Waste management and disposal:

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Waste management and disposal:

A best practice business guide


FCC Environment have produced this guide to help you manage your business waste more effectively, understand what waste you are producing and how best to reduce it, monitor it and dispose of it in the most sustainable and cost-effective way possible.

This 4-stage guide is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of a professional approach to business waste management.

Your guide to waste



Stage 1:

Know your waste

Stage 3:

Know your legal


Stage 2:

Apply the Waste Hierarchy

Stage 4:

Measure, Manage and Reduce


Waste isn’t just about what is thrown into a rubbish bin under a desk or at home. 290 million tonnes of waste a year is generated in the UK, and in 2010/2011 50% of this waste went to landfill. The EU Landfill Directive has an aim to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill as much as possible, thereby reducing the negative environmental impacts to soil, groundwater, air and surface water.

The cost of waste is another factor, with most companies unaware of how much waste is costing them. It is not just the disposal costs that should be taken into account, there are also costs for raw materials that have been wasted, energy and labour, costing as much as 4% of your turnover. With the EU Landfill Directive increasing the cost of sending waste to landfill year-on-year from £64/tonne in 2012 to £72/

tonne in April 2013, the way we think about the disposal of waste needs to change. In 2012, Landfill tax collected was £1.1bn, a great deal of which could be avoided through rigorous waste management practices.

Why is it important to manage waste?



Firstly you need to understand what types of waste you produce.

It can come in many forms such as:

Stage 1:

Know your waste


waste Paper and

cardboard Plastics Glass

Metals WEEE Hazardous

and clinical Food


You may have only a few of these waste

streams or most of them, depending on the size and type of your business. However there are a few simple steps you can take to identify what your waste is and how it is being disposed of around the site.

Stage 1: Know your waste

Brainstorm each area of the business

List the types of materials being disposed of in each area

Where are they currently being disposed of?

Are there separate bins for recycling?

What is happening to any food waste?

Is there a contingency for electrical items?

Create flow charts and maps of current processes to help you identify gaps (if any) in your processes

CLICK HERE for more information


This should enable you to have a clear picture of how your waste is being managed and where you can start to make improvements.

For example, are recycling materials going into the general waste bins – see figure 1

The non-recyclable material

* Residual is any material that DOES NOT fall into the following…

• Paper and cardboard

• Newspapers

• Plastic films

• Plastic bottles

• Steel and aluminium cans


• Glass

• Food or kitchen waste

• Polystyrene

• Wood

Contents of an average bin

Residual Waste*

Kitchen waste, polystyrene, etc…

Wood Glass D.M.R.

Paper, cardboard, plastics, cans, shrink wrap, newspapers

Stage 1: Know your waste

Removing your recycling from your general waste bin will ensure you see an

immediate saving in your waste disposal costs.

Figure 1


Good Practice starts before recycling:

introducing the Waste Hierarchy

As waste has become more and more of a problem, and non-renewable resources become harder to justify, a new model – based upon the EU Waste Framework Directive [2008/98/EC] – has emerged to improve the approach businesses take to waste. The

nearer the top of this hierarchy, the better your resource efficiency.

Stage 2:

Apply the Waste


The Waste Hierarchy

Prevention Preparing

for reuse Recycling

Other recovery



In the first instance, more careful procurement helps to prevent the creation of waste.

Applying the waste hierarchy when you transfer waste, and adhering to the Duty of Care will help to improve your environmental profile and make best use of the waste

you create. A credible waste management company should support you with this and provide management reports to allow you to monitor and create positive action.

Recycling and Recovery

A credible waste management company will further refine your waste to prevent as much material being landfilled, reducing your costs and in some instances generating electricity and hot water.

Recycling viable materials

Materials Recycling Facilities (MRFs) are used to sort waste into specific categories, to bale it and send it on to approved suppliers to be made into new, recycled materials depending on whether the sorted waste is plastic, metal, materials or paper among others.

Stage 2: Apply the Waste Hierarchy


Composting green waste

Using the latest technology enables waste management companies to extract the

maximum value from collected and processed compostable waste. Compost plants use

different methods for different materials, resulting in a range of products that can be used to restore landfill sites, manufacture top quality compost for the retail sector or for local authority partners.

