Navigating Tomorrow: Key Waste Management Trends for UK Businesses in 2024

Waste management has taken centre stage as businesses in the UK strive to align with stringent environmental goals and regulations. As we step into 2024, several key trends are shaping the waste management practices of businesses across the UK. From innovative technologies to evolving legislative frameworks, here are the trends that companies need to embrace to remain at the forefront of sustainable waste management.

Advanced Sorting Technologies
 
In the quest for more efficient and effective waste sorting, businesses are turning to advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Automated sorting systems are becoming integral to waste facilities, enhancing the segregation of recyclables from general waste. This not only improves recycling rates but also reduces contamination, ensuring a higher quality of recycled materials.

Single-Use Plastic Reduction Initiatives

With the UK government actively working towards reducing single-use plastics, businesses are following suit. In 2024, expect a surge in initiatives aimed at minimising the use of single-use plastics. This includes the adoption of alternative materials, redesigning packaging for recyclability, and implementing strategies to encourage customers to choose sustainable options.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Compliance

The UK is set to introduce an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme, which shifts the financial and operational responsibility of managing packaging waste from local authorities to producers. In 2024, businesses are preparing for compliance with the new regulations, emphasising the need for sustainable packaging and efficient waste management practices throughout the product life cycle.

Food Waste Reduction Strategies

As part of the broader sustainability agenda, businesses are intensifying efforts to reduce food waste. In 2024 we expect to see more businesses adopting innovative solutions in the workplace such as composting, anaerobic digestion, and partnerships with food banks to redirect surplus food to those in need. These strategies align with both environmental goals and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Smart Bins and IoT Integration

The deployment of smart bins equipped with sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in the UK. These smart bins provide real-time data on waste levels, allowing for more efficient waste collection routes and better resource allocation. Businesses are incorporating these technologies to optimise their waste management operations, reduce costs, and minimize environmental impact.

Collaboration and Circular Economy Practices

In 2024, businesses are actively engaging in collaborations to promote circular economy practices. This involves forming partnerships along the supply chain to facilitate the reuse and recycling of materials. Embracing a circular economy not only enhances resource efficiency but also contributes to the overall sustainability goals of businesses operating in the UK.

As we start to navigate the waste management landscape in 2024, adherence to these key trends is essential. From embracing advanced technologies for waste sorting to complying with upcoming regulations like EPR, UK businesses are poised to play a pivotal role in fostering a sustainable and circular approach to waste management. By staying ahead of these trends, companies can demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship and position themselves as leaders in the evolving landscape of waste management in the UK.

If you would like to talk to us about how we can help your business achieve its 2024 waste management targets get in touch with us today.

 

Christmas Opening Hours

Our Christmas opening hours for our Guildford, Aldershot and Runfold facilities are as follows:

 

DEFRA announces details of simpler recycling plan

After several years of debate DEFRA have announced its long awaited mandate for Simpler Recycling, streamlining the household collections of glass, metal, plastic, paper and card, as well as food and garden waste. Councils in England will be required to meet these requirements by April 2026.

Following an initial consultation with both councils and households DEFRA listened to the concerns raised around too many bins littering the streets and adjusted the mandate to introduce Simpler Recycling. This new directive promotes a streamlined approach to recycling addressing the confusion over what can and can’t be recycled in different parts of the country.

In addition to collecting all dry-mixed recycling in one container local authorities will also be required to introduce household collection of organic waste and as part of a commitment ‘to reduce the number of bins required’, garden and food waste may be collected together.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey commented: “Simpler recycling will help us all recycle more easily, doing our bit to help save the planet and make the best use of precious resources that we use every day.”

You can read the full Government report here

 

Contact us today to find out more about any of our services.

A Business guide to preparing for winter with sustainability in mind

As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, it’s time for businesses to turn their attention to preparing for the colder months of autumn and winter. While the focus is often on business operations, it’s crucial not to overlook the significance of sustainability in these preparations. Get your workplace ready for the changing seasons while emphasising responsible practices in recycling and waste management.

1. Declutter and Donate

Before diving into winter planning, consider initiating a corporate-wide decluttering process. Encourage employees to evaluate their workspaces and identify items no longer in use. Rather than disposing of these items, encourage donation to local charitable organizations. This not only minimises waste but also fosters a sense of corporate social responsibility.

2. Responsible Recycling and Repurposing

In the process of decluttering, you may encounter items that cannot be donated but should not end up in landfills. Ensure that your workplace adheres to local recycling guidelines for materials such as glass, plastic, paper, and cardboard. Additionally, explore opportunities for repurposing office equipment and furniture. For example, old office chairs can be refurbished, and outdated electronics may find a second life through responsible e-waste recycling programmes.

