Top Waste Management Tips for Facilities Managers

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Friday 22nd October, 2021


Clearground - top waste management tips for Facilities management

Waste and Facilities Management

Facilities managers are responsible for the waste management of commercial and industrial sites, and with so many variables to take into consideration, it can be difficult to identify waste generation sources and create a plan to reduce these sources. In this blog post, we will share some top tips that facilities managers should implement in order to minimize waste production and therefore costs at their facilities.

The following waste management tips will help identify areas for improvement, methods to achieve change and increase buy-in from management, staff, suppliers and other stakeholders.


Understanding waste

Every site creates waste, and it is important for organisations to identify and monitor the type of waste they generate in line with the waste hierarchy. Understanding the different waste classification types will help in facility management and identifying and monitoring the type of waste generated, which in turn will help to develop appropriate changes, which can be applied and monitored throughout your organisation.

Once you know what type of waste you create, you will know how to segregate and dispose of it, in both a compliant and cost-effective way, for all your staff, stakeholders, residents and/or service users.

An example of an established system includes sorting the generated materials into four categories; food, recyclables, general refuse (non-hazardous) and hazardous wastes (for instance oil, nappies, electrical items, sharps). A key principle in Facility Management is considering the development of a power hierarchy when establishing what actions should take priority based on different types of wastes such as reactive vs nonreactive etc: What needs to happen first? Second? Third?, etc.

Industrial processes create many types of waste that are either harmful to the environment or toxic. One example is from heavy construction industries, where we see waste such as reused asphalt wastes, distillates, and used oil. Along with construction, other examples of industries that commonly produce significant hazardous waste are chemical, paint and paper manufacturing.


Types of hazardous waste include :

– Materials that can easily ignite or spontaneously combust

-Petroleum distillates, used oil and asphalt

– Paints, thinners and solvents

– Used car tyres.

 – WEE waste –electrical items/ white goods

Types of non-hazardous waste include:

-paper, plastic bottles and other food packaging.

These types of waste are usually more recyclable than hazardous wastes so the facility is able to reduce its carbon footprint by recycling these items instead of having them sent to a landfill.

Keep in mind that unsecured waste containers can attract pests including rodents or insects which may contaminate materials stored elsewhere in the facility.

Organisations are legally responsible for the waste they produce, and this is just as true for hazardous waste. Organisations have to consider requirements imposed by regulations even if they are not producing hazardous wastes – for example in the event that a facility has an emergency spill of any kind. Facility management includes the responsibility of ensuring the team is educated on how to safely handle these types of products in order to avoid accidents that could cause injury or result in negative environmental impacts due to accidental releases during use, transit or while handling for example.


Conduct a waste audit

– Key elements to waste management include identifying the source of the problem and then implementing solutions that help address it.

– Find out which types of waste are most prevalent at your industrial facility by conducting an audit or survey. This will help you identify where to focus efforts first. Conducting audits is also important because they can provide insight into trends in how people use space on the premises and what activities have changed over time that may be impacting efficiency and sustainability (e.g., new technologies replacing old ones) and importantly identify which processes are generating waste that is not recycled or can be more efficiently handled. These insights can identify key areas of focus in the workplace and can be used to support the business case and drive the facility management agenda.

Once you have developed a deep insight into how your organisation is currently performing, you will be better able to identify areas for improvement.

– Identify waste management needs:

A Waste Management Needs Assessment is an in-depth analysis to find out exactly what your company’s current practices are, where any gaps exist and why they need improvement so that you can take steps towards creating a more sustainable future. Conducting this assessment allows you to work on goals together as a team by identifying opportunities for improvement through data collection which may be possible via questionnaires, interviews or other methods; introduce changes gradually over time (e.g., month by month) rather than attempting large scale change too quickly; set timelines for specific tasks and action items from the plan.


