What is waste management?

Waste management refers to the process of organising and disposing of items and substances that are no longer required. This broad term encompasses everything from waste collection and transportation, to recycling, and waste monitoring to regulate the long-term impact of waste on the environment. 

Waste can be defined as a huge number of things; from solid to gas, industrial to biological, radioactive to petroleum-based, and often hazardous chemicals that pose a danger to human health. The state, environmental consequences, and health impact of the substance all determine how it can be transported and disposed of.

The main aspects of waste management include:

  • Production

  • Initial processing and storage

  • Collection

  • Transportation

  • Processing and recycling

  • Disposal

Production involves all processes that end in the generation of waste matter. This could be from commercial processes, household waste, mining/extraction processes, energy production, healthcare, or other sectors.

Once the waste has been produced and identified as no longer serving a purpose, it must be safely stored and sorted on-site in a way that protects employees, residents and the environment.

Collection involves the movement of waste from the production site to a waste management facility, using a suitable transport method. 

Waste processing includes all the techniques, procedures, and resources required to turn the waste into something suitable for disposal. It also involves extracting any useful or reusable aspects of the waste.

Disposal is the endpoint of the process and is where waste is disposed of responsibly and safely.

Waste management companies focus on carrying out all of these steps to a professional standard that complies with local, national, and international legislation. They provide the professional expertise needed to manage all types of waste products and can create tailored site waste management plans to ensure efficiency.

The waste management sector

With estimations suggesting the international waste industry was worth over $2000 billion in 2019, and that number is set to grow, waste management is an important and lucrative industry across the world. 

Factors such as increasing urban populations, and growing global economies like India and China, are expected to increase the production of waste and therefore the need for waste management services.

However, during the global COVID-19 pandemic, industry demand for waste management services in the UK has fallen, due to reduced construction and commercial activity. As lockdown eases, it’s expected that demand will increase back to normal levels.

Since the UK left the European Union, there are expected to be some changes within the industry, including the loss of local EU funding for construction and environmental projects. But with all EU legislation having been written into UK law before BREXIT, the UK must continue to comply with these laws around waste disposal and environmental cleaning.

A huge variety of waste management businesses exist across the UK, offering services such as:

  • Household solid waste collection and disposal (including recycling methods)

  • Organic waste disposal (agricultural and residential)

  • Residential sewage collection and treatment

  • Waste to energy recovery (production of energy from waste products)

  • Hazardous waste collection and treatment (including radioactive, flammable, and toxic waste)

  • Liquid-based waste management (including contaminated water, waste detergents, organic liquids, and more)

  • Industrial plant decontamination (hazardous waste management and treatment of infrastructure)

  • Oil spill cleanup

  • Asbestos removal and disposal

  • Soil and groundwater decontamination

the best, winner

How to stand out in the waste management industry

With the waste management sector set to reach $230 billion by 2027, it’s clear to see why businesses want a piece of the pie. But how can you make your waste management business stand out from the crowd?

Consider a specialised service

A google search brings up hundreds of skip hire companies, and with local councils tied in to dry domestic waste contracts, certain markets are already saturated. By targeting a more specialised sector, you’re more likely to find a gap in the market.

Compare yourself to others

What sort of prices are similar operators charging? How far does their collection area cover? How knowledgeable are they? Do they specialise in certain areas or offer a variety of services? Are they professionally accredited? To stand out from the competition you need to understand them, and how you can do better than what’s already on offer.

Check the legislation

To provide a quality service, you need to be up to date on the most recent legislation around waste collection, environmental management, COSHH guidance and more. If you can identify flaws and issues with current compliance, you’re providing a service that adds real value.

Excellent organisation

Managing all areas of a waste management business can be overwhelming. Collection fleet management, including fleet maintenance, driver training, asset management, insurance, route management, and accident cover, can be very time-consuming. As can providing quality customer service, with staff continuity and customer issue resolution.

