Sustainable waste management practices are central to Ireland’s progress towards a circular economy. This means we are trying to keep goods in circulation for longer, moving away from the linear take (natural resources), make (goods) and dispose (waste) cycle.
Our customers frequently come to us for tips on how to make their business more sustainable when it comes to waste management. Although there are many ways to become more sustainable, and advice greatly depends on the customer, there are 3 general steps we will always encourage.
Segregate your waste streams
Sustainable waste management firstly requires effective segregation of each waste stream:
- General Waste
- Mixed Dry Recyclables
- Oragnic/ Food Waste
This is essential to minimse our general waste volume. When goods are recycled, we decrease our reliance on natural resources and facilitate the circular economy.
Standardise your bin colours
As part of the Government Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, Ireland’s bin colour codes are:
- Black for general waste
- Green for recycling
- Brown for organic/ food waste
Applying this scheme across your business and household minimises confusion, decreasing the chance of items ending up in the incorrect bin.
We adopted this in our own canteen and have seen a significant improvement in our staff’s waste segregation efforts.
To implement appropriate waste segregation, education is essential. Talking to your fellow household members about waste management, or holding an education day for staff, are effective means to educate. This includes:
- What does/ does not go in each bin
- The reasons why we need to use the correct bins
We have found, for example, many people believe their disposable coffee cup can be recycled. This is not true, however, as the cup is not clean and dry. Similarly, people in your household or business may not realise that paper kitchen towels can go in the food bin.
Everyone having the correct information is vital for the success of your sustainable waste management efforts.
Read the Government Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/4221c-waste-action-plan-for-a-circular-economy/