Build a waste management taskforce

-Take stock of all the stakeholders involved with managing company/facility waste streams to gain buy-in from key personnel. Creating a waste management task force can often have huge benefits in retaining momentum, generating organisational change and cultivating an environment of accountability. It can prove extremely effective to include stakeholders from across divisions and at every level within the organisational hierarchy, as well as service users. The right blend and approach will vary dependent on the industry. Even better if you have colleagues who have previous experience of the implementation of workplace and facilities management programmes within a business or organisation.

-Get your project team on board.

-Identify the scope of the task at hand and understand what is required to achieve success (e.g., a waste management policy).


Create a waste management plan

Effectively identifying problems, requirements and goals in relation to facilities management is a precursor to the critical stage of planning and developing a strategy and structure to the implementation of effective facilities management processes, procedures and programmes to drive operational efficiencies and productivity improvement in the workplace.

-Identify and measure key indicators for the facility’s performance, specific to your industry or business, infrastructure, goals, buildings, processes, services and facilities. These could include recycling, hazardous waste generation, total solid waste generated per day; annual landfill tonnage etc.

-Focus on one waste stream at a time: identify the sources, strategically prioritize them and develop an action plan. This will help to maximize resources and minimize complexity in such complex systems where there are many stakeholders with different goals.

-Create a plan that sets out concrete steps for making change happen, taking into account all aspects related to implementing any changes such as cost, time frame and benefits (e.g., reduction in landfill space). Planning effectively will assist with stakeholder buy-in and demonstrating how the business can implement key recommendations.

-Set measurable indicators for success (e.g., number of tons diverted from landfill) which can be tracked over time to measure progress or lack thereof towards overall goal as well as individual objectives.

-Create a budgeting strategy: Include ongoing monitoring costs, staff salaries/wages, equipment purchases, etc.; more upfront spending now may save money further down the road by reducing future expenditures due to excess waste and inefficient processes.

When creating an industrial waste management plan be sure to include all components of the process. This will help identify problems early and have better solutions for dealing with them, whilst making it clearer and easier for stakeholders to support the initiatives.


Procedural change and the development of policies and procedures:

To make any changes that can improve the flow of waste out of your organisation or business, and into a facility suitable for treatment or disposal, work with management, staff, suppliers and other stakeholders on developing policies.

-Develop a policy that requires staff to document waste disposal practices and the results of their work. These policies that require staff to document what has been done (and post results) enables transparency across the organisation.

-Ensure to incorporate health and safety considerations

-Create checklists for routine tasks, such as checking for contamination, or recycling wee waste – this will provide consistency in performance quality and efficiency across all teams.


Track and analyse performance

You should also put time aside every week/ month to review what was completed during this period. This is a useful way to track progress towards goals by using metrics along with meeting deadlines.

Investing upfront costs now can help save money down the road from reduced future expenditure.

Developing a clear understanding of how much hazardous and non-hazardous waste your company is producing will help you to be more efficient and reduce the risk of accidents.


Managing change within an organisation

Many facilities managers may find it challenging to manage change within their organisation and often need help identifying the right steps.

Facility management by definition is not an isolated silo it is the organisational function that integrates people, place and process within the built environment with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people, the quality and efficiency of the workplace and the productivity of the core business. Facilities management incorporates many different stakeholders and you should work with management, staff, suppliers and other stakeholders to understand what they would like to achieve from any changes that are being planned. Once this is agreed on then a plan can be developed for achieving those goals.

You can improve the likelihood of impactful organisation change by clearly communicating desired outcomes and how success will be measured in accordance with operational improvement.

Facility managers should also:

– Keep an open mind to new ideas, but critically evaluate them for coherence in line with the organisation’s goals.

– Encourage feedback from all levels of staff throughout the operation including front line workers who are closest to the customers or end-users of your facility.‍

– Encourage your staff to identify solutions.

– Foster a culture that encourages creative thinking.

– Consider key business continuity implications

– Utilise technological solutions

Improving change management can be achieved through management practices such as establishing cross-functional teams, communicating changes clearly in advance (including any potential impact on people), ensuring stakeholders have had their say prior to implementing change and then following up after implementation by checking progress against original objectives.

