing, you can move towards enacting changes that could save you valuable time and money. For example, you can produce the amount of spoiled food waste you produce by:

    Keeping records of when products are bought, and their corresponding use-by dates.
    Sourcing products with a longer shelf life.
    Managing your stock and only buying exactly what you need.
    Predicting your customer’s purchasing habits (i.e, figuring out when certain items are more likely to be purchased).

Why should I use Business Waste for my waste management?

At Business Waste, we can do the hard work so that you don’t have to. This means that you can focus on running your business, whilst we conduct a thorough observation of your site.

Following this, however simple or complicated your waste requirements are, we’ll manage every aspect for you. From sorting, collection, and treatment, to recycling and final disposal of residual materials, we’ll take responsibility. Get in touch today to find out more!

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