ISO 14001: 5 ways to support your environmental goals
If your business wants to minimise its impact on the environment, an ISO 14001 certification is a great place to look. This environmental management system focuses on reducing your waste to protect the environment. There are over 300,000 businesses across 171 countries that are ISO 14001 certified. Here’s five things you can do to join them.
What is ISO 14001?
ISO 14001 (also known as the ISO 14001:2015 standard) is the international standard for environmental management systems (EMS). This EMS certification helps you to control the environmental aspects of your business, reduce your environmental impact and keep your business compliant with environmental legislation. This certification focuses on re-use and recovery of waste to minimise the risk of any potential damage to the environment. You’ll need to focus on your business’ environmental responsibility to ensure compliance with this management system.
What are the benefits of an ISO 14001 certification?
If your organisation is ISO 14001 standard certified, you’re going to see a wide range of benefits, from improved reputation to increased engagement across your staff. Through minimising your waste and cutting down on your usage, you’re probably going to reduce your operating costs too. This is a globally recognised industry standard, so can help to boost your business’ reputation which could lead to new clients who are sustainability focused like you. Also, because the certification requires extra staff training, you’re likely to see an increase in staff engagement throughout the processes.
What can you do to meet ISO 14001?
1. Complete a waste audit
The best place to start is to take a full look at the waste your business generates. If you can see the bigger picture and identify all your different waste streams, you’re in a better position. There’s no point in jumping straight into organising for a separate collection if you’re not generating enough waste to warrant it. You might find that you’re producing a lot of cardboard waste and need a baler or compactor to minimise the amount of collections you need and reduce your carbon footprint. By completing a waste audit, not only will you see improved efficiency in your waste management, not only will you see improved efficiency in your waste management, you’ll know which steps you need to take.
2. Segregate your waste
By segregating as much waste as possible, you’ll be making sure that as much is available for reuse and recycling as possible. If your organisation is generating food waste and it’s going in the same bin as items that could be recycled, your waste might become contaminated. If this happens, any recyclable materials will be harder to recover. Therefore, segregating each of your waste streams is a great way to work towards ISO 14001.
3. Only use licensed waste carriers
One of the key elements of ISO 14001 is making sure that your waste doesn’t have any negative impacts on the environment. The best way for you to do this is by ensuring that your chosen waste carrier is licensed. If they’re not authorised to handle your waste it could be fly tipped or dumped which can have damaged effects on the environment.
4. Store and label your waste correctly
Depending on the waste streams your business produces, there will be different requirements for storing and handling the waste. If you produce hazardous waste, it’s important that this is stored correctly to make sure nothing leaks and damages the environment. This will need the correct label to make sure that everyone who encounters it knows that it’s hazardous.
5. Reuse, Reuse, Reuse
Another key element of ISO 14001 is reducing the amount of waste you’re generating. Finding a reuse option for your waste is one of the easiest ways to do this. If your business generates a lot of WEEE waste, see if any of this can be repaired and used again. Under the regulations, producers need to offer a takeback scheme for recycling. See if there are any schemes local to you to help you recycle your waste electrical goods to give them a new life. This can help to protect resources and work towards your organisation’s environmental objectives.
Does your business need help meeting its ISO 14001 aspirations? Flame UK can provide a bespoke waste management plan for your business, tailor made to ensure it fits your business’ requirements. We’ll focus on recycling and recovery to help you achieve your sustainability goals. Get in touch with one of our waste experts today to find out more.