In life we break issues into three’s, in the States it’s three strikes and you’re out. Universally, bad things happen in three’s and the three educational remits. In waste management we have Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. This triad was introduced to school children in the mid 1990’s and in some places sooner. Teaching them to treat their environment with respect and dignity through classroom engagement. In the work force it has been proven a little harder to implement because once adults have habits, they are harder to break.

Breaking Bad Habits

Workplace environment management is a key element of team development and work place pride. The physical environment a team engages in is one of the main mitigating factors in workplace happiness and productivity. Other correlating factors are consistent feedback and flexibility of role, if your goal is to keep employees, ensuring their environment is clean and well maintained is a key component. This ensures they are engaged in the essence of the business not simply space filling.

However, everyone in a workplace does not view their environment the same way, therefore breaking bad habits is essential. One set of employees can have spectacular habits, and the others can ignore issues until they stack to the ceiling, this causes interpersonal friction and should be addressed at supervisory level. Implementing a workplace plan where tasks are either taken care of by external forces or delegated equally to all employee’s will stop said friction dead in it’s tracks. If they are invested, and responsible it will show in their metrics and attitudes.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Reducing waste in the workplace is of paramount importance,waste from the commercial sector accounts for 12% of all UK waste.Commercial offices occupied by large financial sector companies typically produce around 500 kg of waste per employee each year, 60% of which is paper and cardboard. In 2000 a study found that almost 70% of all waste was disposed of to landfill. Data for 2018 is not available but is likely to be much less due to the widespread recycling of paper, plastics, glass and metals.

Best practice for the generation of office waste is around 200 kg of waste per employee, with 70% diverted away from landfill. Typical waste generated in a UK office (source: Waste Watch) The waste produced and its method of disposal in an office building can be determined from a waste audit. UK offices between 2015 and 2018, show an average around 130 kg of waste per person per year is generated (with a range of 100 to 175 kg), with over half due to paper and 30% due to food waste. White Paper, 20% Cardboard, 14% Newspapers & magazines, 13% Other paper, 13% Food, 21% Building (services & other), 4% Plastic Cups, 1% Cans, 3% Glass, 3% Office Equipment, 2% Other plastic, 6%.

Creating a Culture

 Culture is a huge part of any business. Building up a company culture of sustainability is a great way to help our environment and perpetuate the importance of conservation. A lot of businesses gladly volunteer for different organisations around the country to create a company culture of charity, which really helps engage employees and gives them a fun way to give back to the communities that support the company they work for!

Another great way to increase employee engagement and give back to our environment is to get your employees involved in a sustainability project. From recycling to composting, or a beach or forest clean up, the possibilities are endless!

Implementing environmental practices is a great way to let your employees and customers know that you take sustainability very seriously and that you really do care about our environment.Volunteer projects are a great way to get your employees involved in environmental care, there are a lot of other ways you can implement an environmentally positive program to get your employees engaged in sustainability.

Recycling Programs

A great way to get your employees to recycle more is to create programs that reward them for recycling. You could have monthly contests between departments to see who was able to recycle the most or reduce their output of waste the most.

In addition to contests, you should also have a system put in place to recycle electronic items like batteries and old technological equipment. Increasing awareness and understanding will lead to compliance, so try clearly labelling all recycling bins and putting up signs that explain what is recyclable. Not only will this reduce your waste output but it can also save you money when it comes to waste management.

So create recycling goals for your team and make sure they meet them. You could have the goal to produce 60 percent less waste each month. Have employees save and reuse any type of glass or plastic they can. And be sure to use recycled paper products as well to further make green thinking a part of your company culture.

Create Carpool Programs

Encourage your employees to walk to work, take public transportation, or carpool with one another to reduce greenhouse gas emission. You could provide preferred parking for those who do carpool, and you could give those who walk or take public transportation some sort of special monthly benefit like a half day or a free lunch once a month.

If any of these ideas sounds good to you or your team.If you need help with your companies three R’s give us a bell. We will be happy to assist you in developing an environmental sustainability plan for your workplace. Enterprise Waste Management on 0333 222 9945.

