Guide to awareness of waste sorting in companies

Why sort waste in businesses

Protect the environment

The first and main reason is environmental protection and sustainability. Implementing selective sorting in your company means better managing the large amount of waste it produces. However, companies represent approximately 750 million waste per year: 359 million for construction companies, 90 million for the service and industry sectors, and 374 million for agriculture and forestry.

This is a global issue, in which each company has its role to play. Not participating in the great movement to preserve the planet is in a way contributing to its degradation. Being an actor in the recycling of your company’s waste allows the protection of the soil and our natural resources.

Mobilize your employees

A company’s waste policy primarily concerns employees: 70% of them want to be more involved in their company’s waste management approach and on the subject of waste disposal in particular. Indeed, most company employees do not understand that sorting at their workplace is not at least equivalent to the sorting they do at home.

By encouraging employees to take part in sorting their company’s waste, the latter is driving a movement towards values of ecology, respect and humanity. This can strengthen cohesion in the collective, inspire employees to also sort out their personal lives, and restore motivation to some who will mobilize and take part in these “environmental” activities in the company.

Promote recycling

Sorting waste in the company by separating the different materials to be thrown away makes it easier to recycle later. With suitable sorting, the recycling rate is multiplied by 3.

Thanks to this sorting by the company, more products can be reconditioned for a second life. Indeed, if the sorting is carried out too late, the contact of recyclable materials with food products can prevent their reconditioning. Moreover, if the sorting is badly carried out, these originally recyclable elements can also become unsuitable for their treatment.

If your company does not sort its waste itself, the sorting centers will take care of it at a higher cost for the company.

Save money

Companies have a lot to gain from this transition to sorting professional waste. Particularly at the financial level, beyond avoiding penalties, it is possible to control or even reduce the costs of waste management (check this website for low junk disposal costs).

Raising awareness of waste sorting in companies makes it possible, for example, to fight against waste: however, if you throw away less, you buy less and this reflection on waste leads to an optimization of purchases. Then, the collection of certain waste streams is free, such as used cooking oils or scrap metal, which is however only possible if they are sorted beforehand. Acting on the entire chain of the process can activate a real lever of competitiveness.

Participate in job creation

Thanks to these new waste sorting practices in companies and therefore recycling and circular economy, jobs are constantly created, and the recycling market is growing. The recycling sector could create up to 20,000 jobs in Tennessee by 2030: recycling, reconditioning, repair of end-of-life objects, reuse of materials and also the ecological design of the products.

Companies and administrations in Tennessee collected by a private service or those collected by the public service and producing more than 1,100 liters of waste per week and per location (all waste combined) are required to sort and recycle 5 waste streams:

  • Cardboard / paper (specifically for office paper, sorting of which is compulsory for all establishments with 20 or more office employees, regardless of their total waste production),
  • Metal,
  • Plastic,
  • Drink,
  • Glass.

We now all agree on the need and the benefits of sorting waste in companies both for employees, for the planet and even for the health of finances, we must now set up this selective sorting.

Steps to implement waste sorting in business

Map company waste

The first step is to carry out a complete inventory:

  • Sources of waste: office, workshop, cafeteria, etc.
  • Types of waste: paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, glass, non-recyclable, etc.
  • Waste volumes
  • Dangereous of waste

This phase allows you to have an overview of the different types of waste in the company and, in the short term, to establish a suitable action plan for sorting and processing it.

If you use a specialized service provider to carry out the waste diagnosis, like a dumpster rental company, you can finance some of this service.

Learn about waste management techniques and services

Beyond the regulatory constraints such as the 5 flow Decree seen above, it is important to find out, following the completion of the inventory, about the disposal techniques adapted to each type of waste: storage, collection, recovery, etc.

For example, on this specialized document for construction waste, you will find each type of waste and the appropriate sorting: recycling, landfill, recovery, incineration, landfill, etc. Each company should create a personalized sheet specific to its structure and its waste to easily have in mind how to manage each waste.

The second step is to identify existing local services to manage this waste in the right way. By this, I mean going to inquire with public authorities or specialized private companies, in order to obtain a price range and be able to better plan the management of each waste produced by your company.

Reduce waste production at the source

The best waste is the one that we do not produce. Even if it is essential to learn how to store, collect and recycle company waste, all this at a cost: financial and environmental. The primary goal is therefore to go to the origin of the problem and above all to reduce the production of waste.

Once the diagnosis of the quantity and type of waste in your company has been carried out, reflect internally or with the help of expert(s) on the subject on the avenues that will make it possible to reduce these types of waste. This requires work on prevention. For example, you can establish a repair program for objects, furniture or computer equipment. Or encourage employees to zero waste by switching to reusable as much as possible: cups, mugs, glass tupperware.

Sort and store business waste

In order to facilitate the process, waste must be sorted and stored as soon as it is produced. This will allow them to be better valued afterwards, both internally (reuse or recycling) and externally, via the appropriate organizations identified upstream.

Example: You can provide next to the printer a dedicated tray for draft sheets, so that you and your colleagues can use them for printing work documents.

Organize the collection of company waste

This is the next logical step in waste management: its collection by the public or private organizations most suitable for your business. Organizations often refuse to collect waste when there is too little of it. The easiest way in this case is to pool your waste with that of neighboring companies. It is also an opportunity to raise their awareness of waste sorting in companies or to get to know each other around a positive project for the planet.

Ensure the recovery of company waste

As a reminder, a company, as a producer of waste or holder of waste, is required to manage it or have it managed, in accordance with the regulations in Memphis and Tennessee. It is responsible for them until their elimination or final recovery, even when the waste is transferred for processing to a third party.

The company must prioritize in order:

  • Reuse: see point 3 above Reducing waste production at source
  • Recycling: transforming waste into secondary raw materials that can be used to produce new goods.
  • Other waste recovery: in particular energy recovery or biological recovery for organic waste.
  • Disposal: to be used as a last resort, if no other waste recovery is possible. There are two disposal methods: incineration without energy recovery and storage.

Organize a follow-up of the company’s waste

For this company’s waste management to be optimal, it must be continuously tested and improved. This implies the need for follow-up. Indeed, how to judge the success or failure of an operation without ensuring the follow-up? How can it be improved or malfunctions predicted without results and progress indicators?

In terms of regulations in Tennessee, all companies producing waste are required to establish a chronological register of this waste. In this register, the company is required to trace all operations from collection to recovery or disposal of its waste.

This register must include systematic information, such as the designation of the waste and its European code, the quantities shipped, the qualification of the treatment and the outlet, etc. This must be made available to the State Services in the event of an inspection.

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