1. Waste Management
Waste Classification Waste is any substance or object that the holder discards or intends to discard. Waste can be hazardous or non-hazardous in nature. Generally waste from SMEs arises under some of the following categories: office (e.g. office paper), retail (e.g. packaging waste), hospitality (food waste) and manufacturing or process waste. Non-hazardous commercial waste includes packaging waste, canteen waste and office paper waste. Hazardous waste is generally waste that has certain constituents (e.g. asbestos) and/or properties that render it hazardous (e.g. explosive, flammable, toxic, corrosive, infectious). Hazardous commercial waste includes waste chemicals and waste fluorescent tubes. Hazardous waste management is subject to more stringent controls than non-hazardous waste. Mixing hazardous waste with non-hazardous waste can render it hazardous. It is illegal to deliberately contaminate recyclable packaging waste. Mixing hazardous waste chemicals or waste paints with nonhazardous waste packaging in a skip means that all the waste is contaminated and must be treated as hazardous waste. This situation can be avoided by correctly segregating and storing waste streams at source. To correctly classify waste streams as either non-hazardous or hazardous, companies should consult the Waste Management
Act, 1996 as amended (available at www.irishstatutebook.ie) and the European Waste Catalogue (EWC) (available at www.epa.ie). If companies have any doubt as to the classification of a waste stream, they should contact their local authority or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Do I Require a Licence to Manage Waste On-site? Generally licenses and permits apply to public and private bodies involved in the collection and treatment of waste. A business that is not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) but that stores hazardous waste on-site in quantities that exceed 25,000 litres (liquid waste) or 40 m3 (solid waste) at any one time must register with their local authority. Business activities regulated by the EPA’s integrated pollution prevention control (IPPC) licensing regime must comply with all the on-site and off-site waste management conditions set down in their licences. The EPA has produced a check-list explaining the licensing requirements for waste management activities (available at www.epa.ie). Measuring Waste In order to measure waste on-site employers should: Tour their premises and list exactly the amount, type and location of waste being generated by their main business activities e.g. packaging waste; damaged raw materials; manufacturing or process waste; office paper waste; food and canteen waste.
Environmental Management Guidelines for Small Businesses
Talk to their staff. Understand how resources are consumed, how does this reconcile with their operation? Identify process inefficiencies leading to waste. Identify which work processes produce the most waste on-site. Talk to their supplier or logistics staff to ascertain the quantity and type of empty packaging or packaging received with goods inwards i.e.plastic, paper etc. Discuss strategies with suppliers to reduce excess packaging or wastage. Generally, the difference between the quantity of packaging supplied to a business and the quantity of packaging taken away as backdoor waste by a waste contractor indicates how much packaging is actually supplied onto the market. Talk to their waste contractor: examine waste bill and bins; identify the quantities of these waste types being sent off-site; identify what happens to this waste and how much it costs the business. Businesses must ensure they have documentary evidence that waste sent off-site for treatment was transferred to licensed waste contractors. Correct Management of Waste On-site Once the nature and type of wastes on-site have been established, set aside labelled containers and areas for specific waste streams on-site e.g. separate dry...
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