How to dispose of aerosols safely

Aerosol cans are made up of approximately 60% tinplated steel and 40% aluminium, both of which are recyclable metals. With an estimated 600 million aerosols being used in the UK each year, aerosols are evidently a big opportunity in the recycling world!

Since aerosols contain liquid or gas, which are pressurised with a propellant, they need to be disposed of correctly as their contents are dangerous under certain conditions, such as in heat or in a compact garbage truck, and run the risk of exploding. As such, precautions need to be taken when disposing of aerosol cans. For this reason, many people are unsure of the appropriate ways to dispose of aerosol cans.

Here are a few tips for disposing of aerosols safely:

1. Before throwing your aerosol can straight into the rubbish bin, take the time to ensure that it is completely empty.

If it is completely empty, your aerosol can may go into the normal recycling for cans/tins.

Aerosol cans that are either partially or completely full need to be separated from your other recyclables and general waste as they are considered hazardous waste. Most councils collect aerosols via household collection, otherwise, they can be taken to your local recycling facility and put into the correct banks.

2. Do not modify the aerosol can in any way – e.g. do not pierce, crush or flatten the aerosol, as this may increase the risk of it exploding.

If there are any detachable or loose parts to the aerosol, such as a plastic lid, remove them and dispose of these separately within the appropriate recycling.

If you have any queries regarding the safe disposal of aerosols or have any other general questions regarding waste disposal, contact our specialist team for advice.

Why You Should Never Throw Away Your Old Electronic Devices

As the electronic technology market develops, people are fast to ditch their old electronic devices for the latest model. But what happens to all the old devices?

The fastest growing waste stream in the UK, electronic waste, also known as WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment), is estimated to add up to around 2 million tonnes a year.

Many people don’t realise that old electronic devices should never be placed in your general waste bin when they reach the end of their working life. This is because electrical equipment often contains several hazardous substances that impact the environment and human health.

A strong example is flat panel displays, which contain significant amounts of mercury. Many other electronic products contain lead, arsenic, and flame retardants that when dumped in a landfill, can contaminate the ground, water, and air.

When you consider the bulk amounts of e-waste generated by businesses who are upgrading their computer systems and other business electronics, combined with generic households, then you can imagine the impact those toxins are having on our planet and health.

Here’s a list of e-waste culprits, some of which may have never crossed your mind:

  • Electric toothbrushes
  • Microwave ovens
  • Televisions (CRTs, LCDs, Plasmas)
  • Computer Monitors
  • Computer Peripherals (mice, keyboards, etc.)
  • Laptops/Netbooks/Tablets
  • Printers
  • Copiers
  • Fax Machines
  • Televisions (CRTs, LCDs, Plasmas)
  • Portable Electronic Equipment (MP3 Players, PDAs, etc.)
  • Telephones
  • Cell Phones
  • Answering machines
  • Cameras
  • VCRs
  • DVD/CD Players
  • