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Helping UK plc to get ‘waste smart’

With waste becoming a bottom line issue for most businesses, the CIWM is launching an enhanced version of its Waste Awareness Certificate at this year’s RWM. Chief executive Steve Lee reports.

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) will be unveiling a new version of its Sustainable Waste Awareness Certificate at the show, which is targeted at all types of businesses interested in improving compliance, reducing waste costs and encouraging a culture of more sustainable waste and resource management.

Since the training course was first developed in 2003, more than 12,000 certificates have been issued to organisations including the BBC, Network Rail, Associated British Ports and HMP Wormwood Scrubs. It met the growing need for better knowledge about sustainable waste practices and compliance with key legislation.

Now, with policy and legislation moving on apace, and the cost of waste disposal and raw materials becoming a priority, the certificate has been expanded.

Additional pressures

Apart from rising waste disposal costs and raw material prices, the Waste Framework Directive now requires businesses to take account of the EU waste hierarchy when making decisions about the management of waste. With pressure growing on business and industry to find ways to reduce waste, improve resource efficiency and be proactive in developing more sustainable practices, the CIWM felt the training could offer more and needed to cater for different levels of business responsibility.

The enhanced Sustainable Waste Awareness Certificate is targeted at those who generate or handle waste. It aims to ensure they understand why and how waste should be managed sustainably and what steps they can take to improve performance, including:

  • exploring the importance of sustainable waste and resource management in terms of financial, environmental and social costs to the business
  • explaining different options and best practice for managing wastes and resources in organisations
  • understanding legal obligations and the implications of non-compliance.

Those who need to implement, manage and monitor improvements in waste and resource management may then undertake the additional element that provides an opportunity to build skills and best practice by exploring in more detail how to:

  • identify and measure key waste streams
  • identify opportunities for preventing waste, increasing recycling and improving the management of unavoidable wastes
  • monitor and evaluate improvements.

Defra, the Environment Agency, WRAP, CBI, the manufacturers’ organisation EEF, and the sector skills council for the hospitality industry People 1st are just some of the organisations that the CIWM worked with to review and update the content of the certificate.

Wide input

Engaging with these key organisations has allowed a breadth of input that will ensure the training continues to address pertinent issues for waste producers across a range of industries. In a recent survey, 92% of past delegates who responded said the course had prompted improvements in the way waste and resources were managed in their organisation.

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