Composting methods

Windrow composting

Waste is shredded and heaped into long windrows, with the composting process taking up to 10 weeks.

Pod composting

A pod holds around 150 tonnes of material and is fed a controlled air supply from external fans to maintain composting conditions.

In-vessel systems

Kitchen waste has to be composted in an enclosed environment. Systems that compost in this way include vertical units, housed windrows, clamps and tunnels.

Stage 2: Apply the Waste Hierarchy


Stage 2: Apply the Waste Hierarchy


to view FCC’s interactive energy from waste presentation

Green energy

Much of today’s thinking is based on generating green energy and the best ways to achieve this include:

• Energy for waste plants that generate electricity or heat

• Generating power via an alternative fuel using energy crops

• Using wind to generate wind energy with wind farms


Waste disposal legislation

According to DEFRA, the UK generates around 290 million tonnes of waste a year. Because this is unsustainable, the government continues to put measures in place that support reductions in this figure.

From perspectives including financial,

operational and reputational, the legislation is involved and wide-ranging, the ultimate aim being to move towards a zero waste economy.

There are different laws and requirements for waste that can go to landfill, for the treatment of hazardous waste, for liquid and soil treatment and for clinical waste.

Guidance and interventions are available from statutory and industry bodies to make it easier for businesses like yours both to achieve compliance, and to take the practical steps necessary in reducing the production of waste.

See our guide to ‘Useful websites, papers and other resources’ at the end of this document.

Many businesses have taken up the challenge, and have taken steps to reduce their waste and recycle more. Where others struggle, government and stakeholders provide all the support and advice needed to implement as many measures as possible, and to provide appropriate services and products.

Stage 3:


your legal



These range from the things you’d expect, such as access to a wide choice of bin and container sizes, to the things you wouldn’t necessarily think of first, like planning for waste collection trucks to take the most efficient routes when they’re out and about.

Duty of Care

is a legal responsibility that outlines the need to take all reasonable steps to keep waste safe and to prevent it causing pollution or harming anyone. You are also required to ensure that anyone authorised to take it away can transport, recycle or dispose of it safely. Every responsible business owner needs to be aware of relevant legislation and compliance.

Stage 3: Know your legal responsibilities

CLICK HERE to download the Duty of Care


Waste disposal and

added operational value

The actual cost of waste is more than just the cost of the materials you discard and don’t use.

It takes in the inefficient use of raw materials, the unnecessary use of energy, water and man hours. A figure that is, on average, around 4–5%

of turnover can in reality be as high as 10%.

The Envirowise publication Measuring to manage: the key to reducing waste costs, outlines six practical steps you can take to reduce the costs involved in waste management and disposal.

A focused approach to managing your waste output will begin by identifying both the types and amount of waste you are producing as a business, and cross-referencing these with the relevant legislative requirements. This can only really be achieved by making an inspection of your site and by finding out who is responsible for each waste management process and where the waste goes.

Ideally, you will then be in a position to talk to an objective third-party about a waste management and disposal strategy that begins to add business value rather than taking costs from your bottom line. Once you have a plan and appropriate partners in place, you’ll start to see the benefits to your business, your people and the wider environment, reducing costs and enhancing your brand reputation.

Stage 4:


Manage and



A waste management strategy will incorporate the flexibility to accommodate changes in legislation, raw materials, price differentials and customer demand. To achieve stakeholder buy-in at the outset, your strategy will need to demonstrate:

• How it is going to save money by reducing material use and waste generation

• How it achieves compliance with all relevant legislation

• Improve management of materials and waste

• Compliance with Duty of Care

Clearly there are many variables to consider, including the size and nature of your business, statutory and local authority guidelines, and the facilities and partners available in your region.

Asking for advice is the first step in a

process that will improve your sustainability credentials, your bottom line and your customers’ assessment of your business products, services and goals. Support agencies including Envirowise, NetRegs, DEFRA and many others have invested

significantly in resources that you can access that answer questions focused on your

individual requirements.

Stage 4: Measure, Manage and Reduce


Accounting for waste

The initial step is to identify how much waste your company is generating and the costs involved.

