Do you want to ensure you’re following the best waste management strategy for your business?
A total of 292.4 million tons of municipal solid waste got generated in the US in 2018. Considering the amount of waste everyone makes daily, it’s best to practice good waste management.
It doesn’t stop after dumping the wastes. It’s more complicated, especially if your company generates hazardous chemical or medical waste.
Below, we’ll list the most common waste management mistakes around. We also included some strategies to avoid committing them. Read on and learn more:
1. You Don’t Have an Updated Contingency Plan
Whether you create small or large waste quantities, get a contingency plan. A plan should detail your response to spills, fires, or explosions. Include the procedures employees must act upon when these incidents occur.
For example, a chemical spill happens in your facilities. Your contingency plan must specify how employees must contain it. Learn more about what to do during chemical spills when you click the link.
It’s not enough to create a contingency plan for failure. Update these contingency plans often. Revise important information, like emergency contact information or specific steps. Invest in hiring health and safety consultants to handle your staff’s training as well as conducting chemical risk assessments.
2. Lacking Proper or Using Wrong Labeling and Signage
Another common waste management mistake is the lack of proper labeling. How will your staff know the proper ways to dispose of your wastes if they have no labels? Remember that different types of waste require various disposal methods.
For example, biomedical wastes from hospitals undergo incineration or autoclaving. Otherwise, it creates hazards for your employees, the environment, and the community.
Mark and label all waste containers to ensure compliance with the law.
Adding proper signage is also an important aspect, especially around hazardous wastes. Failure to put up signs about hazards will put your staff and at risk. It’s more efficient to assign the task of labeling and signage checking to a specific person.
3. Keeping Waste Containers Open
Always ensure that all waste containers have vapor-tight and leak-proof lids. Train your employees to always close the waste container lids well. It’s especially vital if your company deals with chemical wastes.
Some waste types can turn into vapor. It poses health and safety hazards, making your workplace a death trap when mismanaged. For example, the vapor can be flammable, poisonous, or harmful to the environment.
Never open the containers unless you’re adding or removing wastes. Ensure that the waste containers are in good condition and leak-proof. The material used for the containers must also be compatible with the type of waste it holds as well.
4. Not Giving Your Staff Correct Waste Management Training
Let’s say you have top-notch waste management contingency plans, containers, and labels. However, your staff lacks the training needed to follow your plans and use the equipment. If your current situation is similar, the future for your company remains hazy and dim.
Don’t expect untrained people to get hired and do well as drivers. The same applies to your waste management staff. Don’t expect smooth or great waste management practices if you don’t train them.
Give the proper training and safety equipment to your waste management staff. Your budget should cover the necessary training and seminars. Agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can help you find the right trainers.
5. Failure to Perform Prompt Waste Disposal
Collecting and storing waste on-site can be dangerous. It’s why you must never keep waste for longer than three days near the site. Before the three-day allowance, transport it to a long-term storage area.
The reason for this transport is that some wastes are explosive, flammable, or toxic. They may be reactive to the materials or gear near the waste generation site.
Waste storage areas observe proper long-term storage and containment of hazardous wastes. If you can’t afford a long-term waste storage area, hire a waste disposal service.
6. Using the Wrong Containers for Waste Storage or Transportation
As we mentioned, some wastes have different reactions and characteristics. If you want to keep the wastes in place, your waste containers must have the right materials. For example, corrosive wastes must go into plastic containers or plastic-lined drums.
Another example is medical waste, which comes in various forms. Sharp needles and other sharp objects used in medicine must go into rigid bins. Fortunately, most service providers provide medical waste containers.
It means you don’t need to look in the market for such containers. All you need to do is to find the right waste management equipment and gear to keep your staff protected. Also, avoid labeling containers or wastes as “unknown” since it will cause a lot of confusion.
7. Failure to Account for Hazardous or Medical Waste
Recordkeeping is another key factor to practice in waste management. Medical facilities and laboratories follow strict recordkeeping protocols. They always have the manifests and documentation for every ounce of waste they make.
Even if you don’t generate medical waste, it’s wise to start with an organized recordkeeping strategy. Create manifests and documentation for your business’s wastes. Do the same with the waste going out of your facilities and into waste disposal services.
In case complications occur, you can go back to your records for verification. You can use the records to keep track of how much waste your company makes. It prevents unwarranted downtime in case problems occur.
Avoid Waste Management Mistakes Soon
We hope you enjoyed reading and learning about waste management today. The waste management mistakes mentioned above are only a handful of the most common ones. Avoid the other less common waste management mistakes by speaking with an expert.
Regardless, it won’t hurt to expand your reading efforts. It’s especially when your business longevity is on the line.
Do you want to continue educating yourself with useful information? Check out our other posts for more guides, news, and other similar content.