Friday, October 21, 2011

Site Waste Management Plans - Burden or Benefit to Contractors?

By Steve Last 

From April 2008 on Contractors in England shall have another legal requirement to comply with among the host of national and European regulations. The requirement is the provision of Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) which will be a legal requirement for all construction projects in England over £300,000, after the 6th of April.
On the face of it one would think that this would be just another pen pushing/PC keyboard keying burden, but the research says otherwise. In fact there is evidence to suggest that the SWMPs should actually save the construction industry significant sums of money in a manner which is also sustainable as it results in reduced energy utilisation and a lower raw material consumption rate.
Site Waste Management Plans should also help the construction industry to get maximum value out of its waste and make better use of resources and in this way they will be moving towards more sustainable waste management. It will also expose the cowboys in the industry, and reduce fly tipping as a result.

These plans are cited as being extremely beneficial in formalising a comprehensive recycling and waste management strategy for each project. If they succeed in this they will become important tools for the construction industry. Those that propound their use say they will be a good way to help businesses be careful about how they use, store and dispose of materials which at present usually only get consideration AFTER all other factors have been decided.

By taking early action on waste before the planned enforcement of Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) contractors are said to be benefiting from significant cost savings, much to the surprise of all concerned. These Plans should provide a structure for waste delivery and disposal during construction projects, reduce waste going to landfill and increase recycling rates on-site.
The industry has been following a voluntary code of practice launched by DTI in 2004, but implementation has been patchy. Defra resolved that enforcement would be necessary and has developed proposals for the introduction of compulsory site waste management plans in England.
Contractors seeking more information about the plans should read the latest news on construction waste on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) website. There is also guidance for anyone working in building, demolition, civil engineering or building trades on the UK Government's NetRegs website. It has also been possible to download the non-statutory guidance for site waste management plans from the Defra website (PDF) for some time, and before the deadline for the new regulations this April there is likely to be updated information provided for downloading..

Construction Waste
Construction and demolition waste accounts for around 33% of controlled waste in the UK (over 100 million tonnes/ year), making it the single largest waste stream.
Construction is the single largest user of material resources in the economy and generates 100 million tonnes of waste every year WRAP. Construction firms are being urged to take early action on waste before the planned enforcement of Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) next year so that they are not overburdened when enforcement commences.

If they work as intended by the government, SWMPs should do a lot to change the construction industry's attitude to waste by raising the profile of waste management planning. Defra held regional workshops for the construction industry during the consultation period at which a two way dialogue helped to do just that.

But, don't forget that it is not all about cost saving and sustainability for the government. Our English MPs are also concerned about the small, but increasing amount of construction waste that is illegally dumped or fly-tipped and which causes enormously bad publicity wherever locally it takes place.
The SWMP regulations will encourage contractors to recycle suitable spoil, demolition materials, prunings, and surplus construction material arising from the works on site to avoid the need to transport materials. CIRIA are currently developing Best Practice examples of waste minimisation in the UK Construction sector. Also, a SWMP, guidance document and a Code of Practice were launched back in July 2004 to help the construction industry face the major challenge of changes in waste management legislation, including SWMPs.
The purpose of SWMPs will basically also encompass a new site task to provide accurate projections for waste delivery and disposal at every stage of a construction project. Many will see this as very burdensome.

SWMPs will apply to all construction work including preparatory work such as demolition and excavation, civil engineering and engineering projects, and projects involving maintenance, alteration and decoration of existing structures. Also to be included in the plans is the installation, maintenance or removal of related services such as electrical, gas, water, sewage and telecommunications.

The workload required to produce and maintain and circulate the Site Waste Management Plan is significant, but these actions are seen to be of great value as an important tool for cost savings for construction companies and their clients, of all sizes. The new enforceable provision of SWMPs should provide another step in the quest to improve the environmental performance of all English construction contractors, and help them to meet regulatory controls, and reduce the ever-rising costs of disposing of waste.

