Sustainability in Industrial Recycling
When it comes to the topic of industrial recycling, sustainability is always at the forefront of the discussion. This is because recycling industrial waste presents many challenges that cause some people to doubt the validity of developing processes that are truly sustainable. The good news is that not only can recycling industrial waste be sustainable, it can also support a circular economy that’s beneficial for all of those involved.
Why Recycling Industrial Waste Is Important
The basic idea of an economy has always presented a fundamental problem regardless of the economic system being used: sustainability. Economies rely upon growth in order to exist, yet the Earth has only a finite amount of resources. This presents the problem of attempting to strive for infinite growth in a finite environment, and presents a major challenge not only to industrial manufacturers, but to humanity as a whole.
This problem has only two solutions: find a new source of resources, or find a way to reuse current resources that are expended in the manufacturing process. Due to this fact, finding ways to re-purpose and reuse industrial waste is an important endeavor that benefits not just big business, but everyone living and working around the world.
The Guiding Principles of Industrial Waste Management
When it comes to industrial recycling, there are several guiding principles that almost all businesses try to follow. In fact, these principles are outlined in the EPA’s official industrial waste management guide. By following these principles, a business is able to achieve greater rates of efficiency for their business, and also help to protect the environment better.
Here are the four principles for industrial waste management as listed in the official EPA guide:
1. Protect Human Health and the Environment
As one might expect, the first principle is that of protecting human health and the environment. This principle covers areas such as protecting ground and surface water, as well as the air. It also provides a framework incorporating a multimedia approach using various technologies and practices to achieve optimal results in achieving its goals.
2. Tailoring Management Practices to Risks
It’s no secret that various industries must deal with different types of industrial waste. This can make industrial recycling difficult to fit into a “one size fits all” solution. For this reason, the EPA encourages tailoring waste management/recycling efforts to the specific circumstances and risks that each industry and business faces.
3. Affirming State and Tribal Leadership
The EPA recognizes the authority of local, state, and tribal leadership regarding matters of industrial waste management. This principal is in the guide to make sure that it doesn’t supersede these authorities, but rather complements them. Each level of local, state, and tribal authority has their own unique circumstances to consider, and the EPA wants to maintain flexibility in helping them deal with their industrial waste management issues.
4. Fostering Partnerships
Creating a truly sustainable industrial waste management plan requires the cooperation of multiple parties including federal, state, and local authorities, as well as facility managers, and the public itself. This principle is aimed at bringing all parties together with the common goal of protecting public health, the environment, and the economy. Ultimately implementing smart industrial waste management is something that benefits everyone, and so everyone should do their part.
Internal Solutions vs. Third Party
While it does require the cooperation of various parties to make good choices regarding industrial waste management and preserving the sustainability of a circular economy, there are a variety of approaches that a business can take to deal with their waste and the challenges that is presents.
The first option is of course to handle waste management “in-house.” This can be a good option for small to medium sized businesses that don’t have an excessive amount of industrial waste to deal with. The downside here is that it will expend additional resources in the form of time and money and may interfere with the normal day-to-day tasks of employees.
The second option is to hire a third party to handle industrial waste management. This could be anything from hiring a private garbage collection company for small business, right up to hiring a company to retrieve, remove, and/or recycle hazardous waste from a major manufacturing facility. In either case, this can help a business to use their resources more wisely since the tasks will be completed by trained professionals, and will be performed with a higher degree of skill and efficiency.
Benefits of Hiring an Industrial Waste Management Company
Achieving a sustainable model regarding waste management is much more likely when outsourcing the tasks of removal and/or recycling to another company that specializes in such things. Fortunately, there are many companies that handles this kind of work, some offering very specific services and skill sets, and others offering more generalized services. Regardless, industrial waste management companies can be a big help in achieving a sustainable approach to waste management and have many benefits over attempting to handle such matters in-house.
1. Better Risk Mitigation
If a company’s workers are injured attempting to remove or recycle industrial waste, there could be legal consequences. When a business hires a professional waste management company, this liability is typically transferred to that company instead, giving the management of the hiring company greater peace of mind, and legal protection. This can also help a company to avoid EPA fines and fees as well.
2. Greater Operational Efficiency
When it comes to creating a sustainable plan of recycling industrial waste, efficiency can have a big impact on both capital expenditure, and on minimizing the impact on the environment itself. With their skill sets and services, industrial waste management companies can achieve greater efficiency in both areas, benefiting the company hiring them, and the community.
3. Saving Time and Money
While it may seem like a larger expenditure upfront in some cases, hiring an industrial waste management company is almost always a wise investment that ends up being less of an expense in the long run. Businesses that attempt to deal with industrial waste management on their own will lose a lot of time, and consequently, money, as well as their employees are used to perform these tasks.
4. Better Branding
These days people are more conscious than ever of the impact that industrialization has on the environment. Having a mishap related to industrial waste can be negatively impact a business and tarnish its brand’s reputation. On the other hand, being known as an environmentally friendly company can be very beneficial. Hiring a professional industrial waste management company to sustain a healthy circular economy can lead to better public relations, and ultimately, more business.
Balancing Profit and The Environment
On the surface it may seem that the concepts of increasing profits and protecting the environment are two goals that will always be in opposition to one another, especially on a planet of finite resources. However, the power of recycling and smart industrial waste management has the ability to bring both of these goals together as one.
Many businesses these days are getting smart about recycling industrial waste and as a result are hiring industrial waste management companies to handle their issues in a way that helps them save money, improve their reputation, reduce liability, and protect the environment. This type of approach has for the first time in history created an approach where big business and the planet can support one another in a relationship of mutual benefit.
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