Nowadays, more and more companies have a solid waste management program in addition to carrying out a previous treatment, according to legislative requirements, of liquid and gaseous discharges into the environment.
That is why in this article we are going to see what the solid waste management program of a company consists of , and what economic incentives it offers
What is considered solid waste?
They are called solid waste all those materials discarded for not being useful, and that originate in all kinds of human activities.
The solid waste may be heterogeneous such as those occurring in urban areas, or homogeneous, which are more common in business activities and industrial, mining, agricultural, or other.
Classification of solid waste
Within the most basic and general classification, solid waste is classified as:
➞ Hazardous waste
The fact of being considered dangerous may be due to the implicit risk in their handling, storage or recycling, due to causing illness or death, in their direct treatment.
They are also hazardous waste, which, in a less immediately appreciable way, produce the same effect on environmental components such as flora, fauna, soil, water or air, also affecting people’s health.
➞ Non-hazardous waste
They are those that can be degraded, diluted and finally integrated into the natural environment, but they will always be conditioned to the natural assimilation capacity of the environment.
➞ Inert waste
They are stable wastes over time, and do not undergo significant physical or chemical changes.
In any case, it must be taken into account that the origin of any solid waste management program in a company is always based in the first instance to avoid public health problems and environmental degradation, with incorrect collection and inappropriate waste disposal.
What is a solid waste management program for a company?
Assessment, selection and reuse
Given that, despite recent environmental awareness, all companies continue to generate solid waste , mainly in the industrial sector, a company’s solid waste management program can start from a minimization of the waste it generates at source through
A correct choice of suppliers, packaging and logistics, to reduce the amount of raw material wasted in the manufacturing process.
An adequate treatment and selection of waste and solid waste at the point of origin, giving a second chance to all those that are reusable without transformation in substitution of new materials such as paper, cardboard, tissue, glass, plastic, bones, viscera or others organic matter.
External waste management
Having an external agent can also mean that many companies obtain an external source of income, thanks to the concept that “what for a company may simply be waste, in another industrial operation may constitute its main source of raw material”.
In this sense, a company specialized in waste management can carry out the specific project or solid waste management program of a company including
- Previous study on the composition of the waste and its possibilities of recycling in situ.
- Establish protocols for proper waste management, classification by composition, and separation of reusable and non-reusable.
- Implement recovery and use programs
- Transport of waste rejected by the company, but useful for other sectors.
- Collection and delivery of unusable waste at a clean point.
Advantages of recycling with a solid waste management program
Recovery and reuse
Companies that are committed to an adequate management of waste generated in their activity manage to save costs and even obtain benefits through recovery and recycling.
Industrial activity is the one that can obtain the most benefits, as has been proven in studies, according to which, by having a solid waste management program of a company, they manage to save costs through the recovery of waste, and the alternatives treatment generating new income.
Regardless of the interest that the reuse of recyclable materials can generate for companies when it comes to saving costs in raw materials, in any case, it must not be forgotten that there is legislation that requires good business practices, penalizing the elimination of waste even through legal channels, through more or less high fees.
Knowing the composition of the different types of waste serves to see its recyclable potential, and to establish the protocols for its handling and management.
In this sense, the ISO 14001 standard determines a new approach to waste treatment, facilitating a series of common steps applicable to each company’s waste management program:
➞ Evaluation and identification of waste
By categorizing waste, information can be established for its management in the facilities, knowing which are or are not dangerous, reusable, and valuation within the regulations.
➞ Store waste properly
Once the waste has been classified, whether it is to keep it safely until it is collected, or whether it is to be reused on site, it is necessary to have specific and appropriate containers for the corresponding classification.
➞ In addition, the containers must be correctly labeled, or identified with their type of content.
➞ when transporting hazardous waste, the responsible company must have a specific authorization for the transfer of these types of waste, train transporters in standards and other issues related to this type of waste, have the specific credentials of the vehicle transportation, and RC insurance.
➞ Depending on the type of solid waste stored, an emergency plan must also be designed, and staff must be trained in safety procedures in this regard.
➞ Finally, it is also necessary to carry out the corresponding records on the volume of the different types of waste , reports on their management and record of disposal dates.
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