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Waste management aids environmental control

There is a major push from all sectors and governments to improve the environment and remove wastes which get into the food chain and the water we drink, writes Richard Heath of the Cast Metals Federation.

The UK is running out of landfill sites – the current ones are filling up and the number of sites that can receive hazardous wastes are getting fewer as the government or local authorities seek to reduce them.

Added to this, it costs a lot of money to get rid of waste materials and this can be a significant cost to businesses. So, how can we take small simple steps to reduce the amount of waste we produce, cutting our costs of disposal, improving our carbon footprint and reducing the physical impact on the environment?


The impact of housekeeping

One step we can take sounds too simple, yet it has a big impact on what we do – we improve our housekeeping.

Ensuring that all stocks and stores of items have a place to be stored when not in use, and they are routinely placed there, improves stock control. So, the risk of over-purchasing items because we think we have run out is eliminated.

Segregation of materials that can be recycled, rather than taking the easy option of putting everything into the same skip, can help as there are some businesses that will take re-usable waste as raw materials for their process – sometimes for free (except for haulage costs). This reduces the total waste sent to landfill and the associated price at the weighbridge of the landfill site.

If skips were correctly covered, so that when it rained they did not fill with water, we would not be paying for sending water to landfill. Wet materials also often swell up, thus reducing the amount that the skip will hold. This means more skip lorries, more trips to landfill and more receipts. Plus, more carbon is indirectly added to our business footprint.

Packaging is also another resource to consider. As we’ve all seen in the media, reducing single-use packaging has a big impact on the levels of waste we produce. 

Appropriate process control is also important. The correct calibration/optimisation of processes and equipment ensures that minimum levels of binders necessary to achieve good mould strength can be achieved, leading to bottom line savings for instance. 

All of these simple measures can directly improve the environmental performance of our businesses, reduce costs and improve sustainability.

We can be very good at over-complicating what we do and getting nowhere fast, when in fact, simple changes, embedded into the operation of the business, can have a big impact. Improving our performance by tackling waste keeps items out of landfill and offers savings to the bottom line for businesses, all of which is in our best interests.

Contact: Richard Heath Prof MICME at the Cast Metals Federation, Tel: +44 (0) 121 601 6392, email: [email protected]