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We tend to think that reality is a given, and imagine that it will remain as it is forever, that our level of civilisation will continue into the future. This has been the case throughout history, for every civilisation ever studied.

However, we are now at a point in history where technical progress happens so quickly that saying now what the future will be like will no doubt bring us a surprise or two. And so we could well ask ourselves the question: when it comes to the future of construction, what building materials will we be using in 2050?

Construction materials used to date

During the life of the first societies or clans (in the Palaeolithic age), hominids abandoned their caves to explore the world. And thus the first temporary houses emerged, as shelters or huts made using branches, skins and small logs.

The Terra Amata hut (close to Nice, France), towards 500,000 B.C.

It seems amazing that for half a million years this was the type of construction that prevailed. Compared to modern housing blocks made of concrete and steel use of these materials went on for 5,000 times longer.

Towards the year 6,000 B.C., mud and clay began to take over what we now call the Middle East. It was used in the form of an unbaked brick of clay mixed with straw (probably waste from the harvests). This allowed for more complex constructions and better insulation from the heat, and also allowed building at different levels.

Up until the decline of the Roman Empire, quarried rock (granite, sandstone, marble) was used in official buildings, whilst baked bricks and wood with iron nails for joints were used in houses.

Baked bricks with symbols from the Legio XXII Primigenia (22nd fortunate legion).

Over the years, stone (in many cases, acquired from previous buildings) and wood continued to be used. In the 19th century, the production of steel and the growth of cities resulted in the building of blocks of houses reinforced with pre-tensioned concrete and metal beams.

Today we continue to use this technique and very similar materials for our ordinary buildings. And, as with all the cultures that came before us, we think that these will be the building materials of the future.

The future of construction

Materials have been a difficult sticking point from the moment the laws of elasticity were discovered. Before that, everything was simply a question of trial and error. Afterwards, it was all about scientific methods, trials in test tubes, and materials science.

But it has only been in recent years that nanotechnology has allowed us to go deep into the heart of atoms, so that we have envisaged not just the material, but the shape of that material as an essential part of materials behaviour.

Bio-concrete, a self-healing material

In 2015, microbiologist Hendrick M. Jonkers presented a type of concrete which had the capacity to repair itself to a certain extent. In other words, no more cracks and repairs, no more leaks, no need for damp-proofing and no more energy loss through cracks.

This concrete has bacteria which repair the material from within in a similar way to how human tissue heals itself after a fracture. The bacteria remain dormant within the material until the cracks let in the damp (water, the elixir of life) and the bacteria spring into action.

Some years before this, a team of Spanish scientists presented a self-healing elastomer which was highly resistant to traction. Meaning that with the right thickness, it could be used for the cables in bridges. A team of Chinese scientists later verified these findings:

A meta material that reverses the Hall Effect

At the start of 2017, a group of scientists presented an innovative meta material which could reverse the Hall Effect. Few know about this electromagnetic effect, and for many, therefore, this is rather meaningless:

If an electric current flows through a conductor in a magnetic field, the magnetic field exerts a transverse force on the moving charge carriers which tends to push them to one side of the conductor.

Basically, what it says is that a force appears when using electricity and magnetic fields. A force we can use, and which we are now able to turn around so that it points in the opposite direction.

Although the first practical applications of such materials will be geared more towards electronics, they can also be used in construction, by integrating invisible electronic tracks or rails (of electrons) within building walls.

Perhaps they do not provide physical strength, but home automation and connectivity will soon go from the tangible (a mobile, a PC, a screen) to the intangible and ubiquitous.

Artificial spider silk

For a few decades, it circulated rather like a rumour, then it became a crazy idea, followed by some serious research. Today, a Japanese company called Spiber Inc.(a play on words with spider and fibre) is now marketing it.

Following their discovery of how to create spider fibroin artificially, the laboratory got to work. It is as yet very much a product for a reduced market sector, such as workshops, laboratories or experimental projects, mostly related to textiles.

And the reason for this is that this protein is still vulnerable to weather and climate. However, once a suitable protection or cover is developed, it could be used as a low-cost alternative (with a reduced environmental impact) for cabled structures.

The future is not set in stone..

