A guide to the most common commercial waste streams

The term commercial waste is used to refer to all of the different kinds of waste materials produced by businesses. According to the Waste Resources Action Programme, commercial waste accounts for a quarter of all of the waste produced in Britain – a significant amount.

Commercial waste is an umbrella term, as not every business is going to be producing the same kinds of waste. In this article, the Brown Recycling team is going to be breaking down the different kinds of commercial waste streams, so you can get a better idea of what exactly constitutes business waste.

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General waste

This is probably the most common waste stream, and it’s also the least specific. General waste can be thought of as any kind of everyday rubbish that an office or commercial site might produce. For example: food packaging, laminated paper, tissue paper. While there might be some variation from business to business, it’s safe to say that all commercial outfits will be producing this kind of waste.


Dry mixed recycling

Dry mixed recycling can be thought of as all uncontaminated recyclable waste. Dry mixed recycling includes: different kinds of paper, plastic bottles, metal tins (that must be washed beforehand), and all kinds of cardboard.

When it comes to recycling this waste stream, most businesses will have a dry mixed recycling bin next to a general waste bin, so staff can easily dispose of their waste correctly.


Glass waste

Glass waste is, of course, any sort of waste that consists entirely of glass. Key examples of glass waste are glass bottles and drinking glasses that have smashed and need to be disposed of. Businesses in the hospitality industry will likely produce huge amounts of glass waste, while other companies may produce relatively little.


Food waste

Food waste consists of meals that have not been consumed in their entirety and have been discarded as a result. Of course, for businesses in the hospitality industry, much like glass waste, food waste will be one of their biggest waste streams.

It’s worth noting that food waste shouldn’t be confused with animal by-product waste. Butchers, for example, will need to get rid of large animal bones and things of that nature, all of which needs to be disposed of in a different kind of food waste bin.


Clinical waste

Often confused with hazardous waste, clinical waste can be thought of as a kind of medical waste that includes drugs, pharmaceutical products, swabs, syringes and bandages. It’s not just hospitals and pharmacies that will produce this kind of waste though, tattooists will also produce clinical waste.


Hazardous waste

Simply put, hazardous waste can be thought of as any type of waste that might pose some sort of risk to the environment, or to public health as a whole. Usually, it will have one or more of the following traits:

  • It might be toxic
  • It might be flammable
  • It might be corrosive
  • It might be reactive

Hazardous waste includes things like batteries and cleaning chemicals, and needs to be disposed of extremely carefully to ensure everyone’s safety.


Sensitive documents

Another important business waste stream is sensitive documents and data. Given that businesses want to keep data about their company as private as possible, important documents that are no longer relevant or required need to be destroyed quickly and discreetly so they don’t fall into the hands of competitors.


Want to learn about how you could better manage your business waste streams? Here at Brown Recycling, we have a wealth of experience helping businesses squeeze the most value possible out of their waste, so if you would like to tap into this, all you have to do is give us a call!


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