The implementation of this statutory duty to prepare construction site waste management plans will be starting very soon. We recommend that all construction professionals should familiarise themselves now with the Code of Practice.

The SWMP should not be seen as a negative development as it aims to assist contractors in their own management of their waste development and disposal planning. Contracting industry staff will surely soon be able to roll out of Site Waste Management Plans rapidly and efficiently for the benefit of all involved after a short initial period of learning, and in most cases the SWMP should then save money for the site developer and users.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hazardous Waste - Name Says It All

By Rakesh Dutt 

Hazardous waste is generated by each and every industry; no matter how big or small. It has properties that make it dangerous or potentially harmful to human health and the environment which makes it vitally important to ensure that hazardous waste disposal is done with utmost care.
Hazardous waste is generally defined by one or more of these characteristics:
Ignitable: Such hazardous waste is highly inflammable. It is capable of burning at or below 140o F. Unwanted gasoline is an ideal example.

Corrosive: It burns the skin, causes irritation in the eyes and is capable of destroying living tissue when contact occurs. It can corrode metals, plastics or rubber. Automobile battery is a corrosive waste.
Explosive or Reactive: Such waste is capable of causing an explosion or releasing poisonous fumes when exposed to water, air or other chemicals. Old medicinal ether and out-dated ammunition are reactive wastes.

Toxic: These wastes are fatal if swallowed. Heavy metals like lead and mercury are toxic wastes.
Radioactive: This type of waste is capable of damaging and destroying cells and chromosomal material in the human body and other living organisms. It can also contaminate the air and the surrounding environment.

Hazardous waste can be in the form of liquid, solid, contained gases, or sludges. It can cause illness, injury or even death and also destruction of environment. Because of such potential risks, hazardous waste is treated differently from ordinary wastes.

It needs to be disposed of properly by professionals who are trained in environmental hazardous waste services . The improper disposal of even small quantity of hazardous waste poses a long-term risk to public health and the environment. After all it takes only a small amount of waste to contaminate a large area of soil or groundwater.

Because of these serious risks it is imperative that even small businesses properly identify and dispose of hazardous waste taking the help of companies who specialize in providing hazardous waste disposal services and industrial cleaning.These companies undertake proper transportation and disposal of all types of hazardous waste be it in solid, semisolid or liquid forms including ignitable, corrosives, oils, dry bulk, sludge, filtrate, reactive, biological waste etc.

Hazardous waste disposal companies efficiently manage hazardous waste from cradle to grave providing disposal services like:
Detailed listing of on-site chemicals
On-site sampling and analysis of hazardous waste
Waste profiling
Waste Placarding
reactive chemical stabilization
transportation and disposal

In the wake of growing concern about the environment, all kinds of industries be it automotive, packaging, printing, electrical, plastics and many others are turning to companies providing environmental remediation services. In this way they get rid of the waste and do their bit for the environment too.

Rakesh is a freelance journalist and an enthusiast on environmental and industrial services. His articles on newer technologies and eco-friendly methods of dry ice blasting and hazardous waste disposal etc. have been published in various magazines and website.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Waste Haulers' Nightmare

By Robert Kamppi 

The business of waste hauling has grown to be extremely lucrative. With the focus on the environment these days, the waste hauler is in a position to charge just about anything they want. After all, according to them, they are the stewards of the environment. They would have us believe that they are working on our behalf to protect and enrich our environment. With television advertising telling us how they are turning landfills into nature preserves and little league baseball diamonds and what a good a neighbor to Bambi they are, could you have any doubt?

Then there are some people like me and possibly you, who ask the difficult questions, the people who have to deal with the waste hauler every week in our business, knowing that the waste hauler is using spin tactics on the public. Is it fair to use that spin to make us feel guilty about producing waste, especially when at the same time they are paying their sales reps top commissions to classify even our recyclables as waste with little regard for recycling, waste reduction strategies, or new compaction technology in order to keep their profits up? (Please see article "Talking Trash - The Waste Hauling Salesperson's Moral Dilemma),
As a matter of fact, one of the big waste haulers sent out an inter-company memo that instructed their employees to "disrupt and stop the sale by any means necessary of new high compaction machinery to their hauling customers".

