Why is it so important to select sustainable waste management suppliers?

With global carbon emissions at an all-time high, it’s more important than ever to ensure your supply chain is sustainable. This is especially important when choosing waste management suppliers.

Rotting waste in landfills is responsible for about 20% of human-caused methane emissions. Methane emissions cause roughly a third of the global heating that drives the climate crisis today and have been increasing in the past 15 years. By using alternatives to landfills and recycling all materials possible, waste management companies can avoid the methane emissions that landfills emit. If we all lessen the volume of materials we send to landfills and our collective methane (and carbon) emissions, we can lessen the risks of global warming.

Why do we all need to think about global warming?

Graph to show global land and ocean surface temperature anomalies

Source: https://www.statista.com/chart/28722/global-surface-temperature-anomalies/

2023 was the warmest year on record, and climate change affects everyone. Extreme weather events and natural disasters are on the rise, and these are being seen across the globe. An increase in the earth’s temperature also puts us all at the risk of thawing permafrost. Permafrost is any ground that remains frozen at 0°C for two years or longer. It is also an enormous methane sink. Currently, there are only around 5 gigatons of methane in the atmosphere. Stored in Arctic permafrost, however, there are thought to be hundreds of gigatons. As permafrost thaws, not only will this methane be released, but along with it there are likely to be dangerous pathogens and diseases from hundreds of years ago. If this happens, any chance of reducing global heating may slip from our grasp.

Luckily, there are still plenty of steps we can all take to reduce emissions. One of these steps is to be responsible with waste management. Reduce waste, recycle, and avoid landfill.

How can you check if your waste management suppliers operate sustainably?

There are two main ways to check if your waste management suppliers operate sustainably and legally.

  1. Don’t just take their word for it when it comes to sustainability. Look for independently verified sustainability accreditations and request up-to-date certificates. For example, a UKAS-accredited ISO 14001 certification demonstrates environmental consideration in a supplier’s Quality Management System. ISO 14001 is particularly relevant for sustainability in waste management. This is because the standard has specific requirements that must be achieved around resource efficiency and waste reduction. CarbonNeutral® certification is another one to look for. This certification demonstrates that a company has had all Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions required by the Carbon Neutral Protocol assessed and offset to net zero.
  2. Be aware of greenwashing and greenhushing. Be wary of waste management suppliers that use blanket terms or avoid specifics on what they do with your waste. Look for non-committal phrases like “we aim to” or “we try to”. Similarly, do your due diligence when there is a lack of information entirely about how they handle your waste. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information about waste streams and where your waste ends up. If your business waste ends up fly-tipped, you could be at fault for not doing your duty of care in finding a reputable waste manager.
Image of Shred Station's Carbon Neutral and ISO 14001 accreditation logos

How a sustainable waste management supplier can help you with your business’s ESG goals.

It’s important to consider how every aspect of your business can contribute towards your environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. One area that is often overlooked by companies is waste management. Waste generated in operations is a core Scope 3 emission source. If your company plans on having its carbon assessed, you’ll need to know what happens with your business waste. By partnering with a sustainable waste management supplier, you can reduce your environmental impacts and demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.

One key benefit of working with sustainable waste management partners is that they can help to reduce the amount of waste you send to landfill. At Shred Station, for example, we have a strict Zero to Landfill policy. We will recycle 100% of the paper we shred at UK mills, and other recyclable materials are also separated into dedicated waste streams. We can also provide resources that will help your employees to properly segregate waste at the source, maximising your company’s recycling potential.

Sustainable waste management can also be cost-effective. By reducing the amount of waste your business produces and implementing more efficient waste management strategies, you can save money on waste disposal fees. Landfill is a very expensive solution, so the more you can recycle, the better!

Using sustainable waste management suppliers can also enhance your brand reputation. Consumers are increasingly concerned about sustainability, and partnering with sustainable waste management suppliers can help you demonstrate your commitment to the environment. By promoting your efforts to reduce waste and improve sustainability, you can attract eco-conscious consumers. We are always happy for our customers to talk about us, so feel free to shout about your CarbonNeutral®, Zero to Landfill confidential waste disposal!

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