3. Energy Efficiency Audit

Efficiency in energy consumption is paramount for any business entity. As the colder weather approaches, perform an energy audit of your workspace. Identify and seal drafts around windows and doors and invest in proper insulation where necessary. Upgrading to programmable thermostats can offer precise control over heating and cooling systems, resulting in reduced energy waste and cost savings.

4. Maintenance of Heating Systems

To ensure a comfortable work environment throughout the winter, prioritise the maintenance of your business heating systems. Schedule professional inspections and cleaning to optimise efficiency and indoor air quality. If your workplace utilises wood-burning stoves or fireplaces, ensure they are cleaned and inspected as well. Routine maintenance not only extends the lifespan of your heating systems but also aligns with corporate sustainability goals by reducing energy waste.

5. Preparing Outdoor Spaces

Don’t overlook the importance of outdoor spaces in your seasonal preparations. As leaves fall, consider implementing a composting program to handle organic waste. Composting not only diverts waste from landfills but also enriches the soil for future landscaping.

Preparing your workspace for autumn and winter is an opportunity to showcase a commitment to sustainability and responsible corporate citizenship. By incorporating recycling and waste management practices into your preparations, you not only reduce your environmental impact but also promote a culture that values responsible resource utilisation. As your employees settle into a comfortable and environmentally conscious workplace, your corporate image will shine as a beacon of sustainability and responsibility in the business world.

 

If you would like to talk to us about how we can help your business prepare for winter please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Contact us today to find out more about any of our services.

Did you know? Astonishing recycling facts

Recycling rates are rising in the UK, but our growing population still poses challenges. Increasing demand for goods leads to more production and resource use. Unfortunately, we still discard a concerning number of items.

We’ve compiled some astonishing  recycling facts to highlight just how much we are simply throwing away and what we need to do help improve our rates of recycling and focus on preserving the planet for future generations.

These fact may help you think twice about what you throw away

 

Did you know?

  • Up to 80% of discarded items can be recycled
  • UK households generate 7 million tonnes of food waste annually, equivalent to a kilo of food per person on the planet, costing £7.5 billion
  • Making a battery requires fifty times more energy than the battery itself can produce
  • Recycling one glass bottle provides enough energy for half an hour of laptop operation
  • Recycling one plastic bottle yields energy to power a lightbulb for three hours or more
  • Recycling paper uses 70% less energy than producing it from raw materials
  • UK households generate 7 million tonnes of food waste annually, equivalent to a kilo of food per person on the planet, costing £7.5 billion
  • Approximately 50% of food waste is still edible and can be repurposed through food banks, charities, or as animal feed
  • Recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy for 20 hours of TV
  • Producing a loaf of bread requires 100 buckets of water, while growing one potato requires six buckets
  • 50% of the food waste we throw away could be composted
  • Over 15% of product expenses go towards packaging, with much of it ending up in the trash.
  • The UK discards an estimated 600 million batteries annually, but only 27% are recycled, leading to over 20,000 tonnes of battery waste in landfills
  • Disposal of 80 million fluorescent tubes annually could recycle up to 4 tonnes of mercury, a valuable natural resource
  • 25% of our WEEE waste (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) could be repaired and re-used, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP)
  • Despite recycling centres accepting them, many of the two million TV sets discarded yearly in the UK end up in landfills

 

Save the Trees!

  • A staggering 4 billion trees are felled annually for paper production, equivalent to one percent of the Amazon Rainforest every year
  • It requires 24 trees to produce one tonne of paper
  • In the UK, our yearly paper consumption surpasses 9.9 million tonnes
  • Around 80% of paper is recycled in the UK, making a significant impact
  • Recycling one tonne of paper saves 380 gallons of oil, 7000 gallons of water, and approximately 3 cubic metres of landfill space
  • Paper and card make up 1/5 of all waste generated in the UK
  • Crafting a single sheet of A4 paper consumes about 10 litres of water
  • Recycling your daily newspaper can save the equivalent of your body weight in paper over a year
  • Recycling paper requires 60% less energy compared to making it from raw materials
  • During Christmas, the UK discards an estimated 227 thousand miles of wrapping paper, enough to cover over 11,000 football pitches
  • Paper and card make up 1/5 of all waste generated in the UK
  • Fortunately, paper remains one of the most recycled materials in the UK
  • In Europe, paper is recycled an average of 3.8 times, surpassing the global average of 2.4 times

