The business of waste management

Robert Oakley of waste specialist OSS Group, looks at the benefits available to manufacturers of turning to specialist waste companies to help solve their waste disposal and minimisation issues.

With the growing costs of waste disposal and the drive towards waste minimisation, most industrial businesses have effective waste disposal solutions for waste streams they regularly produce. However, from time to time many companies will need to seek advice or assistance to solve specific waste disposal or cleaning problems, such as site clearance and storage tank cleaning.

When the time comes you want to be sure that you are dealing with a company who can provide a solution that is safe, cost effective and practical as well as adhering to all the necessary legislative requirements.

Internal expertise

Why would you need a specialist company to manage your waste effectively? There are many different reasons why customers choose to bring in the experts. A company might not have the internal expertise or knowledge to handle the wastes involved and even if they have the knowledge they may not have the equipment required to handle the waste. Transportation and disposal are further issues, since only a licensed waste carrier can transport special/hazardous waste. Disposal routes are also a problem – knowing where the waste can be legally and safely processed or disposed of. A rapid response is also important, especially in the case of a spill or contamination incident. As companies look to minimise the operation down-time, it is often quicker to call in a specialist than to undertake a project internally.

Bringing in a specialist waste management company can solve these problems and ensure compliance with current legislation.

So what are the most likely scenarios for an industrial company when it would make sense to call in the specialists? If there has been a spill on site and it needs to be contained and/or cleared up and removed it needs to be handled by a company with the correct experience. Those wishing to obtain ISO14001 need to ensure sites are cleared of old chemicals and waste streams both efficiently and effectively. If a company is moving onto new premises and finds unmarked drums and containers of waste it would be dangerous to assume knowledge of the contents and calling the specialists in is the safe solution.

Cleaning issues

There are also cleaning issues when companies change storage sites for a particular product, as the storage tanks will need to be cleaned. In addition to this there are standard maintenance cycles used by industrial companies that require the cleaning of lubrication systems involving specialist procedures. These are only some of the likely scenarios an industrial company will come up against.

But how do you choose the company you want to deal with and how do you ensure that they ‘do what they say on the tin’? The Industrial Services Division at OSS Group is well versed in a wide range of industrial cleaning from standard jobs such as interceptor cleaning to specialist projects involving initial assessment, risk assessment and project management. The division has a pedigree in working with clients to achieve their objectives.

OSS can offer bespoke solutions to its customers and also has a standard service for ships, interceptor cleaning and bulk oil removal. The company prides itself on being at the forefront of industrial waste removal and is able to offer a total service including project management, when it is required. Staff training is also a key driver with specialised training such as confined space training to access tanks for cleaning. This acts as a reassurance to customers that OSS takes the removal of special waste and hazardous waste very seriously and meets all current and forthcoming legislative requirements.

Waste removal

OSS has recently been involved in a number of high profile and bespoke waste removal jobs. The jobs range in size from collection of five drums of waste over a few hours to a couple of weeks’ work removing thousands of litres of waste. Recent examples include the emptying and cleaning of tanks on a Royal Navy battleship where the fuel holding tanks had been filled with gas oil for pressure testing. Before refuelling could take place this mix needed to be removed safely.

Sometimes before waste can be removed it has to be tested, e.g. where its composition is unknown or if it might contain PCBs. When old transistors are removed from factories or office complexes, OSS can be called upon to complete the job from testing to site clearance.

OSS is also well versed in handling waste streams and disposing of them via the most suitable route. On a vehicle manufacturing site OSS is responsible for disposing of 400,000 litres of waste a year whilst another customer using a range of chemicals to run its production machinery trusts the safe disposal of the chemicals to OSS on a regular basis.

OSS can also be called upon in an emergency when a spill needs to be cleaned up. For example, OSS can handle tank overflows and internal or external flooding including clean-ups in basements, tanks or other confined spaces.

Industrial companies produce and handle some of the most contaminated waste in the UK. It is vital therefore, that it is disposed of and treated in the appropriate way to ensure the safety of the environment, company employees and the general public. By employing a specialist company such as OSS Industrial Services Division to handle the waste management process you can be sure that you are getting the best advice and service available.

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