Preparing a sustainability report

30 July 2019

I have recently been asked to prepare a short sustainability report for our site. We are an office-based business with limited impacts on the environment. Can you give some basic guidelines to get me started?

Selling surplus energy from solar panels

23 July 2019

We had been thinking of installing solar panels on all our warehouses, and selling any surplus energy back to the grid. Will this still guarantee an income now that the Feed-in Tariff scheme has come to an end?

Disposing of office furniture

11 July 2019

Our office building is being refurbished, with most of the office furniture being replaced. The old furniture is worn and slightly outdated, but most of it is still serviceable. What is the most realistic option for keeping it out of landfill?

Disposal of old smoke detectors

11 July 2019

We are planning to replace all the smoke detectors in our office building. How should we go about disposing of the old ones?

WEEE obligations

2 July 2019

At our site we have a skip for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Most of the items are printers and photocopiers. During a waste audit we discovered that the contractors have classified this waste as “metal” and are using the EWC code 20 01 40. The waste does not go to a specialised WEEE site. Are we likely to be in breach of the WEEE Regulations with this arrangement?

Also, we sell some of our printers to the Republic of Ireland. We buy them from a manufacturer and do not rebrand them at all. Do we have any obligations as producers or distributors under the WEEE Regulations?

Old paint pots — hazardous waste?

25 June 2019

I am concerned that old paint pots and tins containing a small amount of hazardous residue are being placed in our non-hazardous waste skip. The manager responsible argues that, because the amounts of residue are so small in relation to the total quantity of waste in the skip, they are bound to fall below the threshold concentrations for hazardous waste. Please can you advise.

Disposing of e-cigarette waste

4 June 2019

Many of our employees have switched from smoking to vaping. There is plenty of guidance available on the health and safety aspects, but how should we deal with waste e-cigarettes and discarded vaping equipment in a way that minimises harm to the environment? Are they recyclable?

Fire risk assessments and paintwork

28 May 2019

A fire risk assessment by an external consultant has recommended that we strip back all paintwork in our escape routes and redecorate. Why would they make such a recommendation and are we obliged to do this?

Compostable packaging

28 May 2019

Our local authority operates an “open windrow” composting facility which takes garden waste, but not canteen waste. Would a plant like this be able to treat compostable packaging materials? We are thinking of switching from plastic to compostable packaging for the food products we sell but are concerned that the compostable packaging could end up in landfill if the local facility is unable to receive it.