Plastic Fantastic

  • Each year, we discard enough plastic to encircle the world five times
  • Despite efforts to reduce plastic usage, only 45% of plastics in the UK are recycled, with the rest ending up in landfills or oceans
  • The UK uses a staggering 7.7 billion plastic bottles yearly, averaging 117 bottles per person annually
  • Plastic production has surged, we currently use 20 times more plastic than we did 50 years ago
  • Most UK households dispose of at least 40kg of plastic annually, equivalent to making 10 recycle bins.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans annually, forming a garbage patch three times the size of France
  • Plastic waste from carrier bags and bottles in the oceans claims the lives of approximately 1,000,000 sea creatures each year
  • In the British countryside, plastic rubbish causes the death of thousands of land animals annually.
  • The UK generates about 5 million tonnes of plastic each year, including a staggering 15 million ‘single-use’ plastic bottles per day
  • It takes one tonne of plastic to produce 20,000 plastic bottles
  • Recycled plastic can be used to create clothing, such as a t-shirt made from 5 plastic bottles or an adult’s fleece jacket from 25 plastic bottles
  • One tonne of plastic can produce 120,000 plastic carrier bags, with the UK using 13 billion of them annually
  • The majority of these plastic shopping bags are used only once and take up to 100 years to decompose
  • It requires the oil equivalent to drive a car 11 meters to produce just one plastic bag.
  • In 2015, the UK introduced a ‘5p carrier bag tax,’ resulting in an 83% reduction in single-use bag consumption compared to 2014

 

Foodie Facts

  • On average, UK households waste 20% of all purchased food
  • This results in approximately £700 per household in food waste, equivalent to an annual utility bill.
  • At least 50% of food waste is compostable
  • Despite over 8 million people in the UK struggling to afford food, households discard around 7 million tonnes of food yearly
  • Among the 7 million tonnes wasted, 250,000 tonnes are perfectly edible and could create up to 650 million meals for those in need
  • Each person discards 74kg of food waste annually, equivalent to over 1000 banana skins in weight.
  • Much of the food ending up in landfills could be repurposed as animal feed or converted into energy through gas-to-electricity and heat processes
  • Waste cooking oil is a significant cause of water pollution, with just 1 litre capable of contaminating 1 million litres of drinking water
  • A staggering 25% of the world’s fresh water supply is used to grow food that eventually ends up in landfills
  • Daily, 1.4 million untouched bananas, 3 million unopened yoghurts, 600,000 whole uncooked eggs (300,000 omelettes), and 2 million untouched sausages are discarded
  • The UK wastes 20 million slices of bread daily
  • Food waste in landfills emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas
  • By recycling or composting our food waste, we can reduce CO2 emissions and our carbon footprint by up to 25%
  • The food wasted in the UK, the United States, and Europe could feed over a billion hungry people with less than a quarter of it
  • Globally, it is estimated that we waste more than 30% of all food produced

 

These facts prompt reflection and action, urging everyone to reconsider disposal habits. Together, we can mitigate environmental impact and ensure a sustainable future. Let’s make responsible, eco-friendly choices to safeguard our world.

We’re committed to reducing the impact that waste has on our environment, and divert 98% of waste away from landfill at our Materials Recovery Facility.

Contact us today to find out more about any of our services.

Are you guilty of Wishcycling?

What is Wishcycling?

Put simply, Wishcycling is the act of putting something in the recycling bin without being certain that it can actually be recycled. And Wishcycling is becoming a serious problem, one that as a well-intentioned action is doing more harm than good. These small acts of crossing our fingers and hoping something can be recycled as we toss it in the blue bin means we are complicating the recycling process for centres and contaminating the recycling system.

How we can help stop Wishcycling

There are a number of products that simply cannot be put in the recycling bins and being aware of these commonly used items will help save valuable time and resources across recycling facilities:

  • Plastic wraps
  • Plastic bags
  • Syrofoam
  • Containers with food and drink residue
  • Coffee pods
  • Batteries
  • Foil packets

Always double check the labels and if you are unsure place the product in general waste to avoid valuable resources being wasted. It is also important to recycle each item separately, not doubled up inside each other as this can cause an issue for our teams when separating materials in time before they go through our machinery.

Items with food or drink residue on them also causes a big headache for our teams and often means large amounts of potentially recyclable products get thrown away. Rinsed and clean glassware, tins and trays go a long way to making the operators job easier and safer.

 

Raising awareness of how to avoid Wishcycling will help us all to improve the system, making in more sustainable in the long term.

Get in touch with us and see how we can help you dispose of your waste more efficiently and responsibly.

In memory of Dave Long

Joining Chambers in 2017 Dave became an employee at our Runfold site, driving a Tipper Truck as part of his day to day duties. Hardworking, diligent and charismatic with an infectious smile, Dave was a well liked and valued member of our team.

Following initial treatment for terminal cancer Dave returned to his position and always gave 100% to the job at hand. He said he would not let the cancer beat him. His courage and bravery throughout his battle was admired by many.

Sadly, Dave passed away in November of this year and will be sorely missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Our heartfelt sympathies go to Dave’s family, friends and colleagues.