Given the speed of progress in materials engineering, it is very possible that all of these techniques will have been perfected within a space of less than five years. Or even discarded as obsolete by then. New data is being collected constantly, much of it thanks to ever more refined techniques for analysis of finite elements.

Nobody can predict the future, chances are that we would be wrong. But what does seem fairly certain is that whatever it is, it will surprise those of us who are unfamiliar with the subject.

Moreover, given the high degree of specialisation in the use of materials, a large number of different materials will probably be used even in the smallest building project, each aimed at solving a particular problem.

However, if you live in the now and are interested in removing of these ancient aggregates from your site or if you need an in the now environmental consultation contact us at Enterprise Waste Management.

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Food Waste is the new global warming, at this juncture so much excess food exist that it is no longer an asset but a hindrance. Anyone with a soupçon of conscience will be aware that there are still people going hungry even in the West. The motto of the world at the beginning of the 20th century was ‘’Waste Not Want Not’’. After, the Great Depression in the US, and twenty years later the Great War in Europe, having any spare food was a luxury. Rationing, recycling and the mending of garments was not something to be showcased on Instagram, these actions were the happenings of daily life.

There is a crisis going on in the world, and no one seems concerned about it. We have become the most prosperous civilisation ever known. Since, the late 1970’s a perfect storm of industrialisation within all parts of Asia alongside a late twentieth century boom of technological advancements in the West, has created an event that has never occurred in written history. We have an excess of food, this may sound ideal but in real terms this intercontinental success has created a new monster.

When we crunch the numbers, in 2013 the UK yearly estimate by weight, household food waste makes up 70% of the UK post-farm-gate total, manufacturing 17%, hospitality and food service 9% and retail 2%. In addition to food ending up as waste, 710,000 tonnes of food surplus from manufacturing and retail is either being redistributed via charitable and commercial routes (47,000 tonnes in 2015) or being diverted to produce animal feed (660,000 tonnes in 2015). Both are classed as waste prevention according to food material hierarchy There are also 2.2 million tonnes of food by-products from food manufacturing used as animal feed, and up to another 2 million tonnes of animal by-products sent to rendering plants. 

In 2017 the UK government found that for every £1 restaurants invested to cut down on food waste, they saved on average £7 in operating costs over a three-year period. That’s a 600% return on investment. The financial benefits came from a range of things such as reduced expenses from saving money on the food they buy, extra sales from using food which would have been thrown away during preparation in other meals, and lower waste management costs.

What’s more, on average restaurants achieved a 26% reduction in food waste in just one year which leapt up to nearly 90% within two years. And all sites were able to keep their total investment in food reduction below £20,000 over the three-year period.

The results echo findings from other work we have done over the last year looking at the food and drinks industry. The previous two reports focused on the hotel and catering sectors. A compelling and consistent trend has unveiled itself– impressive returns from simple and relatively cheap measures to tackle food waste, whether that’s in the hotel, catering, or restaurant sector.Together they build a powerful counter-argument to what we sometimes hear from businesses that food waste has to be accepted as ‘the cost of doing business’ or not considered worth the investment.

So how did the restaurants achieve such impressive results?

Through straightforward measures like conducting food waste inventories, training staff on new food handling and storage procedures, and redesigning menus to eliminate food waste or significantly reduce it.

What causes food waste on such a massive scale. The adage, the more you have the less you care comes into play. With unlimited access to food from all over the world, the desire to conserve and preserve diminishes with every passing generation. In the past, parents taught their progeny to save fats, use every cut of meat and even to cut out the bad sections of fruits and vegetables, these practices fell out of fashion half a century ago. The main culprit of food waste besides a lack of tutorage is the infamous USE BY DATE. Introduced in 1962 to the UK, the USE BY DATE from its inception has confused consumers and was only ever meant to be a guide, and not a tenant of consumption. The introduction of preservation plastics that festoon every product from punnets to single serving fruit. What are the solutions to this ongoing problem? One that will only get larger as the population expands, as new sources of food are found, and resources possibly dwindle.

Enterprise Waste Management will help you move reduce, re-use and recycle more of your resources, giving you both a healthier environmental and economic performance. If you’re interested in booking a free environmental audit of your business, then get in touch and see what we can do to help you.

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