What Is Waste Management —and Why Is It Important?

What Is Waste Management? A Simple Definition

Contrary to popular belief, waste management involves more than the disposal of waste. Instead, it encompasses every activity that helps the reduction of waste. 

Rather than chucking waste away, total waste management practice is more about analysing and improving waste statistics. 

Waste professionals track waste throughout the entire lifecycle of a product, from sourcing to disposal. 

The goal is to increase the product’s lifecycle and reuse and recover materials where possible. At the end of life, the aim should be to create a valuable resource through responsible disposal of rubbish. 

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Read our article ‘Waste Management Should Be So Much More Than Emptying the Bins’

The term applies to any form of waste, whether it be a solid, liquid or gas. It’s also applicable to both commercial and household waste. Out of the two, commercial waste is under more scrutiny, given the volume of waste companies produce, and the presence of dangerous substances. 

It’s safe to say — waste management is an industry in its own right. 

As such, it follows specific waste principles. The most common principle is the waste hierarchy: reduce, reuse, recycle. This concept best explains the intended effect of effective waste management. 

Why Is Waste Management Important?

Waste management is important because of its central focus — to reduce waste. 

All waste management activities attempt to remove the adverse effects of waste — namely, the negative impact that excess waste has on the environment, as well as the potential dangers of hazardous waste on human health. 

Without waste regulations, industries would be ill-equipped to measure their waste output. Waste regulations help businesses to recognise the extent of their responsibility. This stringent practice helps to stop waste at the source and turn essential waste into a valuable resource. A Total Waste Management partner  such as Axil-IS, can help ensure your business remains compliant.

As a result of waste regulations, company conditions are safer, and environmental risks are fewer.  

Managing Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Waste

The approach to waste management will change depending on the type of waste. 

Generally speaking, waste management has two subsections — hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste

Hazardous waste refers to any type of waste that presents an immediate risk. This type of waste often contains chemicals that can leach into other objects and cause contamination. In some instances, hazardous waste can cause explosions and workplace incidents. 

Medical facilities and manufacturing businesses are good examples of places where you’ll find hazardous waste. 

Need help or advice for your hazardous waste? Find out how Axil can help.

Hazardous waste is more ordinary than you might think with plenty of examples common to all types of businesses. Everyday items such as batteries and specific cleaning products are also classified as hazardous waste

There are four main types of hazardous waste. Their terminology refers to the danger each waste type poses. 

  • • Ignitability 
  • • Corrosivity
  • • Reactivity

Companies should seek to manage both hazardous and non-hazardous waste as each form impacts the environment. 

More and more companies are reviewing their general waste as they attempt to reach zero-landfill targets. 

While non-hazardous waste is less dangerous, irresponsible organisation of general waste can still lead to workplace hazards. It’s for this reason professional waste management is often employed for this waste type. 

There are three main types of non-hazardous waste. Each waste type requires a unique form of disposal. For example, green waste is composted, while inert waste does not naturally decompose. 

  • Inert Waste 
  • Scrap Waste
  • Green Waste 

Which Sectors Are Most In Need of Waste Management?

As you can imagine, some sectors are more at risk than others. 

For example, sectors with a high volume of hazardous waste will require professional help. 

Businesses in the following sectors usually outsource waste services: 

With this said, most companies are a good candidate for waste management. 

You could benefit from waste management if: 

  • You have a lack of knowledge about waste 
  • You own a seasonal business
  • You work in one of the aforementioned industries
  • You’re trying to grow a sustainable business 
  • You want to drive cost out of your business
  • You produce more waste than your current collections can handle  
  • You have waste, recycling or environmental-based targets or Group directives to meet

Some companies may find waste management useful on a long-term basis, while others may only feel it’s only necessary during peak periods. 

Waste Management Policies and Resources

If you’re a business owner unsure about waste management, you should refer to some trusted resources to help guide your decisions. These resources will help you to avoid any compliance issues and stop you from having to do any guesswork.

For UK legislation refer to: 

For general waste advice: 

What Are Some Waste Management Strategies?

Waste management companies use simple strategies to streamline waste streams. 

These include: 

  • Colour Coding Bins — Using labelled or colour coded bins is a quick and simple way to organise waste. They remove confusion when waste is thrown in the bin. It also helps companies to know how much waste a company is holding at a glance. 
  • Safe Positioning — Waste experts will use logical positioning to ensure waste never encroaches onto spaces with high traffic. This tactic removes workplace hazards and reduces the risk of hazardous waste.
  • Collection Frequency — Testing the number of collections is a good way to determine how much waste a company is producing. Reducing the frequency of collection can also make companies more aware of waste building up. 
  • Waste Minimisation — This ideal strategy manipulates the life cycle of waste to reduce trash altogether. Waste professionals can look at manufacturing and supply chains to control output. 
  • Recycling — If internal recycling is possible, waste management companies will do it. This is the practice of repurposing waste to create new resources out of leftover trash. For example, retail companies may collect used plastic hangers to create new batches. 

How Does Waste Management Help My Business?

Waste management isn’t merely a way to avoid financial penalties. It also yields real benefits for your business. 

These are: 

  • Environment — As the pressure mounts on businesses to be more sustainable, waste management practices allow businesses to meet rising expectations. Effective waste management will dramatically reduce the amount of waste produced. It can also help companies to reach new heights of recycling, and display a cleaner supply chain. 
  • Productivity — Simplifying waste processed on-site helps workers to stay productive. Clear signage and storage avoids confusion, and helps create more space for work activities. The reduction of waste may also force businesses to develop stricter packaging procedures, which decrease the time spent on each task. 
  • Cost — Less waste equals less money. Reducing and recycling materials comes with a much lower price tag that will save your business bucketloads when it comes to stock ordering. Plus, you won’t be penalised and forced to pay a fine. 

What Are Waste Management Services?

Are you wondering how waste management could help you? 

Waste management isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept. 

Our core service solution is Total Waste Management, whereby we partner with your organisation to help drive out waste costs and reduce your impact on the environment.

We are already trusted to look after the waste for some UK household names, including Birds Eye, Cummins and Whirlpool.

  • Total Waste Management — Partner with us to meet all of your waste needs. This bespoke service will look at all aspects of your commercial waste to help you reach recycling targets and reduce costs. 

 If Total Waste Management isn’t right for your business, we have additional services that can help. 

  • General Waste and Recycling — Need to take care of materials that can be readily recycled? A waste management company can dispose of these on your behalf and drive cost out of your business at the same time.  
  • Equipment Supply — Happy to take control of your company’s waste management? You can hire suitable equipment from us. We provide storage solutions free from confusing branding and we’ll even work with you to create a colour-coded system. 
  • Waste Supply Chain Management — Get straight to the source. We analyse supply chains to ensure you’re getting the best price and product possible. In this service, we place Axil-IS staff into your organisation to get a close-up view of your industry. 

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To gain a clearer understanding of your waste operations, we will visit to carry out a detailed site audit.

Our waste management experts will understand your waste streams and the challenges you face— and develop a service proposal tailored to accommodate your needs.

We will explain how our innovative solutions can re-engineer your waste to reduce your costs and increase your recycling.