At the time, when I was working for them, I thought the hauler was just trying to keep their customers. Then, when I thought about it in the context of the operations and sales strategies they were teaching me, it became crystal clear and seemed very insidious, to say the least. (Please see "Waste Haulers and Manufactures-The Truth behind the Story".)
If a waste hauler was to let a new kind of high compaction waste handling machine become available to their customers, it would be a nightmare for them. More compaction, in their eyes, means more weight in the bins which means fewer loads and a big drop in their profits. Without even considering all the time and money they will have lost in developing their strategies and training their sales and operations staff on implementing these strategies. The most frightening part of this nightmare for the waste hauler is that their customers would be educated and not so easily manipulated.
Their greed for higher profits and bigger market share has blinded them to the fact that, if one of them were to work with their customers and help them to acquire the new high compaction machines on the market so they really could be as efficient with their waste hauling as possible, that waste hauler's nightmare would become a sweet money-making dream with a market share that would go through the roof.

They would have less of an impact on the environment with less trips being made by the big diesel trucks, less overhead costs from fuel and maintenance costs and a reputation as a reputable waste hauler with whom companies would want to do business. With that hauler's market share up, reputation clean and less money spent on developing strategies to mislead their potential customers and with customers' lower overhead costs and higher profits, everyone would be a winner: the environment, the customers and the waste hauler.
Unfortunately, as blinded as the haulers are by their greed and set in their way of doing things, we, their unfortunate victims, their customers, will have to endure this nightmare scenario until we open our eyes, educate ourselves and stop blindly trusting that our hauler has our or the environment's best interest at heart.

As business people we have the responsibility to protect our company's bottom line profits from this kind of pilferage, our environment from this kind of abuse and our communities from this kind of environmental impact. Our priorities must change from "whom do we call to get rid of this waste?" to "what waste strategies would be the most efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly way to dispose of our waste?". (Please see "Solid Waste Removal - Prioritizing for the Future".) What resources can we call on to achieve the highest compaction rate possible? How can we lower our waste hauling cost and lessen our impact on the environment?

The answers are out there. It is time we woke up from this nightmare, started educating ourselves, took the time to research, and asked ourselves some not-so-hard questions. "What is currently available in the market?" Is there new high compaction waste handling technology that will help to achieve our goals? Is it cost effective? If implemented, how much of a positive effect will my company have on lowering our environmental impact in our community?
All of these questions can be answered in a positive way. You can educate and shock yourself with the outcome -- just by waking up from the waste haulers' nightmare and seeing that the solutions is not a dream.

Mr. Robert Kamppi has been in the Waste industry here in the United States and in Europe for over 20 years. He has worked with National Waste Haulers, Equipment Manufacturers and as consultant to Manufacturers and industry. He has also become an independent, trusted and valued expert nationally on waste hauling efficiency and reduced environmental impact strategies for many companies. He is currently involved with the introduction and placement of next generation High efficiency waste control equipment. Mr. Kamppi firmly believes that Manufacturers and Industry leaders that are looking to lessen there impact on the environment and lessen the impact of waste removal on there bottom line profits should investigate this new equipment. You can contact Mr. Kamppi at his web site for more information or to ask any questions

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Waste Disposal In The UK

By Jamie Bell 

Waste disposal refers to the practice of discarding the waste materials that are generated daily by industries and businesses as a result of their operations. Waste materials should be managed efficiently and this involves their collection, transportation, processing, recycling as well as their disposal.

