There is an old saying that ‘where there’s muck, there’s brass’ and that is the case now more than ever, as those who deal with its management and disposal, such as Rabbit Group, know well.
Waste is the troublesome by-product of our high and increasing levels of consumption; troublesome because it has to be dealt with and that can be costly, particularly for businesses, which produce far more than the average household – 23% of the total amount of waste produced annually in the UK comes from the commercial and industrial sectors, compared with 11% from households. Now is the time to lift the lid off the dustbin and take a long, hard look at the value of its contents.
Wealth from waste
According to the Local Government Association’s 2014 ‘Wealth from waste’ report, the waste and recycling sector is worth £11 billion and we are getting much better at extracting the huge value that lies in waste, with the strongest growth area being in material recovery. So where does this wealth lie?
In reducing – reducing our levels of consumption in the first place plays a huge part in lowering both costs (by not purchasing what we don’t need or more than we need) and in the amount of waste that then has to be disposed of. Examples include using mugs rather than paper cups, switching off lights and turning off equipment.
In reusing – buy products that can be used over and over again, such as rechargeable batteries, and gain the same benefits as reducing consumption. While you may no longer have a use for an item, there may well be someone or another business who could so consider passing on or selling your unwanted equipment for others to reuse. Also, consider upcycling, repurposing something you consider fit for the bin into something new. Turn pallets into tables and bookshelves, filing cabinets into raised garden beds, office carts into rolling bars, plastic bottles into desk organisers, toilet rolls and old CD cases into cable organisers, bubble wrap into iPad cases, old computer towers into office post boxes. The possibilities are endless.
In recycling – so many items can be recycled these days: plastic, paper, cardboard, glass, cans, wood, ink cartridges, food, oil and even paint, and much more. All can provide revenue if they are clean and uncontaminated, but their value is dependent on the market price of specific materials and transport costs to reprocessors. Make recycling easy by working with a waste management company that offers a one-bin solution and recovers all the recyclable materials, then treats and disposes of non-recyclable materials in an efficient way, minimising environmental impact.
In recovering, reclaiming and repairing – many local authorities offer facilities for getting rid of old electrical and electronic equipment, while some retailers will take back old electrical items when take delivery of a new replacement. Charities and retailers will take old mobile phones and there are repair services to fix your broken iPad, iPhone etc. There is also a market for the components reclaimed from defunct equipment. Rabbit Group reclaims all recyclable materials: soil, bricks and hardcore go to the construction and aggregate industries, metals are sent directly to metal merchants and plastics are bailed prior to going to specialist plastic pre-processors.
In generating energy – having reclaimed all recyclable materials, Rabbit Group then converts the remaining waste into green electricity with the aim of maximising recycling and minimising landfill, and giving your business a more environmentally-friendly status by being associated with a green waste partner. Even the ash produced in this process is recycled into aggregate.
Waste as a resource
There is much that businesses can do to lower the costs associated with the waste they generate. But equally there are opportunities too. WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme) estimates businesses could save up to £1,000 per year per employee and reduce waste costs to only 1% of turnover by improving the way they use resources.