Waste management concept

This article is about the waste management concept, which companies have to create a waste management concept, when it has to be created and what it should contain. In addition, we describe how a waste management concept helps to improve operational waste management.

Waste is generated in every company. However, it is often difficult to keep track of exactly what and how much is generated and, more importantly, how to manage it effectively. A waste management concept can be beneficial in this regard. The concept documents the type, quantity, origin and disposal of all waste in a company, helping to organize waste management in an orderly and environmentally friendly manner. Although creating a waste management concept can seem challenging at first, it is a worthwhile initiative. A well-designed waste management concept can not only identify areas for improvement, but also make an important contribution to environmental protection. It demonstrates the company’s commitment to environmental responsibility and active measures to protect it. In some cases, creating a waste management concept is even mandatory for certain companies. Thus the relevant authority can demand to review the document at any time.

What companies must prepare a waste management concept?

All specifications and requirements regarding waste management concept are outlined in the Waste Management Act 2002 (AWG). This includes determining which companies are obligated to create a waste management plan. According to the AWG, companies that employ more than 20 people and generate waste during operations must create a waste management plan. This plan must be submitted within 12 months of the start of operations or after the 21st employee has joined the company. Another reason to create a waste management plan is for new or altered operating permits. The authority may request the submission of the waste management plan at any time. If the waste management plan is incomplete, the authority may issue a notice requiring improvements. If the waste management concept is not prepared, not updated or not submitted to the authority upon request, fines may be imposed.

Which person prepares a waste management concept?

The business owner is responsible for creating the waste management concept. But they do not necessarily have to prepare the plan directly. The task can be handed over to an employee or a safety officer in the company. This is especially the case for facilities that produce small quantities of non-hazardous waste. If the company lacks sufficient resources or expertise, it is also possible to have the plan prepared by external companies. Companies with more than 100 employees are required to appoint a professionally qualified waste management officer. This person is responsible for all waste-related tasks, including preparing the waste management plan, ensuring compliance with legal regulations, identifying areas for improvement in waste management, assisting with waste management issues, and determining the costs associated with waste.

Integration of the Waste Management Concept into the company’s daily routine

It is equally essential for the successful implementation of the compilation measures that all employees in the company participate. Ultimately, the success of the implementation depends on each individual position. For example, the purchasing department can make an impact by opting for larger containers instead of smaller ones to reduce packaging materials, which is a quantitative waste reduction measure.

When is a waste management concept created?

The waste management concept should not be considered a one-time document, but rather a continuous process. It is mandatory to update the concept every 7 years, or in the event of significant waste-related changes to the facility or changes that require a permit. However, we strongly recommend keeping the concept up-to-date on a voluntary basis. The benefits of doing so include having a current overview of the waste situation, identifying potential savings early on, and incurring lower costs for multiple minor updates than for a major overhaul.

What content is covered?

According to the Waste Management Act 2002, there are five areas that must be addressed:

  1. information on the sector and purpose of the installation and a list of all installation parts: The first section outlines fundamental information about the company, such as its performance, industry sector, and the purpose of the facility. This should include a detailed description of the operational plant, including the equipment used in the process.
  2. Process-related description of the operation: Here, a detailed description of all the processes that take place within the facility is provided. Additionally, a list of all the input materials required for these processes is included.
  3. Waste-related description of the operation: This section contains a list of the waste generated (type and quantity), a description of the internal waste logistics, i.e. how the waste is handled (collection location, emptying intervals, …) as well as any waste avoidance and recycling measures taken (large instead of small containers, cables instead of batteries).
  4. organisational precautions for compliance with waste management regulations: Here, the responsibilities of the person in charge of handling waste are documented. It also includes a comprehensive listing of hazardous and non-hazardous waste, as well as a collection and treatment list.
  5. assessment of future development: description of planned operational measures that may have an impact on future waste generation, e.g increased personnel (which may result in more waste), introduction of new products, changes in processes, and so on. Even if no changes are planned, this can also be documented in the waste management concept.

How is the data collected?

It is crucial that all contents of the concept are presented in a clear and concise manner. Third parties who are not familiar with the company should easily understand it. All data should be collected comprehensively, and any areas where data is missing should be documented in the concept. In addition to written text and tables, the use of visual aids such as pictures or plans can be helpful. To simplify the process of creating a concept, there are free sample templates available online. These templates cover all relevant areas and only require the addition of specific content. They can be found on websites such as those of the City of Vienna or the Chamber of Commerce.

What are the benefits?

In summary, a waste management concept is an essential part of sustainable waste management. It plays a significant role in reducing waste, preserving resources, and minimizing environmental impact. Through data collection, analysis, and the establishment of targets and measures, actionable steps can be derived. Thus it is possible to reduce waste generation and achieve an effective waste management. Therefore, the waste management concept is an opportunity to continuously improve and contribute to a sustainable future.

What support is available for the creation the concept?

With these tips, creating a waste management concept should no longer be a daunting tast. However, if it is still seems too time-consuming, there are online tools available that can simplify the process. One example is the “ESG Cockpit”. It allows for easy data collection, updating and documentation by simply entering the relevant information, and automatically generating a report. For more information regarding the creation of a waste management concept, do not hesitate to contact us today. We are happy to chedule an appointment with our Waste Management Expert Lara Hammerl (Lara (at) koloo.at ). Here you can finde more about how we work.