Benefits of waste management

Waste management is not only good for the environment, it can also benefit your business reputation and save you money.

Follow our steps to manage your business waste effectively.

1. Assess the lifecycle of products and services

Waste management is not just about how you handle waste material. It’s also about using resources more efficiently to avoid or reduce waste.

Think about a key product or service for your business. For each stage in its lifecycle, consider whether you could be using resources more efficiently. For example, how are your products manufactured, packaged, transported, used, recycled and disposed of.

2. Measure your business waste

To improve waste management, you’ll need to assess the waste you’re currently producing. A quick look in your bins will help you to understand the types of waste and how much waste your business produces. Bin Trim is a tool that can help you measure the amount of waste your business creates and identify materials you could recycle or reuse.

3. Reduce, reuse, recycle

Once you’ve got an understanding of your business waste, the ‘3 Rs’ can help you to manage your waste better. Here are some tips to help your business to reduce, reuse and recycle waste materials.

  • Introduce a waste reduction program – involve your staff by appointing a waste management coordinator to establish a waste reduction program and identify local recyclers.
  • Separate the different types of waste – it’s important to know what rubbish your business can recycle or reuse. Have separate bins for different types of waste.
  • Review your products – consider the cost of disposing of materials compared to the cost of producing or buying them. Could your business use less packaging material, or better still, reuse or recycle?
  • Buy green – talk to your suppliers about using environmentally friendly products, materials or services.

4. Manage hazardous waste correctly

Hazardous waste is material that has the potential to harm humans or the environment. We’ve listed some common examples below, but make sure to check the waste management rules in your state or territory for your obligations.

  • Asbestos – asbestos removal is an issue for many businesses where it is found in the workplace. Learn how to manage and control asbestos in the workplace.
  • Radioactive waste – if your business deals with radioactive materials you must have procedures in place to classify, handle, store and dispose of it correctly. You can find the kinds of radioactive waste on the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency website.
  • Medical waste – may contain blood, body fluids or other infectious materials. The usual disposal method is to incinerate. Another option is to place the waste in a prescribed container for collection and disposal by a licensed waste transporter.
  • Electronic waste there are free recycling services for e-waste across Australia. Find a recycling drop-off point near you.
  • Tyres – find accredited tyre recyclers or join the voluntary Tyre Stewardship national scheme that promotes markets for old tyres.
  • Chemicals – if you have a chemicals business, download the Chemicals Business Checklist for chemical waste requirements.

Chemicals business checklist

The checklist is useful for anyone working in the chemicals and plastics industry including those who import, manufacture, use, handle, transport or dispose chemicals.

The checklist includes:

  • a series of questions to help guide you through many of the issues you need to consider when operating your chemical business
  • a contact list to direct you to the relevant regulatory body or government agency.

5. Check waste management rules in your state or territory

Waste management rules and assistance vary between states and territories. Check with your state, territory and local government for obligations and local services.