The Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it a whole host of changes for British industry, and while it may seem that sustainability has increased with our heightened awareness over the effects of reduced transportation, the return of wildlife and reduced air pollution that have come about during this time, there has been one other significant consequence of the situation that warrants attention: more waste.
There has been an increase in the amount of single-use items being utilised during the pandemic and while the World Economic Forum says that the full scope of disposable plastic waste used during the crisis is not fully known, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment believes that an extra 200 tonnes of daily waste came from hospitals solely in the city of Wuhan during the peak of the outbreak there, compared to ordinary times.
The increase in wastage, certainly in the UK’s case, has arisen from retail outlets having to implement new procedures to keep customers safe. Single-use items such as industrial vats of antibacterial gels and sanitisers, blue hand-drying roll, disposable gloves, masks and disinfectant bottles are all items being used at increased rates out of necessity and being disposed of after one use. Several other items are also coming in additional plastic wrapping to prevent unnecessary and potentially dangerous contact, which is only creating further waste.
Willshee’s Waste and Recycling, a family-owned waste and recycling company in Burton-upon-Trent which offers waste management services to the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors, believes that recycling and sustainability could be being neglected in the wake of the increased wastage, and some of this new retail waste may not be being disposed of in the correct way.
To this end, Willshee’s - which has its own zero waste to landfill ambitions - has issued advice on a number of ways that businesses can reduce the amount of waste they create.
Willshee’s recommends that sustainability-conscious business can consider taking the following steps:
- Going digital: companies can switch their accounts and invoicing process to a computer, thereby reducing the amount of paper wastage and improving accuracy.
- Making changes to stock management: this can be done by implementing a digital stock management system, helping business leaders keep up to date with trends and metrics based on order histories to avoid over-ordering items and improve fulfilment times.
- Cutting down on unnecessary packaging: Willshee’s recommends that businesses audit the suppliers, manufacturers, and packaging of their products and determine whether there are any areas where processes could be less energy-intensive or less wasteful. Ask yourself: do your products need all that packaging, and if so, are there more sustainable alternatives?
- Suitable waste management is vital: the waste requirements of each business vary depending according to size, and the products and/or services it provides, the manufacturing process behind them, and more. Willshee’s recommends that business leaders ensure that staff are appropriately aware of where specific waste should go and use separate bins for recyclables, food scraps, and general waste. If you are a business leader who is sustainability-conscious but unsure where to get started with improving waste management or don’t have the time to carry out a complete overhaul, it is helpful to consider outsourcing to a professional waste management service like Willshee’s itself.
Willshee’s uses its own recycling centre in Burton-on-Trent, which is in an ideal location in the Midlands. The company prides itself of being environmentally aware and is dedicated to helping firms recycle everything that can be recycled in one way or another. Willshee’s also specialises in capturing residual energy from waste where possible, to help toward achieving zero waste to landfill.
Each of these helpful tips will help to improve company sustainability, cut down on waste output and help increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by displaying a clear concern for impact on the planet. All this combined may even being a tangible financial benefit to businesses in the long run.