23 May 2018

– Richard Voisey, Nwes Business Consultant

My career has spread across several diverse industries. One sector was the waste industry which at that time was quite straightforward, generally unless it was glass, paper or cardboard it went to landfill. Waste costs were low and lacked focus by businesses.

As a result, the Government of the day in 1996 introduced a Landfill tax, which then in increments increased costs remarkably until it appeared on the agenda of decision makers. This then made the costs of recycling financially as well as ethically viable.

Unfortunately, the westernisation of the world has created huge problems for humans and wildlife, which is now covered in depth through documentaries and new headlines. In the UK, diesel emissions, plastics found in the sea, carrier bags and the humble drinks straw are just a few of the stories getting coverage.

Mindset: Stop Thinking Waste Management – Think Sustainable Materials Management

This is how your business can make the change

A resource management plan is part of an integrated materials management strategy, in which a business makes deliberate decisions about how materials should flow. The plan elements then become specific tactics to deal with specific materials after they’ve been consumed. Those elements include:

  • Prevention
  • Reuse
  • Generation source separation (recyclables and organics)
  • Recovery
  • Collection
  • Transfer
  • Recycling
  • Treatment
  • Disposal


The supply chain has legal and ethical responsibilities to reduce waste and as a business, reducing waste can also be an opportunity to connect with customers through positive PR. I have produced 10 tips that may be helpful when conducting your own waste survey.

  1. Recycling Procedures – How do you manage paper waste, batteries, toner cartridges, IT hardware?
  2. Suppliers – How ethical are they? Are there better alternatives?
  3. Organic Waste – If produced, can you first reduce the creation of it and secondly, find a grateful home for it such as composting or food for others?
  4. Bottled Water – Reusable containers is a simple win.
  5. Paper – Is an electronic copy acceptable?
  6. Cut to Size – In production, are materials being used responsibly? Do offcuts have another use?
  7. Packaging – Is it necessary? Can it be reduced? Can you use recyclable packaging?
  8. Donate – Unwanted equipment, clothing, materials could be made use of by others.
  9. Bulk Purchases – This could save on packaging and travel costs.
  10. Education – Instil the importance to the people around you.


You can make a difference

Outside of the workplace, you can make an impact in your community, at home and in schools.

Find out more. 


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