• Undertake a simple walk around waste audit – looking at each key area and identifying what wastes exist

• Examine your utility and other receipts to estimate the costs of waste

• FCC Environment offer a free waste audit, call 0844 736 9990 to book yours

Comparing your performance

Use industry guides (such as the Benchmarking guides from Envirowise), trade association guidance and good practice examples to compare your performance with others in your sector. Look at the environmental reports published by others in your sector (many are online at www.corporateregister.com).

Identify waste minimisation opportunities

Walk around the site looking for areas where waste is being generated and talk to key personnel, especially those who operate each stage of the process. From this practical information, develop a high level plan of ideas to take to senior management.

The six steps to reducing waste costs (Envirowise GG414)

Stage 4: Measure, Manage and Reduce

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3


Commitment to action

When you have made your high level plan, you are ready to present your case to senior management. Convince them of the potential cost benefits of reducing waste and obtain their commitment to providing the necessary resources for implementing a waste minimisation action plan. Start building a team and holding brainstorming sessions with staff to generate ideas for ways to improve performance and competitiveness.

Taking action to reduce waste

Take your high level plan and turn it into an action plan. Start by identifying obvious areas of waste reduction where immediate and substantial savings can be achieved by implementing no-cost and low-cost measures.

Also look for sector specific guides on particular themes, e.g. water, packaging, solvents, or specific concerns of your industry.

Use meters to obtain accurate data and ensure that they are checked regularly. Implement good housekeeping measures, including a checklist, for every area.

Recognising success and maintaining momentum

Return to your original assessment and

consider your achievements. Feed these back to staff and senior management. You now have the basis for continuous improvement and can review your progress at regular intervals.

CLICK HERE to view the supporting documentation

Stage 4: Measure, Manage and Reduce

Step 4 Step 5 Step 6


Your waste

management strategy:


principles into practice

Like all things, acknowledging that there might be a different way of doing things is the first step. With the right support, and from financial, operational and environmental perspectives, an effective waste management strategy will more than repay the investment of time and effort you put into it. An appropriate strategy will incorporate the flexibility to accommodate changes in legislation, raw materials, price differentials and customer expectations.

You’ll be able to demonstrate to the

stakeholders that your waste management strategy will:

• Save money by reducing material use and waste generation

• Meet compliance with all relevant legislation

• Improve your management of materials and waste, and takes in duty of care requirements

An annual waste audit will help you to report back on achievements and keep track of your waste management successes.


Waste stream management the FCC

Environment way

An effective waste management and disposal strategy will incorporate measures to deal with every type of waste your business will generate, whatever the industry sector.

At FCC Environment, we use the latest

technology, and operate a range of specialist facilities to handle many types of waste. These facilities include: Material Recycling Facilities, Energy from Waste plants, Composting Centres, Biological Waste Treatment units and our Hazardous and Clinical Waste Treatment plants. As well as scheduled collections, we offer a comprehensive range of waste services designed to save your business time and money in the long run.

Unlike many of our big competitors, our teams and facilities are based locally, so we’re always on hand to help. You’ll never find us using national call centres.

The information we’ve provided here can be seen as a guideline for action. To put a more formal plan together call us for a FREE waste audit on 0844 736 9992, we’ll be more than happy to answer your questions.



How can I recycle more?

The first step is to know your waste, once you understand what waste you produce then you can separate the recyclable materials. You may also have an unusual waste stream that currently goes to landfill, but may be of use to other companies in their processes. A good quality waste management company will be able to assist you in exploring all of your options.

What happens to my waste once it is collected?

With good quality waste management companies waste no longer goes direct to landfill. Once your waste is collected it will be sent to a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) to further recover materials. Any materials that are not able to be recovered through this process are converted into fuel for energy from waste facilities. As a final resort once the

How can I reduce my costs?

The most effective way to reduce your costs is to recycle more and reduce the amount of waste that you put into the general waste bin. Once you understand the waste that you produce you can start to ensure rigorous segregation, through staff education and continuously monitoring the waste you produce.

What is a Duty of Care, how long do I need to keep it?

A Duty of Care document is a legal

responsibility that outlines the need to take all reasonable steps to keep waste safe and to prevent it causing pollution or harming anyone. You are also required to ensure that anyone authorised to take it away can transport, recycle or dispose of it safely.

