As a business owner, it's important that you have a solid understanding of your company's waste management practices. While it's easy to dismiss it as no big deal since it's just trash, failing to take it seriously could not only leave you with a hazardous environment on your business property, but may also lead to fines and penalties for improper disposal. To avoid problems like this, you should work with a commercial waste management company to create a waste management plan for your business. Here's a look at what you need to know about waste management plans.

What is a Waste Management Plan?

A waste management plan details the steps necessary for proper handling, disposal and storage of your company's waste material. It is an important document for ensuring that everyone on your facilities staff knows exactly how things are going to be handled and disposed of.

What Should a Waste Management Plan Address?

Waste management plans should be comprehensive documents that cover all of the aspects of your company's waste handling.

  • Waste Material Overview - This includes a thorough description of the types of waste materials that your company generates during normal business operations. It should also have an estimate of the quantities of waste that are typically produced in a standard operation cycle. You may need to conduct a waste audit for a month or two to obtain this information.
  • Waste Material Storage - This section should be dedicated to identifying the areas where the company's waste will be stored before removal. For example, will you have office bins emptied into a storage location on the loading dock before your dock employees move it all to a rented dumpster? Alternatively, you may have everything put into large rolling waste carts that will be dumped into the dumpster once a week. Setting a time limit ensures that things are properly disposed of.
  • Waste Material Handling - This section should include all of the information about how your waste material will be handled, including instructions for how often it will be moved to the commercial dumpster and how often the dumpster will be emptied. Some of this information will be provided by the commercial waste removal company that you hire, including the instructions for how often the dumpster will be emptied. You should also include details about the dumpster location, which includes instructions for keeping the area secure.
  • Recycling Instructions - If there are any materials that your company employees should be recycling or your town requires to be recycled, these should be detailed in the plan and then reinforced with signage throughout the property so that all employees understand what is and is not permitted to be thrown away.
  • Verification Plans - In order for a plan like this to be effective, you'll need to have a system in place to ensure that it is accurate, working as intended and being adhered to. Make sure the plan has a solid description of exactly what will be done to validate the process and how often that will be done. For example, you may plan to conduct routine audits to observe the waste handling, spot-checking each of the steps along the way. This would allow you to ensure that employees are following the defined procedures. You should also include references to any remedy steps and follow-up for addressing issues, which is important for your employees to understand. As an example, you may require employees to complete a recycling training class if they fail to recycle things properly. When everybody knows clearly what to expect, it helps to eliminate uncertainty and the risk of non-compliance with the expectations.

Waste management plans are a great way for your company to manage all of the corporate waste and recycling materials. Not only will the plan help you keep everything organized, it may even make it easier for you to spot areas where you can cut costs or streamline your waste management. When it comes to controlling your company's waste production, evaluating it objectively with a plan like this is beneficial, and you can work with your local commercial trash service to do it.