Get it out of your system - can your IT systems manage your waste effectively? Ours can

Emily Hare, Consultant, discusses the pressures on organisations to prove where their waste is going to their customers, and the benefits of a reporting system to track waste compliance and collections.

Over the past few months there has been growing pressure from the public and media for businesses and local authorities to not only know where their waste goes but to share this information with their customers.

Duty of care requires all waste producers to ensure their waste is lawfully stored, transported and treated. In practice this can be challenging, especially if your contractors subcontract out the work, use bulking stations or material recovery facilities (MRFs). It can also be argued that any contamination from your recycling end destination should be recorded. Subcontracting out work is not a bad thing; it is an effective strategy to ensure the most environmentally friendly and cost efficient process takes place.

What do people want to know?

This depends on the industry; businesses within the food and drink industry, for example, are under a lot of pressure to demonstrate the steps they are taking to reduce food waste. Having access to a reporting system that can pull out all waste collections from stores or factories and show what food waste has gone where can be hugely beneficial. Such a system can help these businesses go one step further and track how much waste is being diverted from anaerobic digestion and redistributed to charities.

For local authorities (LAs), being able to demonstrate an auditable trail for residents’ recycling and waste is really important, as they regularly receive requests for this information. As a result, an increasing number of LAs have signed up to the End Destinations of Recycling Charter.

The waste material that has recently attracted a large amount of attention is plastic, particularly single-use and packaging. This has resulted in the Government announcing the introduction of a Deposit Return System (DRS) in England and a consultation by the Treasury for a single use plastic tax. Furthermore, many retailers and brand owners have already set targets to reduce their plastic packaging or increase its recyclability.

This has also led many trade associations to renew or create environmental targets for members to work towards, such as the BRC’s latest set of targets, which have been published in “Better Retail Better World”. These targets are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

What the best targets and goals have in common are a well thought out purpose, based on reliable and accurate data and information, with an auditable system to track progress.

How can you demonstrate what you’re doing?

We already help a number of businesses to achieve their targets with our Rio – Sustainability Platform. We can help provide evidence for environmental claims, such as achieving Zero Waste to Landfill. This is done by gathering waste collection data from all contractors and presenting the full waste picture.

As part of this service we will also collect any documentation required for Duty of Care obligations, which means that organisations can manage waste data and waste compliance using one system. Having this information and data in one place means you will know where your waste goes to for final treatment and keeps your house in order.

Any issues that occur will be highlighted, which means they can be addressed quickly. For example, if a compactor breaks down you will have to change where your waste goes and associated costs will need to be considered. You should also record all adhoc collections and deviations from the normal process to not only ensure your business remains compliant, but to also demonstrate a truly responsible attitude to your waste and the impact it has on the environment.

The ability to demonstrate compliance and practices beyond meeting legal requirements will help to satisfy consumers and service users.

If you would like further information about a system which can help you to manage your waste requirements, please call 03450 682 572 or email me at [email protected]