Hazardous waste poses fire risk at our Materials Recovery Facility

14 items that ignite when incorrectly binned

Did you know that more than 300 fires happen at waste and recycling plants every year in the UK – often caused by items being disposed of incorrectly? Items such as aerosols and batteries are commonly sent to our Materials Recovery Facility in Slyfield, but these can ignite and put our staff and site at risk.

You can help minimise the risk to human life, business and the environment by making 100% sure that no potentially hazardous items go into our bins, REL containers or sacks.

But this begs the question:
What items are considered potentially hazardous?
We know the rules around waste disposal can be a little confusing so here’s a quick list to remind you.

What materials pose a threat to our facility?

The following types of waste cannot go in any of our bins, REL containers or sacks:

· Hazardous wastes or liquids

· Batteries

· Fuels and oils

· Chemicals

· Electrical equipment

· Paint, resins, thinners or adhesives

· Raw meat or fish

· Asbestos

· Toners

· Explosives

· Gas bottles or canisters

· Radioactive materials

· Nappies

· Animal faeces or cat litter

·  Nappies

·  Animal faeces or cat litter

What makes them hazardous?

Everything on the list above is deemed hazardous by the Environment Agency and must not be disposed of in the same way as general or recycling waste.

If they are, it’s likely that they’ll be handled in ways we would never knowingly treat such items.

They may be compacted, punctured, become wet or get overheated, putting them at risk of igniting.

For example, aerosols contain pressurised liquid or gas that could explode when heated or compacted. Even empty cans must never be punctured as chemical residue could still be inside.

So how should you dispose of hazardous waste?

If you’re dealing with any of the materials mentioned, we can still help!

We provide a collection, treatment, and disposal service either directly or through specialist sub-contractors to ensure your waste is dealt with safely and that you meet all relevant legislation in the process.

If you’re unsure whether your materials are deemed hazardous or would like advice on how to dispose of your waste, please call us on 01483 504595. A member of our team will be happy to advise.

In memory of Clive Armstrong

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Clive Armstrong has passed away.

As our longest serving member of staff, Clive was a valued member of the team, starting at the tender age of 16 as a drivers mate to our MD Peter Chambers who was an agricultural merchant at that time. Clive went on to hold a number of positions over the years with Chambers and was always reliable, diligent and hard working.

He will be missed by his friends and colleagues.

We would like to pass on our heartfelt condolences to Clive’s family at this time.

How scrapping ‘best before’ labels is reducing food waste

According to the UK climate charity, Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), 70% of the 6.6 million tonnes of food we throw away at home every year could have been eaten. So why isn’t it? It often comes down to ‘best before’ labels…

The good news is that new supermarket initiatives are preventing millions of baskets worth of food from going to waste by ditching the labels and encouraging consumer judgement. As part of their commitment to help customers significantly reduce food waste by 2030, several supermarket giants are phasing out best before dates on their packaging.

Here are some of the steps they’ve already taken: Sainsburys: changed or removed date packaging from more than 1500 fresh produce items Co-op: replaced use by dates with best before dates on own-brand yoghurts Morrisons: ditched use by dates on own-brand milk and encourage consumers to use a “sniff test” to determine safe consumption.

Date labels are required on certain food and beverage products under rules set by the Food Standards Agency but WRAP has condemned best before dates on fruit and vegetables as unnecessary, arguing they encourage perfectly good food to be thrown away.

Best before dates explain the quality of a food item whereas use by dates define food safety. In other words, you should not eat food past its use by date, but you can eat food past its best before date if it looks, smells and taste fine.

Instead of throwing food away as soon as it reaches its best before date, we’re being encouraged to use our own judgement as to whether food is still good to eat, to save edible food from being discarded.

 

In total, the 900 million tonnes of food wasted worldwide every year accounts for around 10% of global carbon emissions, due to the resources required to produce it and the decomposition process.

By simply saving food from landfill where possible, we could easily reduce this weighty amount. WRAP estimates that by removing best before dates from the UK’s 10 most wasted fruit and vegetable items, households would reduce the annual food waste pile by more than 50,000 tonnes.

Protecting our planet needs to be a priority for us all right now and these initiatives are a hugely positive move in the fight against climate change.

As the cost of food rises, we’re all looking for ways to cut back and the best place to start is at home. Make food go further by getting creative with odd ingredients and toasting the last few slices of bread, and you’ll soon start seeing savings on your weekly shop that add up to a substantial amount throughout the month. Common household food items that you can often eat after their best before date include:

· Eggs
· Frozen food
· Bread
· Potatoes
· Canned food
· Cereal
· Baking ingredients like flour and sugar

Reducing food waste is one of the easiest ways we can fight climate change and we all have a role to play. What does your look like?

If you’d like to know more about Chambers Waste Management Solutions, please get in touch.

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