how to conduct a waste audit

How To Conduct A Waste Audit In Your Business

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What Is A Waste Audit?

Businesses today are recognising the critical role they play in sustainability. One of the most effective steps to a greener future is understanding the ins and outs of your waste. But, how can you achieve this? By conducting a waste audit.
A waste audit is the process of examining and analysing the waste generated by an organisation. This is used to understand the volume, type, and source of waste being produced. 
The primary goal of a waste audit is to identify opportunities for waste reduction, improved recycling, and more efficient waste management processes.

7 Steps To Conducting A Waste Audit Successfully

  1. Understand The Purpose
A waste audit isn’t just about ticking boxes. It’s about pinpointing areas for improvement in your waste management processes, ensuring your recycling program is effective, and ultimately, saving money. What are your businesses’ desired outcomes?
  1. Identify Your Waste Stream
Every business produces different types of waste. To conduct a waste audit successfully, begin by categorising the different types of waste your business produces. This might include recyclable plastic waste, organic waste, electronic waste, and more.
  1. Measure, Measure, Measure
It’s not enough to know the types of waste; you need to understand the amount of waste. Even if it seems like only a small amount, over time, it can accumulate. An audit allows you to weigh waste from different departments of your business.
  1. Record Special Events
Special events, whether it’s a big sale or a product launch, often lead to a spike in waste. It’s essential to note these as they can provide insights into waste disposal habits during peak times.
waste audit at a business
  1. Review Waste Disposal Methods
How is your business currently managing waste disposal? Examine your waste management strategies. This includes where waste goes after it leaves your premises and how much of it is diverted from incineration and landfills. 
  1. Spot Opportunities For Waste Reduction
Your audit may reveal that a significant amount of what you throw away is actually recyclable or reusable. By identifying these areas, you can ensure waste diversion from waste-to-energy plants. The process of incinerating releases significant levels of pollution and poses health and environmental risks.
  1. Implement & Monitor
After the audit, design a more effective recycling program tailored to the specific needs and types of waste generated by your business. Regularly monitor the results and adjust as necessary.

Why A Waste Audit Is Essential For Businesses

By understanding the waste stream in your business, you can make informed decisions that benefit the environment and your business. Below are the main advantages of conducting a waste audit:
Cost Savings: By understanding the volume and types of waste generated, businesses can identify opportunities to reduce waste disposal costs. Implementing effective waste management and recycling strategies can lead to significant financial savings in disposal fees.
Environmental Responsibility: A waste audit helps businesses identify the environmental impact of their waste. By reducing waste and increasing recycling efforts, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint, contributing to environmental sustainability.
Regulatory Compliance: Many locations have waste disposal regulations. An audit helps ensure that a business is compliant with these regulations, avoiding potential penalties and improving community relations.
Efficient Resource Use: By identifying the main sources and types of waste, businesses can pinpoint areas where resources are being used inefficiently. This can lead to better resource allocation and reduced waste generation.
Enhanced Corporate Image: Demonstrating a commitment to sustainable practices can bolster a business’s public image. Consumers and stakeholders increasingly value environmentally responsible businesses.
Informed Decision Making: A waste audit provides data-driven insights. These insights enable businesses to make informed decisions about purchasing, operations, and waste management processes, aligning their strategies more closely with sustainability goals.
Employee Engagement: Engaging employees in the waste audit process can foster a culture of sustainability within the organisation. When employees are involved and see the tangible benefits of waste reduction, they’re more likely to participate actively in waste reduction initiatives.
Opportunities for Innovation: The insights from a waste audit can stimulate businesses to innovate, whether in the form of new products made from recycled materials, process improvements, or waste-to-energy solutions.
Financial Returns from Recyclables: Some waste, when recycled, can be a source of revenue for businesses. An audit can help identify these opportunities.
Risk Reduction: Improper waste disposal can lead to environmental contamination and related liabilities. An audit ensures that hazardous or special wastes are identified and managed properly.

Book A Waste Audit With Our Team

A waste audit is not just about understanding waste. It’s a critical tool that equips businesses to be more sustainable, efficient, and financially savvy, while also addressing environmental and regulatory imperatives.
If you need help auditing your waste please get in touch with our expert team. Whilst Plastic Expert is a specialist plastic recycling company, we also collect and recycle a range of plastic materials, cardboard, paper and even hazardous waste. Our business also offers recycling equipment to help you manage waste, earn rebates and reduce collections.
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