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Questions to ask a waste management company

Questions to ask a waste management company

Dear Wheelie Bins... I’ve just started a business and I know we’re legally obliged to manage our waste. We have begun looking around for a waste contractor and we’d like to know what kind of things we should be asking them. We’d like to have peace of mind that we’re compliant with the law as well as building a reputation for being a company that cares about the environment. Can you suggest any questions to ask a waste management company?

Every business produces and has rules around managing and disposing of that waste. While it’s important to abide by the law, proper waste management will give help you lower your carbon footprint and reduce costs too.

What the law says about business waste

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 sets out the regulations around business waste management. The law says that businesses of all kinds have a duty of care to store and dispose of waste safely and correctly. Waste can include:

  • Electronics and furniture
  • Oils (industrial or cooking)
  • Packaging
  • Cigarette butts
  • Recyclable waste like paper and cardboard
  • Any other waste that’s produced

For businesses that flout the rules, there can be serious penalties. You could get a fine or even be imprisoned in the most serious cases. The heftiest fines and prison time are reserved for breaches like illegally dumping business waste or failing to have an appropriate place to store waste. Particularly if you have received a prior warning about it. To avoid these negative consequences for your business, you need to either put processes in place to manage your waste yourself, or hire a waste company to do it for you.

Questions to ask a waste management company

When you search for a waste contractor, don’t just look for someone who’s going to take away your waste. Think of it as a partnership and look for a company that’s efficient, trustworthy, and cares about the environment as much as you do. When you’re getting those initial quotes, here are the things you need to ask:

How flexible are you?

Say your business has definite busy periods at certain times of the year, or you get an unexpected rush and produce more waste. How easy would it be for them to carry out extra collections?

How good are you when it comes to reporting?

What you can measure, you can manage. Will your waste management company produce regular reports detailing how much waste they collected and where it ended up? Having detailed reports every month will allow you to see how much waste you’re disposing of and where there’s room for improvement. It will also give you peace of mind that you’re fulfilling your legal obligations.

What do other similar businesses have to say about you?

This is one of the really important questions to ask a waste company. Are they trusted by other companies of a similar size and do they offer the exact waste management service you need? For example, hazardous waste disposal?

Can you help our business improve waste management and recycling?

What do they offer over and above just taking your waste away? Do they offer waste audits, recycling awareness sessions, or similar to help you cut costs and improve your environmental credentials?

How high are your environmental standards?

You need to know where your waste is going when it’s collected. If you want to maintain high environmental standards as a business, you should choose a waste management company that does the same. Ask how much waste they send for recycling as standard. The aim should always be to avoid sending waste to landfill; this is costly for the planet and for you!

We hope we’ve shed some light on the questions to ask a waste management company to ensure you keep costs down and manage your waste well. For more interesting articles on business waste and recycling, check out the rest of our blog or check out some of top articles, including;

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