Considering the effects of waste on people and the environment around, it becomes the duty of every waste-producing business to take adequate steps to ensure its proper disposal. Often, businesses fail to fulfill their waste disposal duties because of the rising costs. However, the cost factor should not impact a business' decision to dispose off its waste; as a responsible corporation, all efforts should be directed to ensure proper waste disposal thereby minimizing the harm to the ecological balance.
The Government of United Kingdom has listed a list of directives for businesses that need to be adhered to for proper waste disposal.

The highlights of UK's strategy for waste disposal are:
o Limit the amount of waste generated and its harmfulness.
o Recover and reduce the waste by recycling.
o Dispose off the waste without jeopardizing human health and without causing damage to the environment.
o Re-use and reduce the waste from electronic and electrical equipment.
o Waste oil should be carefully collected and disposed without any risk.
o Hazardous waste should be discarded without any hazard to people and the environment.
o Packaging and packaging waste should be efficiently managed protecting the environment.
o Waste intended to be disposed in landfills has to pass strict technical requirements.
o Waste from end-of-life vehicles should be reused and recycled before getting disposed as useless.
o Portable, nickel-cadmium, automotive and industrial batteries have to pass a set of requirements before they can be disposed; the possibility of collection and recycling should be explored before disposal.
o Waste removal in incinerators has to meet certain criteria before the process of incinerated.
o Environmental Protection Act, The Producer Responsibility Obligations Regulations, and Waste Minimization Act passed by the UK Government and regulated by its Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are all aimed at ensuring that waste is recycled, reduced and disposed such that the resulting pollution and damage to the environmental factors is minimal.

Several corporations and industries realize the impact of waste on the environment and dutifully outline a bunch of rules that need to be followed for waste minimization. They summarize strategies that help to reduce, collect, recycle and dispose the resulting waste causing minimal damage to the environment. Many companies have been formed with the sole purpose of waste management. These companies specialize in waste collection, treatment, recycling and disposal. Aguachem Ltd., with its online presence on, is one such waste disposal company that helps businesses focus their resources on growth while it assumes complete responsibility of their waste management. In this fashion, businesses contribute to the well-being of the environment and simultaneously stay on their track. Aguachem Ltd. provides similar services like waste water treatment, effluent treatment, tank cleaning etc.

Recently, the hype about concern for the environment and its safety is on the rise. Further, with an increase in factors that contribute to environmental depletion, it has become all the more necessary to take steps to taper this trend towards a healthier and balanced ecosystem. In light of all this, corporations need to amend their policies and incorporate changes that serve this cause.
Corporations that contribute to environmental protection receive a lot of positive publicity and goodwill. Although this step primarily helps to conserve the very habitat we thrive in, corporations reap the benefits of good public relations as well. In addition, the fact that the UK government has passed legislation with guidelines for corporations to follow has added to the gravity of the issue. Bearing these considerations in mind, many local, national and multi-national corporations have included waste management efforts in their portfolio. Further, these companies advertise their efforts as well which contributes to their overall reputation. Examples of some environment-savvy corporations are Kingfisher, AstraZeneca and Sun Microsystems.

At the end of the road, there are two options to choose from. One provides plenty reasons for industries and businesses to embrace proper waste disposal measures while the other asks to ignore all considerations and gradually but eventually, cripple the environment that has given so much to us.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Waste Separation at Home - Key to Sustainable Solid Waste Recycling

By Hammed Taiwo 

The question that frequently comes to my mind is that how far can a newly established recycling project be sustained in Nigeria? First and foremost, the success of solid wastes management through their recycling into useful products and, in fact, any waste management strategy depends on how well the mixed solid wastes are separated into different components. In Nigeria, like other developing countries, waste separation at home or point of generation is considered as a messy exercise. Almost everybody wants to move waste from his or her sight as quick and as cheap as possible, immediately after their generation. Meanwhile, storing wastes together make recycling operations a very tedious exercise. It reduces the productivity and increases cost of production at waste recycling plant. It also reduces the quality of recycled products. For instance, organic fraction of mixed wastes stored together decomposes with foul odour that attracts flies and pests of economic importance.

