Most schools can relatively easily save in excess of 10% on their waste costs

School waste management

Schools are under increasing cost pressures and whilst waste isn’t top of the list schools can spend anywhere from £5,000 to £40,000 a year on waste. A 10% saving is well worth making, especially if the benefits are good for the environment as well and set a good example for students.

Most schools have a wide range of waste:

· General

· Recycling

· Food

· Green waste

· Sanitary

· Shredding

· WEEE waste

· To name a few

The first key step is to ensure effective segregation:

· General waste is as much as 4 times as expensive as some recycled waste streams

· In some cases waste can generate revenue

Second is to ensure that internal and external bins mirror each other and that staff are trained on how to segregate the waste and to use the correct bins

· This will keep costs down

· It will also hopefully eliminate excess weight charges and also contamination

Third is choosing the correct supplier to take each waste stream away. It’s tempting to use a national provider but these often provide a poor collection service with matching poor customer service. You may not receive the lowest rates available because of your lack of size /procurement power but approaching a number of waste companies will ensure you get the best rates you can.

Waste companies are poor at service and miss many collections. Keeping track of these is key to ensuring you don’t get charged.

Waste reporting is key to managing waste effectively and reducing your cost. A monthly waste report per school should show:

· Waste volume per waste area for the month

· How the waste was disposed – waste to energy, recycled, landfill etc

Where there are multiple schools in a group or an academy a league table will highlight poorly performing sites that need to be focused on first.

Compliance is an often overlooked area but the consequences of poor compliance can be dire with fires and a black mark against the school. Each site will need:

· An annual duty of care from each supplier for routine waste collections

· A waste transfer note for each ad-hoc collection for clinical and hazardous waste movements

· Waste carriers licenses for each waste supplier

· Up to date insurance certificates from each waste supplier

The biggest issue in being compliant is the number of these documents for one school could number over 50. Many are never received, those that are often incomplete and subsequently lost. So keeping compliant can be a costly exercise but nonetheless needs to be done correctly to avoid fines.

Sustainable Advantage looks after over 50 schools across the UK from individual sites through to groups of schools and academies. Each school has a named Account manager which is responsible for proactively managing their waste and bringing costs down as far as possible. They will ensure the school’s recycling % is as high as possible. We look after all waste streams, have a waste help desk to manage all queries and suppliers. The team produces monthly reports on waste statistics and performance and take care of all compliance via a waste portal with 24/7 access.

CASE STUDY: Alpha Plus Schools

“Sustainable Waste Services have looked after our private school portfolio in London and Home Counties plus our regional city colleges for the past 5 years and do a fantastic job. They ensure a speedy response to any management issue (which is rare) and take the trouble to get to know the individual site’s characteristics.”

Richard Jones, Head of Operations, Alpha Schools

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