The cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to deal with your waste is to reduce the amount that you produce.
By reducing, reusing and recycling your waste you can:
- save money on waste disposal
- reduce costs for managing and handling your waste
- improve your environmental performance
- improve your reputation with staff, customers and the public
Your waste responsibilities
If your business produces or handles waste, certain waste responsibilities will apply to you, even if you recycle materials such as solvents - see waste responsibilities for chemical manufacturers.
Reduce waste in key areas of chemical manufacturing
Although you may not be able to completely eliminate waste from your chemicals business, you should be able to take a number of practical steps to minimise the amount you produce. These include:
- improving the way your business purchases and stores materials - see how to manage raw materials to reduce waste in chemical manufacturing
- separating hazardous waste so that it does not contaminate other non-hazardous waste - see how to separate and manage hazardous waste from chemical manufacturing
- using vacuum systems effectively within your business - see vacuum systems and hazardous waste in chemicals manufacturing
- reviewing how vessels are designed and washed in your business - see reaction vessel hazardous waste in chemicals manufacturing
- treating effluent before it is disposed of - see treating hazardous effluent from chemical manufacturing
- reducing chemical effluent production by using less water - see water use and efficiency in chemical manufacturing
- reducing your use of solvents - see solvent use responsibilities for chemical manufacturers
You should also look at managing wastes from non-process operations, such as office and site management activities - see how to save money by reducing your business waste.
Adopt a systematic approach
You should adopt a systematic approach to reducing waste at your site. If you have an environmental management system (EMS), or intend to set one up, you should use this to manage your waste - see environmental management systems (EMS) - the basics.
If you don't have the time or resources to set up an EMS, you could review the waste produced by your business, produce an action plan and set targets to reduce it. See our guide on waste reviews, policies and action plans.
You should also look at how you can reduce and manage hazardous substances along your supply chain. Make sure there is regular dialogue between your business, the businesses that supply you with raw materials and the organisations that you supply - see supply chain efficiency.