Waste Management: Safety Topics - January 2020 - Week 5


Each year, more than 7 billion tons of industrial solid waste are generated and disposed of by American industrial facilities alone. Promoting responsible waste management practices helps protect human health and the environment.  

Being environmentally conscious and reducing our carbon footprint is necessary for the health of our planet but where do we start? This week we will discuss ways to promote environmental awareness when it comes to waste management.

Monday - Waste Management Assessment

Take a look around your work station and identify when, where, how, and why waste is generated. Take mental notes of:

  • What items are used on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis that becomes waste?
  • Are there reusable items that can replace disposable ones? Think kitchen tools like plates, cups, and silverware.
  • Are there recycling bins throughout the workplace? If not, this is a good idea to bring up to management.
  • How is printing done? Oftentimes, office printing can generate a significant amount of waste. Remember to print double sided when you can and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

Tuesday - Reduce

Yesterday we assessed how waste is managed in our workplace. Today, let’s take some time to identify ways we can reduce the amount of waste.

  • Are all items used to their full extent? For example, is all the grease in the grease dispenser used or does it become waste?
  • Is the cleaning solution properly diluted or is more used than necessary?
  • Are recyclable products recycled or thrown in the garbage?

If you can, try to identify more ways to reduce waste and share with the group.

Wednesday - Reuse

Now that we have identified some areas of excess or underutilization, let’s talk about some opportunities for reuse.

  • Is there opportunity to reuse or extend the life of process supplies?
  • Are there any materials you can utilize before throwing away?
  • Did you know there are reusable materials that are used to absorb oily waste? These materials are reusable so they do not become waste!

What other opportunities can you find to reuse something that normally would go to waste?

Thursday - Recycle

Reducing and reusing help save money, energy, and natural resources. However, on their own they’re not enough which makes recycling so important in the waste hierarchy!

Friday - Discussion

Now that we’ve assessed the waste in our work areas, looked at ways we can contribute to reducing, reusing or recycling our waste, let’s end the week with some open ended discussion.

How do you believe your company is currently performing in responsible waste management? Are there opportunities for improvement? What are some ways you and your colleagues can positively contribute? Share with the group.


Tags: safety topics , environmental health and safety ,

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