Apart from waste separation into major components like glass, rubber, paper etcetera at points of generation, another challenge faced by waste recyclers is the complex nature of some components like plastics, nylon and metal that involves post separation at site. Nylon and plastics in a waste stream are of different kinds, based on their chemical make-up. They can be LDPE- low density poly-ethelyne, HDPE- high density poly-ethelyne, PP raffia, PP stripe and so on. Just like nylon and plastics, metal scraps also include ferrous and non-ferrous metal that cannot be recycled together because of their different melting points. This secondary separation at waste recycling site requires skill and time, making the recycling process labour intensive with attendant cost implication. Perhaps, poor separation of recyclable materials affects the quality of recycled products and reduces their marketability.

Successful recycling requires that recyclables can compete well with virgin materials in quality as well as price. The price of refined or recycled materials is determined by the over all cost of collection activities. The quality is influenced by the way collection activities including sorting are performed. However wastes are not normally collected in cost-effective and environmentally sound manner in this country. Research has shown that waste collection and segregation into different components account for largest share of total costs of solid wastes recycling. The practice that is common in the country up till now is that governments collect commingle wastes and dispose them at landfills that are not sanitary and properly underlined for leachate control. This practice is neither sustainable nor environmental friendly. It does not give room for resource conservation through waste recycling. In many cases, scavengers, poor and jobless people from low socio-economic stratum, parade such landfills to salvage recyclable materials like plastics, bobbles and metal scraps, at the extent of their health and well being.

Recyclable fractions of mixed wastes can be segregated and transported into recycling centre by different methods. Most of these methods are not practicable and cost-effective in many countries of the world. In the first method, waste segregation is carried out at homes during the storage processes and the sorted wastes are collected directly from households. In another situation, mixed wastes are collected from households and transferred into a designated sorting centre where people are employed to carryout the separation. The sorted recyclable components are then transferred into recycling facility for processing while the non-recyclables are transferred into landfills. Anyhow, the first scheme is cheaper than the second. It is also possible for waste producers to bring recyclable wastes directly to recycling facility without being charged for waste disposal service. In some cases, such wastes are sold to the facility at a predetermined cost. Independent buyers may be involved in both collection of waste and recovery of materials. The buyers often pay the generators of materials, either in cash or by barter. The buyers popularly called 'paaro' (means 'exchange' in Yoruba language) exchange plastic pails for fairly used cloth, jewelries and shoe materials. Waste sorting can also be done by waste collection team who quickly remove valuable materials from waste stream on their way to land fill. This can rather not be well controlled.

Modes of waste collection and transportation also have great impact on waste segregation and recycling operation. Co-collection occurs when all separated fractions are collected from households in the same vehicle. Segregated collection occurs when different fractions are collected in different vehicles. Co-collection can also be performed in two ways. A multi-compartment vehicle can be used to transport sorted wastes at the same time. Each component of separated wastes can also be bagged at household level and transported in the single compartment vehicle. The third possibility is to use alternating schedules whereby one component of sorted wastes is collected today and another component the following day. It is not feasible to have one vehicle for one waste component in Nigeria as well as many developing countries because of their economic situations. The third possibility is not cost-benefit either.

Finally, mixed waste collection directly from communities by Nigerian government is seen to be very easier but this result into separation complexity at recycling facilities. On the other hand, transportation of sorted wastes from households makes collection and transportation complexity but ensures easier operation at reduced costs at recycling facilities. It is right time determine the best segregation and transportation scheme for the country. The methods that favour waste recycling and material recovery should be considered as permanent solution to persistent waste management problems in the country. The schemes whereby wastes are segregated at household level; bagged and transported in a single compartment vehicle need to be encouraged. Alternatively, Government should also consider intermediate sorting center where mixed wastes will be sorted before final transportation into recycling facilities. This offers a big advantage in terms of income generation for the jobless and teaming population of unemployed youths.