Types Of Waste Management Business Owners Need To Know

cardboard in recycling bin

Types Of Waste Management Business Owners Need To Know

When it comes to waste management, no two businesses are alike, meaning the types of waste management are varied so it’s worth having a fully-formed picture of what types are out there.

Below, you’ll find information on different waste types and their management processes to get a clearer picture of how you can improve your own circumstances.

Waste Types and Potential Management


We all know the common recyclables – plastic, paper and cardboard. Plastic recycling is a common process – and for good reason. Did you know that there are around 40,000 types of plastic? Now, general items usually come under about seven types, such as PET, HDPE or polythene. Paper and cardboard are obviously organic materials and can be turned into more paper or cardboard.

In 2017, the recycling rate for UK households was 45.7%, which equates to roughly 27 million tonnes. In 2018, it was found that up to 90% of businesses in the UK didn’t have a recycling policy, which is bad news for them and the environment. 

For successful recycling, businesses need to make sure their waste is properly cleaned and separated, which helps waste handlers, depending on whether they’re using a single-stream or mixed-stream recycling method. Before disposal, this waste should be properly stored as well. 

Disposing of waste in landfills costs, as you have to pay landfill tax, which is currently at £94.15 per tonne. Recycling with a baler, for example, is guaranteed to be cheaper than this and with vertical balers or semi-automatic balers, represents a much reduced need for human labour. It’s also much more environmentally friendly.

Businesses can invest in compactors or balers to deal with their recyclable waste streams, baling, for example, cardboard into easy-to-handle bales. With something like a small vertical baler, you can reduce your overall business waste by up to 90%.

Landfill Waste

This is the type of waste that can’t be recycled, incinerated, composted or disposed of in other ways. For example, polythene isn’t widely recycled and so usually ends up in landfills. Inert and food waste also ends up in landfills. It’s the type of waste that is produced by a mixture of commercial and domestic activities.

In terms of waste management, if you’re looking to have a lower environmental impact, then working to reduce your landfill waste is one way of doing that – especially if the waste you dispose of is actually full of recyclables.

To do this, audit your waste streams to discover your different waste types and implement sorting, recycling, compacting or baling before sending the rest to landfill. A good rule of thumb is to view landfill waste at the bottom of your hierarchy.

Disposing landfill waste can represent a large chunk of your overheads. On top of landfill tax, there are also gate fees that business may have to pay, amounting to £20 per tonne. Having a proper waste management procedure in place, with the right machinery, can help you lower these costs and ensure you’re a more cost-effective business. 

‘Green’ Waste

Green waste is organic matter, such as grass, leaves and plants. It’s not often that businesses have to deal with this kind of waste, but it’s still worthwhile to know how to handle it. For gardening or landscaping businesses, this could be the biggest type of waste produced. 

You can bring this waste to a private recycling site, but you will need the right licence to transport it. It can also be commercially transported or, alternatively, picked up by your local council.

In the case of gardening or landscaping business, a waste management provider who can dispose of green waste may be the better option due to the amount they produce. 

Construction Waste

Construction waste or ‘builders’’ waste like plaster, rubble and tiles, is the most common waste type for construction companies. It’s good to differentiate between this and paint or chemicals – while builders use them, they’re not classed as builders’ waste and actually come under the hazardous waste umbrella.

For example, concrete is classed as non-hazardous, but non-set cement is classed as hazardous. You can explore more of the waste classifications here. Non-hazardous, non-recyclable construction waste will go to landfill and hazardous waste will have to be disposed of at certain sites. 

Similarly, construction companies may produce a significant amount of recyclable waste, such as cardboard or plastic. Due to the need for construction companies to move between sites, it’s worth investing in machinery such as a portable compactor. They help to reduce labour costs and, more importantly for the construction industry, improve on-site safety. You can explore more benefits of a portable waste compactor here

Some construction companies that pursue more economically-friendly waste management tend to have a baler on site, such as the Construct a Bale solution. Without this kind of machine, they can face high waste volume, high labour costs and high vehicle traffic on-site. 

The Construct a Bale is a baler that can be housed in a waterproof container, making it ideal for construction sites that are mainly outdoors. It can be easily maneuvered around the site and can be powered by an optional generator or hooked up to the mains, meaning it’s a flexible solution for lowering the volume of waste on-site.

To explore our range of vertical balers click the button below:

Hazardous & Toxic Waste

Hazardous waste is that which has the potential to cause harm to either humans, animals or the environment. For example, the following items are classed by the UK Government classifies as hazardous:

  • Coal tar and tarred products.
  • Cables containing oil, coal tar and other hazardous substances.
  • Paints containing organic solvents or other hazardous substances.
  • Adhesive or sealant containers.

Other hazardous materials are asbestos, batteries and many chemicals. In the UK, businesses who deal with or produce hazardous waste must be compliant with the regulations set out by the The Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005, which gives you insight into how these types of waste should be disposed of. 

For example, businesses should know that it’s illegal to mix non-hazardous and hazardous waste during any disposal. Like recyclables, they need to be properly sorted and stored on-site in a separate area, away from general waste. 

For businesses who produce or deal with hazardous waste, read the UK Government’s guidance on hazardous waste

Offensive Waste

Another type of waste that’s related to hazardous and toxic waste is offensive waste. This type of waste is classified by the UK government as:

Non-clinical waste that’s non-infectious and does not contain pharmaceutical or chemical substances, but may be unpleasant to anyone who comes into contact with it.

This can be things like outer dressings and something we’ve all come to be accustomed to during the coronavirus pandemic: masks. This type of waste must be segregated from any municipal waste if it’s been produced in a healthcare context. In other contexts, if under 7kg, it can be included within municipal waste.

However, the best thing to do with this type of waste, if produced in large quantities, is to compact it inside a self-cleaning compactor, which compacts within a sealed compartment. This means there’s no chance of unwanted environmental pollution coming from your offensive waste.

Waste Management Concerns for Business Owners

With different waste types, there are different ways of management. Each of them needs a specific waste management plan, one that takes into account both sustainability of the plan and how cost-effective it is. 

For example, consider your waste storage before collection and disposal. Is your waste well stored? Has it been divided into easily-handled bales? Or, is it cluttering pathways and impeding upon work and employee safety. 

You also need to consider your collection process. This usually means hiring skips and booking collection trips from private companies – both costly. With better management of your waste, you can lower the costs associated with these needs by lowering the volume of your waste. 

Waste management machinery is a top consideration for those business owners looking to truly improve their waste management. For example, in some industries, polystyrene can be a common waste stream. Many people assume it’s non-recyclable, but they’re mistaken. While it isn’t widely-recycled, polystyrene can be reused and turned into another revenue stream

Similarly, waste management machinery (and working with waste management solution providers) can provide a better rate of regulatory compliance for businesses. There are many different regulations for different waste streams, covering areas such as waste storage, waste disposal, transportation and the securing of waste transfer notes. 

For businesses, machinery such as vertical balers may be the perfect solution for any waste management concerns. To explore vertical balers and what they offer for businesses in a wide variety of industries, download our brochure today.

Vertical Balers for Businesses

In our product guide, you can discover just what types of vertical balers there are and the specific benefits they will bring to your business. Our brochure covers use-cases, specifications and some truly unique features that you’ll only find here at Greenbank.

To explore vertical balers, click here

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