Every responsible business owner needs to be aware of relevant legislation and compliance.


What do all the acronyms mean?

As with all industries there is a great deal of acronyms. FCC Environment have produced a handy guide to all of the most common acronyms used within the waste industry.

CLICK HERE to download it now

How much is Landfill tax?

Landfill tax is currently £72 per tonne, it rose on 5th April 2013 from £64 per tonne and following the landfill tax escalator the tax is set to rise to

£80 per tonne in April 2014. The government is currently in consultation about any future rises beyond these outlined.

What is the Waste Hierarchy?

The Waste Hierarchy is a framework created to analyse your waste streams and provides a number of filters which you can apply to reduce your waste:

• Prevention: changing a manufacturing process or product design to remove that waste stream completely

• Preparing for Re-use: internally treating the waste e.g. cleaning for internal re-use or use by another party

• Recycling: taking the disposed material and converting it back into a raw material

• Other Recovery: using the calorific value of the waste to generate energy in Energy from Waste Plants

• Disposal (using a legally compliant

contractor): some materials currently cannot be processed by any of the methods above (e.g. hazardous waste) and so disposal is the only method available

What is a Waste Audit?

A waste audit provides an understanding of the waste arising from every element of your business operation. It should take the form of review of all business processes and understand (by business area): the waste type, the volume and the final bin location.

The output should be a report that allows the business to understand the waste created and take action to reuse, reduce and recycle prior to any collection.

What can I put in the recycling bin?

Most waste management companies define recyclables as plastic bottles, plastic films, newspapers, cardboard, paper, steel and aluminium cans. These can be segregated upon collection through materials

recycling facilities.



Why should I recycle?

There are many reasons why recycling is beneficial from a global sustainability perspective, but for you as a business there are strong economic reasons for recycling.

Due to the recycled value of many materials waste companies are able to offset some of their costs of collection against revenue generated by selling the recyclable material, meaning that a bin of recyclable material is considerably cheaper than a general waste bin. If you can improve your internal recycling through reuse then your overall cost of raw materials will reduce.

How do I switch suppliers?

First you will have to understand who your current supplier is and your contractual position, with respect to notice periods, is with them. Once you have this information you will be able to engage with a new supplier and organise for a waste audit and then discuss the new pricing structure.

What are EWC?

European Waste Code provides a standard description of each waste stream allowing the whole industry to understand the specific waste arising from your operation and determine relevant processing solutions.



Did you know?

Glass is 100%

recyclable and can be endlessly recycled

with no loss in quality On average,

every family in the UK uses 330 glass bottle

and jars each year

Carpets can be recycled into equestrian surfaces

for race tracks and training areas

Cooking oil from home can be used to generate electricity and sold back

to the National Grid to power homes

The energy saving from recycling one glass bottle will power a 100

watt light bulb for almost an hour

It takes just 25 two litre pop bottles to make one adult size

fleece jacket

70% less

energy is required to recycle paper

compared with making it from raw



Check list:

What to do now

Stage 1

Complete an audit of the waste that you produce

Check your current methods of disposal Understand if employees are carrying out

correct procedures

Stage 2

Have you understood the waste hierarchy?

Begin to implement the waste hierarchy for your business and ensure employees are aware of it

Understand how the waste hierarchy will help your company’s environmental profile

Stage 3

Check you understand your legal responsibilities

Are you familiar with the basics of waste legislation?

Make sure your business is aware of the

‘Duty of Care’

Stage 4

Identify ways of improving your waste disposal methods

Begin to put together a waste management strategy

Understand how much money your waste management strategy will save your business

And Finally

Ensure all employees are aware of your new waste management strategy

Check that employees have got involved and feel part of the process

Find out if you need to implement any training sessions

Remember to manage your waste strategy on a regular basis and recognise where improvements and savings can be made




papers and

other resources


www.gov.uk/government/policies/reducing- and-managing-waste


www.environment-agency.gov.uk www.ciwm.co.uk




The following resources are available if you require further information on reducing your waste costs:

WRAP – Applying the Waste Hierarchy

Zero Waste Scotland – Measuring to Manage Resources & Waste

WRAP – Finding Cost Savings: Resource Efficiency for SMEs

Check list

Find out more at