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Minimizing Waste Procedures
When it comes to conserving resources, preventing pollution and saving money, reducing waste is more effective than recycling. Businesses across a range of industries can save four to five percent of turnover by employing simple waste minimization techniques.
There are many ways of reducing waste. Here are a few simple examples to minimise waste paper in offices:
Review documents on screen and avoid printing where possible to minimise waste
Before printing multiple copies, print a single copy and check this copy for errors
If you have to print out draft documents, use a small font or the 'shrink to fit' or zoom option available with many software packages
Print only when you have to
Ask other employees to 'think before they throw' - someone else may want what they don’t need


Reflections Exercise:

What other waste-minimising ways can you think of in the workplace? Jot down at least 3.

1.
2.
3.

Suggested Answers:

Store data and reports on compact disks, memory sticks to save on paper copies
Use both sides of the paper when printing and photocopying − use default setting
Staple scrap pieces of paper together to make a notepad instead of using new notebooks for rough notes
Keep A4 scrap paper next to the printer/photocopier for rough or trial copies
Use the smallest piece of paper possible for the job
Photocopy A3 to A4 if possible
Send email memos instead of sending paper copies
Cancel unwanted subscriptions to avoid paper accumulating
Buy only what you need - think of stock control and how to streamline processes across departments
You might be able to create a poster to remind people of their duty to minimise waste, including the points raised above.

Also aim to re-use, when you have the option to use an item again, without going through the recycling process. Your role might be to champion this process in an administrative capacity. Ideas include:
Re-use files and folders
Re-use envelopes (can be used for internal mail in larger organisations) or use a 'multi address sheet' to prolong the life of internal envelopes
Some charity shops accept printer inkjet cartridges and mobile phones, rather than just throwing them away
Re-fill toner and ink jet cartridges

Exercise
In what other ways can your recycle in an office environment? Think about how you recycle at home to give you a few ideas! List 4 ideas:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Suggested Answers
Shredded paper and newspapers can be reused for packaging
Re-use padded postal bags (add a new address label)
Use waste paper as note paper
Use cups, mugs and glasses rather than disposable plastic and paper cups

Now, we’ll take a look at hazardous materials.

Understand procedures for disposal of hazardous materials

Waste is considered 'hazardous' under environmental legislation when it contains substances or has properties that might make it harmful to human health or the environment. This does not necessarily mean it is an immediate risk to human health, although some waste can be.

The process for disposal includes completing a description of the waste, which must include:
the waste classification code, also referred to as LoW (List of Waste) or EWC (European Waste Catalogue) code - you can find this in the link below
whether it’s hazardous or not
the type of premises or business where the waste was produced
the name of the substance or substances
the process that produced the waste
a chemical and physical analysis
any special problems, requirements or knowledge related to the waste
You must consider all the waste your business produces, not just waste you think is hazardous. Your role might be to liaise with your waste disposal team, to complete official forms and to submit forms to the relevant bodies. Please review the link to the government website to understand more.
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/427077/LIT_10121.pdf

Finally, remember it is illegal to mix a hazardous waste with either non-hazardous or another hazardous waste.

Thinking about waste, now leads us onto the topic of sustainability. ‘Sustainability’ really means how we can live in our world at the moment in a way that future generations can also live in a good way.

Know how to support sustainability in an organisation

Here are a couple of questions which we’d like you to reflect upon. The answers may not be easy, but the questions are at the heart of sustainability. Jot down a few thoughts on paper.

Reflections Exercise

Q: How can we live so that we don’t use up all of the resources, impact negatively on the planet, or put all our rubbish in a way that’s going to disturb future generations?

Q: How do we live in a way that we could then go on, continue to live, and future generations could live with equal quality of life?

You might have included thoughts about environmental management. People think sustainability is about things like just waste and recycling and carbon reduction.

It is not just about environmental questions it is also about social and political issues. Sustainable businesses are resilient and create economic value, healthy ecosystems and strong communities. Sustainable businesses survive over the long term because they are intimately connected to healthy economic, social and environmental systems.

Sustainability is a goal rather than as an end point. In today’s business environment, sustainability is something that many companies are striving toward, but few (if any) have yet achieved. One key component of this journey involves embedding sustainability into organisational culture.

These practices include:

Assessing current safety levels
Training employees about safety
Adaptation of safety measures for each department
Regular communication with senior management to enable implementation of improved safety measures
Measurement and analysis of results
Organisational communication of success stories

In order to champion this, there should be the selection of key employees to implement the program throughout the organisation and the creation of clear policies detailing the firm’s position on ethical issues should be designed and communicated.

Then the next step is to organise the provision of training for all employees on these policies and how they have been integrated into firm operations.

Bring sustainability down to the individual level by connecting the impact of everyday actions at work with sustainability at home (and vice versa); connect organisational sustainability activities to personal sustainability activities (and vice versa). Finally, include sustainability information in company newsletters, on bulletin boards, or in memos.

There are many ways to get the message out wider, to stakeholders too: company presentations, speeches by senior leadership and press releases all provide opportunities to reiterate the organisation’s commitment to sustainability. Making commitments in your sustainability report can also serve as an important driver for internal performance and priority setting by holding departments publically responsible for meeting these commitments.

Many organisations seeking to embed sustainability will choose to make investments in some form of Environmental Management System (EMS) or Sustainability Management System (SMS).

Some will choose to develop an in-house solution while others will prefer to implement a recognised external environmental or checking system such as AA 1000, Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), Global Reporting Instrument (GRI), and ISO 14001. Companies may also pursue product or process specific certifications such as Fairtrade, Ecologo, the Forest Stewardship Council or the LEED green building system.

Adhering to outside standards may signal both internally and externally that a firm is taking responsibility and moving towards sustainable development and that things are being done correctly. Internally, employee morale can be increased.



Understand how your role fits with organisational values and practices. To be respectful, work effectively in a team to meet organisational needs, values, and to achieve goals and objectives

Respecting other people at work
Treating colleagues and staff with dignity and respect can help you get the very best out of everyone. It sounds like common sense, but how does this translate in the workplace?
Bullying and harassment complaints are costly for employers in terms of time, money and stress. An unhealthy workplace culture can lead to high levels of absence and staff turnover, not to mention low productivity and staff morale. Moreover, it can damage the reputation of an organisation and make it hard to recruit and retain new talent.
So how do we promote dignity and respect in the workplace? One of the simplest and most effective ways of showing that you respect your staff is to encourage their input and suggestions, and act on them. People who feel included and valued are much more likely to be productive in and loyal to your business, so implementing good ideas is a sure-fire way of showing that you respect their contribution.
It's also easy to overlook the importance of language. Showing greater sensitivity in the way we address others can help tackle prejudice and stereotyping and build more positive workplace relationships.
Performance management is another area which can often benefit from a rethink - it's widely recognised that constructive feedback is far more effective at improving performance than demeaning nit-picking and belittling of employees in front of their colleagues. We’ll explore some of these areas in more depth as we progress.