Mar 22nd
2016

A wasted opportunity

Written by  Justin Thomas - Media Consultant
A wasted opportunity

With a total market value of £6,800,000,000 (no I didn't fall asleep with my finger on the '0') the UK waste industry is big business. 70% of all waste is processed through just 6 companies. It seems, from the outside, to be a well-managed industry with a healthy relationship between government and corporate business but how well does it transfer down to the small business? What opportunities are there for small businesses to take their share of the remaining £2.04 billion?

Right now you’re thinking “This is a waste of time, isn’t this a matter that we can be disposing of”. OK, clichés all out in the first sentence (we hope). Waste transfer and waste disposal are seemingly a tedious necessity for the modern business and have strict regulations that find their way into our business through, often, obfuscated routes. How did your business first discover the legal requirement to separate your “offensive waste” from your “medical waste” from your recycling from your actual waste? I grew up in a nice sized family home that also operated as a “high class” B&B. We could accommodate up to 10 guests each night making for a potential of 70 guests a week. Even at our usual occupancy rates we were generating a fair amount of waste each day and yet we believed that we came under the “household” waste collection system with the normal recycling ratios. Indeed we did have “unmanaged sanitary bins” as a number of our en-suites used a macerator to overcome the need for running new pipes throughout the building. Even then that waste was just pushed into our normal rubbish collection once a week. As you can imagine we generated 3 or 4 wheelie bins a week.

So, whose job was it to inform us? Naturally I now know that the “duty of care” path ends with the relevant government agencies. Interestingly referring to the gov.uk pages on this matter it seems that enforcement is rather “interpretive” with the penultimate page asking the public to report any discretions to Crimestoppers! Being that there are systems in place to register businesses and provide detailed guidance on how to manage our commercial waste it is rather surprising to hear that enforcement comes in the form of public awareness. We’re seeing a break in the loop here. Where is this public awareness coming from? Sure we all recognise fly-tipping when we see it and would probably call somebody to report the plate of the vehicle if we witnessed this. Who, though, would rifle through a business’ bins and check whether used sanitary towels, tissues, bandages, plaster or disposable medical clothing had been separated out?

There is some guidance that waste disposal centres are given to identify any large scale disposal of offensive waste. Quite how identifying it at this point can lead to much more than an attempt to increase awareness on certain waste collection routes I remain perplexed. It would seem that the risk is too low for most small businesses to be overly concerned with the additional costs yet we are probably talking about some of the highest number of individual businesses as demographics go. UK government figures show that there are 244,000 businesses with 10 or more employees in the UK yet there are 5,146,000 business with 9 or less. These figures do not detail how many facilities users visit these business sites throughout the year but even if we assume only 10% of them have visitors we are still looking at twice the number of businesses than those that are traditionally targeted in washroom service and waste management pro-active sales and marketing. Rather than looking to target businesses on a criminal level, perhaps supporting awareness in new businesses might actually yield positive results for everybody.

It would seem that this demographic is rich for cultivation if only somebody would sow the seeds. Integrated government departments could support small businesses with awareness campaigning and allow the correct licensed businesses to realise the right revenue streams to support the government through business taxes and licence fees and so on and so on. Now THAT is recycling!

For more information on whether your business is required to request waste transfer notices or request a licence you can speak to your friendly washroom services supplier. Zenith Washroom Solutions has over a decade of understanding in this area and is ready to take your call today on 0800 328 6452.

Justin Thomas - Media Consultant

Justin Thomas has been involved with Zenith Washroom Solutions (formerly ABC hygiene) since 2009 at first providing ABC hygiene's 2nd website solution and now guiding Zenith Washroom Solutions' online assets into a more modern, user-friendly, version exploiting the best of the latest technologies whilst focusing on user experience improvements from the core. During the past 6 years Justin has learnt a huge amount about the hygiene industry and is now working as a contracted media consultant providing a full range of online marketing solutions to enable Zenith Washroom Solutions focus clearly on providing a leading hygiene services solution for their customers. You'll hear more from Justin through our constantly growing online media channels. Justin works for a number of small technical businesses based in the UK providing continual online media representation. Justin lives with his wife and daughter enjoying a wide range of activities including motorcycle maintenance, cooking, music and being a tech geek.

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