Welcome to the start of winter…
December has finally arrived and with it comes cold weather, bare trees, and the desire to sit in front of a fire and get comfy. Well, if you’re working in a business where you are responsible for handling waste, winter often means spending a lot of time outdoors in the cold and rain, trying to keep yourself and your waste dry, as well as facing various other challenges. If this sounds relatable, this article is for you.
Welcome to our 10 winter waste management tips, where we try to bring a bit of order to the chaos of winter…
Tip one: Keep your recyclable waste covered or indoors
The quickest way to ruin a bin full of cardboard and paper is to let water get inside, effectively turning the whole lot into mulch. You could also say the same for plastic and metal commercial waste, as large amounts of moisture can deem the whole bin contaminated. Our tip is to make sure that your bins are enclosed and lockable, but if you want to go one step further, simply keep them safe from the elements inside your premises until collection.
Tip two: Keep your staff warm
Waste management works well when everybody is fit, healthy, and aware of what needs to be done. People catching the flu, taking time off work, shivering in the workplace and feeling unproductive are all harmful to your waste management goals. Keep your premises heated, provide branded warm clothing (free marketing!), and look after the health of your staff. Cold weather makes people lethargic, so you need to counteract that in order to make your team feel encouraged to recycle and reuse.
Tip three: Donate to shelters
How often do you find yourselves with surplus assets in your premises? Think of things like chairs, desks, stationery, and more. In some cases, you have so much surplus that you don’t know what to do with it, and so you hire a skip, or a man and van clearance, to get rid of it. What if instead, you looked to your local community, to homeless shelters, women’s shelters, or even animal shelters, to see if your surplus could be of any use to them. For many people, winter is a time for giving.
Tip four: Don’t block corridors and exits
In the event of an emergency, people need to get out of the building down a designated fire route, and if that fire route is blocked by your waste, it’s going to cause problems. In the winter especially, your bins or recyclable waste storage containers should not be placed in areas where they may block exits. In winter, slips, trips, and falls are far more common due to snow, rain and ice that is tracked or blown into the building.
Tip five: Be aware of winds
Following on from tip four and the idea of things blowing into your premises, what about things blowing out? One way that so much waste ends up in British countryside and waterways is that the wind picks up light pieces of packaging waste and carries them there. If your bins are outside and open, or could be blown over by a strong gust, that puts your waste at risk of blowing away, and if it blows away, it’s not going to be recycled. Also be conscious that protecting your waste from winds doesn’t mean hiding it, as this could cause unnecessary confusion or delays when the collection team arrives.
Tip six: Be careful of ice
It may look hilarious on YouTube videos when forklifts get into accidents, but it’s not funny for the person driving them, or the business that suffers. In winter, ice is way more prevalent, and you need to make sure your forklift drivers are extra cautious when moving around the waste. The same goes for operatives on foot, you don’t want people slipping on the ice and getting hurt. If there are some particularly risky areas, try and find a solution to reduce the risk of slips and falls, such as laying old carpet tiles.
Tip seven: Ease of access
If it snows and you shovel the snow in a way that makes it difficult for vehicles to enter and exit the site, you’re doing things wrong. What you need to do is work with your facilities manager to ensure that any collections or deliveries can be easily facilitated in all conditions. Blocked routes and gates that won’t open because of bad weather are going to cause some serious problems. In winter, the goal should be to do everything safely and smoothly without disruption. This is the situation that often causes the most difficulty.
Tip eight: Prevent waste from freezing
Freezing and thawing is a surefire way to create problems, such as contamination, in your waste. Recycling companies and waste management outfits don’t want to collect frozen or soggy waste, as it’s going to create problems in the recycling chain. If temperatures do drop seriously low, ensure that your bins are either sealed or kept indoors. Another reason this is very important is that for mixed waste bins, incompatible waste may freeze together, making the separation process ever more difficult.
Tip nine: Keep your staff safe
People working in waste generating activities or storage areas may need a little bit of extra consideration this winter. Outerwear and personal protective equipment that keeps people warm without obstructing their work is a must. Insulated gloves are a good idea, but be careful not to get gloves that are too thick, as they will affect mobility. Staff should also be aware of the risks of slipping and falling ice. Injuries in winter are more likely and you don’t want to be short-staffed, especially if this is a busy period for your business.
Tip ten: Maintain good communication with your waste management company
Every waste management company has a different schedule for winter. Some close for weeks at a time, some close for religious holidays and celebrations. Almost all close for bank holidays, and on days of severe weather, such as blizzards, you might find some closures too. It’s best to keep a regular dialogue with your waste management company, firstly to put in your calendar exactly when they are closed, and secondly to get the best inside information on recommended collection dates.
Give us a call today 020 3773 1132 to find out when Enviro Waste is closed over the winter period.
Our account managers love to hear from both existing and potential customers.