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How to shine at waste management

From boardrooms to washrooms, kitchens to conference facilities – the challenges in managing correct waste disposal across so many different and varied locations can create a real headache for cleaning companies

Staying on top of the latest legislation is essential and this needs to be combined with providing a cost-effective and streamlined service, while also helping clients improve their environmental credentials.

Working with a professional waste management specialist can be the key to success.

Not only will it provide timely and efficient solutions, but it may also be able to reduce costs by identifying different waste streams to boost the number of materials capable of being reprocessed or recycled.

One Oxfordshire-based manufacturing company found that by having a waste audit, the experts were able to find 30 different waste streams which could all be segregated and sent for recycling or reprocessing. These included more traditional items such as cardboard and plastic, but also materials including polystyrene, packing paper and silicon labels.

This is just one example of how an organisation like Grundon Waste Management can help businesses make the most from their waste.

An_experienced_waste_management_company_provides_excellent_adviceWaste management rules and regulations are certainly not always easy to understand and one of the biggest challenges is whether different items can or can’t be recycled – especially when many of them feature a recycling logo.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall created a stir last year when he told us that less than a quarter of one percent of paper coffee cups are actually sent for recycling because the reality is that they need specialist treatment facilities to do so.

All of this means it is better to consult with the experts, as Steve Hill, Grundon’s area sales manager, explains.

“Whether your company has the cleaning contract for offices, a sports stadium, a shop or a manufacturing business, there is bound to be a whole host of different waste management requirements,” he said.

“To further add to confusion, legislation means that in a business environment, many day-to-day items such as batteries, printer cartridges, aerosols and solvents fall into the hazardous waste category.

“That means you could even have a cleaning team working on a rental block of flats and then moving on to clean an office facility next door – staff would need to understand that there is a requirement to treat some of that waste differently or risk a fine.”

In a commercial environment, who looks after waste management will vary from organisation to organisation.

In some cases, businesses directly engage with a waste management company like Grundon, which has hundreds of satisfied customers throughout the Thames Valley and wider South East area.

Often however, waste management will fall under the services offered by a cleaning company or a facilities management supplier.

Grundon regularly works with both types of organisation to ensure their customers obtain the best results, undertaking waste audits to identify potential areas of improvement and savings, as well as providing solutions and ideas to help increase recycling and achieve goals such as zero waste to landfill.

These solutions may be as simple as replacing under-desk bins with clearly-marked corridor bins for general office mixed recycling such as paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans; a food waste container in the kitchen area; or a small specially-designed Haz-Box, which is ideal for the safe storage of mixed hazardous waste, such as batteries or cleaning fluids.

One successful partnership is with Essex-based Peartree Cleaning Services, which offers a broad range of cleaning services for corporate companies, offices and retail chains throughout the UK.

As commercial director Stuart Conroy explains, the team prides itself on exceptional service:

“We are a family-owned, independent business, so client relationships are effectively more important to us than profit margins, we know we need to give a phenomenal service and we expect absolute 100 per cent commitment from the people we work with.

Corridor_bins_encourage_employees_to_segregate_waste“We needed to find a like-minded provider, but some of the waste management companies we spoke to had no validation and reporting procedures in place. Grundon was able to support us by providing a good service and give us the statistics we needed to meet client reporting demands.

“They understand that clients want to know the tonnage of the waste they are producing, how it is segregated into different waste streams and what happens to it next. They are able to give us that information in a timely fashion to enable us to report back on a monthly basis.”

The two companies have been working together for over four years, with Grundon handling waste management and recycling for clients including Foster + Partners and Towry.

Education also plays an important part in the process and, together with some clients, the Peartree team has visited Grundon’s impressive Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and joint venture Lakeside Energy from Waste (EfW) plant, both at Colnbrook, near Slough.

“We need to have an enormous amount of confidence in a supplier to let them take our clients to their own facilities. It is important for them to be able to see for themselves how the waste solution works and how the waste is segregated and disposed of properly,” continued Conroy.

“Our Grundon contact, Steve Hill, is very proactive, he is very good at keeping us up-to-date if there are any issues which could impact on a client’s waste collection and he also comes up with innovative solutions which help clients meet the latest regulations.”

Very often, organisations will need specialist cleaning services to handle particularly difficult or dirty jobs and this is where the expertise of Grundon’s Industrial Services cleaning team comes into play.

With more than 40 years’ industrial cleaning experience and an unblemished safety record, these are experts at working in the most challenging situations – from handling potentially dangerous chemicals, operating in 35 degree heat or working in explosive atmospheres – they bring expertise and professionalism at every step of the way.

Projects can vary from factory shutdown cleaning with a tight timetable, to decommissioning unwanted premises and disposing of all waste safely and securely.

Working in such environments, health and safety is paramount and Grundon’s teams are totally compliant with the latest regulations and legislation. Employees undergo extensive training and qualifications, including specialist confined spaces training, practising escaping from a confined space wearing breathing apparatus, and working at height wearing a high-level harness.

In conditions like these, there are no second chances, which is why customers need to know they are employing fully qualified experts. It pays to ask for registration and certification documents and to check their authenticity with the relevant body, such as the Environment Agency, CHAS or OFTEC.


  • Segregating waste streams can save clients money
  • Wrongly discarded lithium batteries are a common cause of fires
  • Just one tonne of food waste saves the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as taking 2.9 cars off the road or powering a 100w lightbulb for 3,260 hours
  • Every steel can is 100 per cent recyclable, while one aluminium can saves enough energy to power a television for three hours
  • If one single item of contaminated waste is found in a container or vehicle, it might mean the whole consignment has to be sent to landfill

About Sarah OBeirne

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