Waste management software helps you manage all these aspects and more in one place, helping you to stand out in the waste management industry.

What is waste management software?

Waste management software is a software solution that helps businesses carry out the waste collection and disposal process efficiently. A quality waste management solution will include logistics, invoicing, customer interactions, and overall management of a waste management business in one place.

Fleet management software with real-time GPS fleet management, customer data analytics software, and accounting management software are all features that are included that can make your life easier.

Software to create unique waste profiles for clients, sort different waste products, and organise waste disposal is also available on the market.

Whilst deciding that your business could benefit from waste management software is simple, choosing which product to go for can be a challenge.

waste pipe on computer screen

Choosing the right waste management software

With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know which is the right choice for your business. We’ve analysed a few of the top-ranking choices to help you decide what’s important for your needs.

CRO Software solutions

This software is a cloud-based dispatching and routing software targeted at the construction, scrap, demolition, and liquid/solid waste industries. It features dispatch asset tracking with GPS tracking, real-time driver communication, and cloud-based storage.

Pros: Frequently updated driver tracking feature can be very useful for managing workflow and streamlining the dispatch process.

Cons: The software doesn’t include a full accounting solution, so is unable to process payments and requires additional accounting software. It isn’t compatible with all other management software, so consider whether it’s important that your waste management software integrates with pre-existing solutions or whether you will use it as a stand-alone product.

User reviews suggest some issues with integration, and some clients required a lot of external IT support to deal with the resulting glitches. Others have reported issues with communication and overselling of products that were charged for but never delivered. The system also requires a lot of training before use.

Quick Consign Digital Solutions

Targeted towards both hazardous and non-hazardous waste collection businesses, this company provides an adaptable waste document management system that improves waste compliance and traceability. 

Pros: Allows online access to consignment notes and customer data immediately, allowing reports to be created instantly.

Cons: Doesn’t include collection tracking or routing features, making it difficult to track drivers and organise your resources. Due to the need to manually input data initially, the set-up can be slow. Some customers report that the general target audience of the product means certain sector-specific features they would like to see are missing.

Whitespace Work Software

This software company claims to be the leading provider of waste management software to local authorities and the public sector, with their software installed in 100 UK local authority organisations. 

They offer a variety of packages with different price points, including targeted options for commercial and municipal waste, analytics, hardware, tracking, route planning, and environmental services.

Pros: They offer a variety of services so you can choose the most suitable for your business. They’ve been established since the 80s so clearly are experienced, and their portfolio of local authorities suggest they provide quality products.

Cons: It’s hard to find any customer reviews online, suggesting they focus their energy on government clients and may not be targeted towards other waste management businesses.

Waste Logics

A cloud-based product that targets businesses focused on scrap metal, trade waste, skip hire, recycling, and waste transfer. It offers 24/7 live customer support, and a variety of training options to ensure smooth running.

Pros: User friendly with excellent customer service; multiple reviewers are impressed with the overall user experience.

Cons: It only has limited features, and doesn’t include any accounting software, inventory management, or live tracking. Issues with invoice generation according to several customers.

Want a tailored solution? Why not go bespoke?

With any off-the-shelf waste management software, you are getting a pre-existing product that is unlikely to come with every feature you’re looking for. As the pre-existing product can be ready to go instantly with minimal upfront fees, they can be a good choice for some businesses. 

However, if your business is looking for something that ticks all your boxes and represents everything your brand stands for, you may want to consider custom waste management software.

Custom options might require more time and upfront investment, but can save you money in the long run and will give you unrivalled usability; everything you’re looking for can be included with no need for any features you don’t need or want. 

Laracle is a software development company that specialises in bespoke software products that are tailored to your specifications. We never recycle old software, and create custom products that you retain the licensing for; no need for ongoing monthly payments or secondary hosting.

If you’re interested in hearing more about what Laracle has to offer, contact us today.

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