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How to Develop a Formal Waste Management Policy

Do you know the true cost of waste to your company? Many organizations only consider the cost of waste disposal. However, the actual impact of the waste you generate encompasses everything from the cost of producing the items you use in the office to packaging, storage, hauling of waste, lost revenue, and disposal costs.

While you may understand the need for proper waste management, without a formal policy your best intentions could fall flat, leaving you with an inefficient and costly waste disposal scheme.

Here are six steps to help you develop a formal waste management and disposal policy that brings results. 

Prioritize the Waste Hierarchy

Develop your policy around the waste hierarchy. The waste hierarchy is a tool that helps organizations to prioritize waste management goals based on environmental sustainability.

At the base of the hierarchy is prevention, which is the most preferred method of waste management while disposal in landfills is the least preferred method. In between are options to minimize, reuse, recycle, and recover waste.

Waste management and disposal are more effective when organizations employ an integrated approach to handle the different kinds of wastes produced.

Perform a Waste Audit

A waste audit is a methodical assessment of the quantity and type of waste your organization produces. To achieve waste management goals, consider performing a department-by-department assessment to determine how to allocate resources depending on the wastes each department produces.

Once you perform an audit, you will have a better idea of how your company’s waste management policy should improve.

Identify Strategies for Waste Reduction

Based on the data generated from the waste audit, identify the most sustainable methods for waste reduction and management. Your waste reduction approach should:
  • Prioritize prevention of waste for example by using fewer materials in the workplace and keeping products for longer use.
  • Identify opportunities for minimizing waste by introducing more efficient processes; for example, eliminating single-use plastics, using printing equipment for double-sided prints, and minimizing catering waste at the workplace.
  • Evaluate options for recycling unpreventable waste.
Keep in mind the waste management hierarchy as you develop your strategy.

Set Smart Goals

Establish clear targets to facilitate the implementation and measurement of your policy. Smart goals encompass the following:
  • Specific. Indicate the type and quantity of waste each department produces and the accompanying action steps to minimize waste.
  • Measurable. Explain how waste management and disposal milestones will be evaluated, tracked, and measured.
  • Achievable. Establish practicable goals based on the available resources in your organization.
  • Relevant. Goals should tie into other organizational objectives such as energy cost reduction, community participation, carbon footprint reduction, and related revenue goals.
  • Timely. Include a date for achieving your goals. 
Specific, smart goals will improve your waste management policy.

Procure a Waste Management Company

A reputable waste management company will play a pivotal role in helping your organization streamline and successfully implement its waste disposal policy.

When selecting a waste management company, ask about their collection capacity, how often they can pick up, and how they collect and sort different types of wastes. Don’t forget to ask about costs, experience, and their particular waste disposal strategy to ensure the company engages in sustainable disposal practices.

Evaluate and Report

Use the data collected from the waste audit as a benchmark to measure the progress of your organizational waste management and disposal policy.

Specifically, evaluate the amount and type of waste in tons that your waste management company is collecting from your office as well as the rate at which the waste is collected. Additionally, assess the progress of your waste reduction strategies and identify areas for improvement.

An organizational policy can help to set standards and nurture a culture that values sustainability and waste management best practices. Partner with the experts at MSG Waste & Refuse to implement a waste management and disposal strategy that delivers results and saves you money.