Waste management

What is waste management?

Waste management is all of the activities that handle waste materials, from the time it is made to its disposal. This includes how your business collects, transports, processes, recycles or disposes its waste.

Managing what you waste in your business can equate to lost opportunities or profits.

Waste management is about being more efficient with raw materials and making the most of each stage of the production process.

Here, we’ll show you how to assess your resources and why it is wise to implement a waste management strategy.

Life cycle of a product

Whether you sell goods or services, everything you produce has a life-cycle. It begins with how you manufacture, distribute, use, and then reuse or recycle that product.

Each stage offers the opportunity for you to think about how you use the product and if your processes can be more efficient.

Why is managing waste important?

The most important reason for proper waste management is to protect the environment and for the health and safety of the population.

Certain types of waste can be hazardous and can pollute the environment. Bad waste management practices can also cause land and air pollution which can result in serious medical conditions in humans and animals.

Implementing good waste management practices not only helps to protect the environment but can be beneficial to your business.

It can enhance your business’ reputation – take a busy restaurant as an example. Would you go there if it had garbage piling up, or food scraps left lying around? Or would you support that same restaurant if it had a policy of donating leftover food to a charity for the homeless?

Energy efficiency – have you thought of how you could use waste products as a combustion fuel for things such as cooking or heating?

Cost savings – managing the waste your business produces can result in valuable materials to reuse. This can save you money while potentially creating new jobs and business opportunities.

Resource recovery – reducing, reusing and recycling your waste is important for the environment, and it can also be profitable. It decreases the amount of waste for disposal, saves space in landfills, and conserves natural resources.

Legal requirements – there are important systems that determine how to deal with various types of waste. These in turn affect groundwater and air quality. Read more about the National Waste Policy that sets out the direction for Australia's waste management and resource recovery.

Workplace safety – storing and disposing your rubbish in the wrong place can be harmful to employees or customers. If you work with sharp objects, dangerous fumes and chemicals, you will need special procedures for how you dispose of them.

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