Waste management is one of the major expenditures for businesses. Without an appropriate waste management strategy, businesses may have to spend anywhere between 4 and 10% of their annual turnover on storage, transport and disposal of office waste.
Cost of waste
More than 40 million tonnes of industrial and commercial waste was generated in the U.K. in 2016. The estimated waste generation in England for 2017 and 2018, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, was 36.1 and 37.2 million tonnes respectively.
The total cost of office waste disposal is considerable when landfill tax, gate fees, bin hire, waste collection and transfer charges are combined. The landfill tax, which was till recently was at £91.35 per tonne, has increased to £94.15 per tonne as of April 1, 2020. The ‘gate fees’ refers to the charges levied by the local waste processing facility for the quantity of waste it receives for disposal. According to the WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), the median landfill gate fee in the UK is £24 per tonne. Gate fees can also vary regionally, based on the capacity of the local waste disposal facility. With the landfill capacity reducing in the coming years, the gate fees are likely to increase further.
The cost of waste disposal also depends on the type and quantity of waste your office generates.
Under the government’s latest plan, businesses are legally obliged to cover the cost of disposal of the waste they generate. A higher fee will have to be paid if the waste includes materials that are difficult to recycle or reuse.
The costs do not only relate to waste collection, storage and disposal but also to the impact on the environment. Even as global efforts are focused on carbon emission reduction, London has set a target of increasing the waste recycling rate to 60% and to make the city a zero waste area. Improper waste disposal and overburdening of landfill leads to a rise in greenhouse gas emission and particulate matter that contaminate air and water. These contaminants impact wildlife, apart from causing numerous health problems in humans.
The best solution towards mitigating these costs is to upcycle business waste to an optimal extent.
What is upcycling?
Recycling and upcycling are ways to reduce waste that reaches the landfill, which helps cut down drastically on greenhouse gas emissions such as methane or dioxin.
Upcycling is a type of recycling where old materials or products are turned into new ones of higher quality. Recycling is an industrial process where waste is transformed into a different raw material for making new products.
Upcycling is ‘creative recycling,’ where creativity is used to make products of higher value from the original product or material. Valuable objects are created from waste with a combination of art, science and imagination. Some examples of creative upcycling are to use old furniture to make a treehouse or convert containers into art collectables.
Office waste that can be upcycled or recycled
The typical wastes that businesses generate can include:
• Office paper
• Shredded paper
• Printed materials such as leaflets, magazines, flyers, coloured paper and newspaper
• Confidential reports/papers
• Plastic bottles and other plastic items
• Printer cartridges
• Electrical equipment
• Drink and food cans
• Bulky items such as sofa, furniture, refrigerator, TV
• Green waste from garden/kitchen
• Hazardous waste, such as chemical solvents, asbestos, or other toxic compounds
• Building site waste
Strategies to reuse and upcycle office waste
Apart from reducing consumption of paper, plastic, cardboard and other waste materials, here are some tips on upcycling your office waste with a dash of creativity.
Reuse or repurpose old office equipment. You can create quirky pen holders using old floppy disks, metal cans, or plastic bottles.
Plastic and glass bottles can be painted and used as flower vases, pencil holders, magazine stands, or as planters.
An easy and quick way to upcycle plastic bottles is to convert them into soap bottles by adding a soap dispenser spout.
Evaluate other office waste articles, including IT equipment, furniture and cardboard and explore ways to creatively upcycle and reuse these materials. Furniture, for instance, can be polished, upholstered, or repurposed, while cardboard boxes can be converted into beautiful desk organisers or storage boxes. With frames attached, cardboard can also be turned into display or signboards.
Choose to buy recycled, upcycled or reused products for your office to transform it into a sustainable workplace.
Hire a licensed, responsible office clearance company in London who is well-versed in reuse and recycling of office waste products, including building site waste.
The benefits of hiring the top office clearance company in London
Business waste management not only causes a huge dent in your bottom line but demands a dedicated workforce and training to handle waste responsibly.
Partnering with a professional office clearance company in London that provide services in areas such as Bromley, Beckenham, Bexley, Greenwich, Lewisham, and so on helps you not only avoid the huge expenses related to waste management but frees up valuable time for your employees who can then focus on core business tasks. The environmental benefit of upcycling and recycling office waste is one of the most important benefits of hiring an experienced office clearance expert.
The reduced cost of waste management, combined with increased staff productivity, results in increased profits, apart from giving your business a definite competitive advantage. Leading rubbish clearance companies in London can ensure you get the best value from waste management and helps you avoid penalties that are linked to non-compliance with government mandates on business waste management.
With growing awareness among consumers of environmental impact and the critical need to upcycle and recycle office waste, they are increasingly choosing ‘green’ and sustainable products. Communicating your commitment to sustainability issues on social media and at community events or displaying a certificate on your environmental performance in your office can help increase appreciation for your products and services.
The right office waste management company can help you save costs, time and labour associated with business waste management while providing you with the market advantage and boosting your reputation.