With Sysmax, waste management companies can demonstrate regulatory compliance and meet broader social responsibility on hazardous waste.
Over the past few years, it’s become more apparent that good environmental management takes effort. Whether it’s reducing carbon emissions or switching away from plastic packaging, companies need to prove themselves with actions that back up high standards and ambitious targets. For those in the frontline of environmental protection, such as waste management companies, it’s vital to prove their competency and compliance. As it’s a tightly regulated sector, companies need to be able to demonstrate to regulators that their staff know what they’re doing. But they also have a broader social responsibility to keep waste out of landfill and avoid spillages of hazardous materials. In this blog, we’re investigating what the waste management sector looks like, and how Sysmax products work for companies handling hazardous waste.
Focus on waste management in the UK
The basic principles of sustainability revolve around six Rs: rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, replace. Within this mantra, the main focus for waste management companies is on three of these strands: reduce, reuse, recycle. And for them, what requires the most care is handling hazardous material. Waste is considered ‘hazardous’ under environmental legislation when it contains substances or has properties that might make it harmful to human health or the environment. Hazardous waste does not necessarily represent an immediate risk to human health. For instance, solvents could be a direct threat to nearby people’s respiratory systems if spilt, but under normal storage conditions they don’t present a threat.
There are rules on international transport and disposal of hazardous waste, although standards vary at the national level. Take for instance, the regulations in the UK. The Environment Agency’s interpretation of hazardous waste can be found in their technical guidance (https://www.gov.uk/dispose-hazardous-waste). In 2004, the co-disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste at the same landfill site was prohibited, leading to the Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) coming into force. Basic characterization of waste at an early stage is therefore essential, to avoid mixing hazardous waste in with other waste destined for landfill.
The staggering scale of hazardous waste
According to latest available government figures from DEFRA (the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs), England managed 213.1 million tonnes of waste in 2017 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/waste-management-data-for-england). Of this total, hazardous waste amounted to 5.3 million tonnes. Over time, the trend has been for the recovery and treatment of more wate, with less being sent to landfill. And another increasing trend is for incineration of waste. Some plants are classed as ‘recovery’ plants if they produce energy as a result of incineration, for which they need to achieve R1 status accreditation.
But on a global scale, the amount of hazardous waste produced is staggering. According to the website TheWorldCounts (https://www.theworldcounts.com/challenges/planet-earth/state-of-the-planet/world-waste-facts/story), Planet Earth produces 400 million tonnes of hazardous waste each year, or almost 13 tonnes a second. That makes it all the more important for waste management companies to be able to track what’s happening to waste they’re processing. And they need to avoid potentially devastating consequences to the environment in the event of spillage or poor disposal of hazardous material.
How Sysmax products help in waste management
By managing compliance, competency, and improvement, Sysmax products can empower waste management companies to do better. There are some quite specific goals, such as achieving the correct categorization and processing of waste types. Our products can help companies achieve accreditation such as ISO 14001 Environmental Management or (for incineration facilities) R1 status. And more broadly, Sysmax will help avoid disastrous spillages of hazardous and biohazardous waste.
Two Sysmax products are particularly helpful in the waste management sector. Benchmax breaks down compliance into manageable sections, incorporating multiple levels and sources of standards and regulations. It increases the number of people who can be relied upon to conduct critical tasks safely and effectively. And with Sawmax, waste management companies can improve standards in their organisation. It evaluates and improves an employee’s competence to perform critical tasks, using real-life simulations and multiple-choice questions to certify ability. This can be conducted by the employee under their own initiative or specified by management, with adaptive learning algorithms guiding them through e-learning modules.
With Sysmax products as part of their toolkit, waste management companies can report compliance to senior management and standards regulators. Being able to track all these issues at every stage and every level of waste management operations protects the organisation and stakeholders from non-compliance risks. And ultimately, it makes the world a less hazardous place.
#WasteManagement #HazardousWaste #NoPlanetB #CaaS
To find out more about how Sysmax can deploy its products in the waste management sector, contact one of the team today.
Post by Peter McAteer
Peter is the founder and CEO of Sysmax, a market-leader in the areas of compliance, performance improvement and competency management. He has more than 35 years’ experience working with global leaders in high-risk industries such and oil and gas extraction. Peter’s focus is on driving performance improvement through analysis of business compliance and staff competency, including risk analysis, high technology engineering and value development. He works with clients to ensure they make the most of the opportunities inherent with the Sysmax suite of products.