It is expensive to dispose of hazardous waste, and it is likely to become more costly in the future. It therefore makes sound business sense to reduce the amount of hazardous waste your business produces. This can often be done at relatively little or even no extra cost.
You might consider the following:
- Choose non-hazardous or less hazardous alternatives for materials or components. Even small reductions in your use of hazardous materials can make a big impact on your waste management costs.
- Improve the efficiency of your processes to reduce the quantity of materials that you use and cut down on waste.
- Introduce more effective quality control procedures to reduce the number of defective products that you make and have to throw away.
- Minimise the need for cleaning equipment. Some cleaning is necessary, but better working practices can reduce both the frequency and the extent of cleaning, reducing the amount of potentially contaminating effluents that you produce.
- Recover materials that are used and discarded. Some of these may be reused on site, others can be sent off site for recycling, treatment or recovery. It is important to investigate this, and where necessary discuss with an outside contractor, before you make changes to your existing processes - see how to reuse your business waste to save money.
- Change the design of your products or processes to eliminate the use of hazardous materials. You will also save money because you will not need to use a specialist disposal regime - see ecodesign for goods and services.
- Separate your waste to prevent contamination and making more waste hazardous.
To find the best way of reducing the amount of hazardous waste you produce, talk to your material and component suppliers, get advice from your trade association, look at similar businesses or contact the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).