Communication with employees, contractors, suppliers, clients and other key stakeholders is integral to the success of any change process.

It is important to identify and engage stakeholders early in a project, which can be achieved through stakeholder mapping exercises that help you determine who will have an interest in the outcomes and how they might react to changes.

The result of this exercise should also help you understand what information would need to be communicated at various stages during the implementation phase.

Communicate with stakeholders as much as possible about your plans for change through meetings, workshops or team briefings where they may offer their input on potential solutions or ideas. ‍

Ensure employees and service users feel involved by providing mechanisms for feedback and review.

Plan ahead so that you can avoid any disruptions during implementation phases which will make it hard to reach deadlines and targets if not planned appropriately.


Waste management and staff training

Organisations need to ensure that their employees are properly trained in the latest waste disposal techniques and how they can reduce waste. This will help increase buy-in from managers, suppliers and other stakeholders who may have less knowledge of sustainability initiatives and the implications within their facilities. Staff training is key to ensuring a successful implementation because it helps people understand why change is necessary for continued success.


 Final thoughts

– A small investment in training can go a long way towards reducing waste at your facility, whether it is industrial, residential/student accommodation, or commercial.

– Choose your suppliers carefully – it could make all the difference when it comes to quality control and keeping costs down. A facilities support company like Clearground will have vetted many suppliers, ensuring that they are registered with the Environment Agency, fully insured, and will carry out a Risk assessment at your premises. Clearground also have buying power with suppliers, with agreed rates already in place; you can take advantage of our relationships with a variety of waste suppliers, to find the one that is right for you. 

-The waste management hierarchy is a clear way of identifying the most appropriate method of managing a particular type of waste:


Over the past 18 years, Clearground has worked with facilities management clients, to introduce incentives on recycling, repurposing unwanted furniture and ensuring that all waste is disposed of correctly.

-The following techniques will help organisations achieve zero-waste, taken from the EPA:

Component identification and segregation is important for organising recycling activities in order to reduce contamination with other materials that are difficult or expensive to recycle; it also helps identify hazardous materials at an early stage so they can be dealt with appropriately. Organisations should set up procedures for dealing with these components such as capturing separate types within containers or by using colour-coded bins. To avoid unnecessary labour costs, organisations may need to find ways that would allow separation at the source (e.g., having different areas designated for each sortable component). Some companies choose not only to segregate but reuse products like cardboard boxes for example.


With all the opportunities available to help your organisation improve its waste management procedures, it can be confusing where to start or how to identify where the priorities and opportunities are.

·        A waste audit should be your starting point when developing an effective plan. Once you know what type of waste you produce, when the peak times are and how much of what is being wasted, it’s easier to develop policies and procedures for managing that unwanted material going forward.

·        Set achievable goals and track them.

·        Finally, training staff on best practices can make sure everyone understands their role in achieving these goals – ultimately leading to better success rates!

We’re here to support facility managers throughout this process, to help you become and continue to be, compliant and cost-effective.

Contact us today at

Clearground was established in 2003 and we are experts in waste management and facility management. We can manage and deliver your requirements at every level, local or national, from single-bin sites to multi-waste processes. As your waste disposal partner, we are your single point of contact for all your waste management needs, with regular communication ensuring standards are maintained and trust is built.

Our service flexibility ensures we can optimize your processes to fit your company’s green objectives, whilst reducing your waste to landfill, substantially lowering your company’s carbon footprint.

Accredited Waste Management Across the UK

Effective waste management systems are essential to achieving and maintaining the ISO14001 accreditation, which at Clearground we are proud to say we have held since 2008. Clearground can create, deliver and maintain an individual waste management plan that offers both environmental and cost-saving benefits. A carefully considered waste management programme will also help reduce pollution, landfill issues, contamination and lower your overall carbon footprint.  Get in contact with us today and put Clearground between you and your waste management problems.

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Clearground provide our core service across the following regions: Birkenhead, Wirral, Merseyside and Liverpool, but we can also provide our services all over the North West.