Waste management for commercial and residential buildings

Every building – be it residential, commercial, schools, hotels, restaurants or hotels – produces substantial amounts of waste materials. Hence the facility team needs to focus on managing the same in the most optimum manner.

Reducing waste depends upon the occupant’s activities. However it is the layout of the building and the occupants’ intentions that determine the extent to which waste can be effectively managed. The facilities services team plays a key role in helping with the effective recycling and management of waste through various practices:

Enabling all apartments to separately store dry and wet waste via two separate garbage bins

Educating the occupants of the premises about segregation of wet and dry waste at source

Allocation of garbage bins on every floor and podiums

Daily collection and segregation of dry and wet waste from each unit and effective disposal of the same

Monitoring waste management performance and waste management reports

Procurement of appropriate waste processing equipment like compost machines, sewage treatment plants, etc., where required

There are various waste management strategies that can be adopted by the facility services team in the building:

1. Recycling and Reuse: The facility services team needs to enable occupants to segregate wet and dry waste at the source and efficiently collect the same. The dry waste can be disposed off via scrap merchants and garbage collection trucks of the municipal authorities, whereas the wet waste can be turned to compost via a compost machine in the building premises. The compost thus generated can be used in the garden of the building or be sold in the market.

2. Renovation Initiatives: When renovating the premises, ask your contractor to provide a debris waste management plan with a focus on reusing materials. Also, get receipts from the debris collection trucks to keep track of the amount of materials recycled and reused. This will also help for future reference, every time a renovation is in order.

3. Waste Assessment: A waste assessment or an audit is a logical review of your building and its processes to recognise the quantity and composition of materials in your waste stream. Keeping a track of what has been disposed will effectively help you to customise your waste reduction program accordingly.

4. Donate: Residences, offices, hotels and restaurants can donate extra food or materials to local food banks that collect food and deliver it to the needy. This will help save your disposal and storage costs as it is completely free of charge.

5. Cooperating with Municipal Authorities: Each building should work closely with the local ward office of the municipal authorities to seek ideas and support for an effective waste management plan. The local ward office is a treasure trove of information and interacting with them can lead to community-wide benefits.

6. Well-trained Staff: The facilities team needs to ensure that all the staff on site is trained and well-versed with the overall waste management plan and processes of the building. This will ensure that the plan is implemented from the source itself.

Waste Management always brings various benefits to the community as a whole. Some of them are listed hereunder:

Cost Savings: Recycling will help bring down the cost of disposals and it also increases your savings

Streamlining building operations: Sorting out recyclables leaves a much smaller amount of putrescible waste to be looked out for

Increases Sustainability: Managing energy, water, and waste more efficiently are the major components of sustainability. Improving your building’s sustainability can enhance the image and it will also help in creating an appeal for quality tenants to rent or buy

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions: Waste prevention and recycling offer significant potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change 

Conserve natural resources: Recycling and reuse of natural resources also help conserve natural resources like water, trees and metals

(The writer is vice president, SILA)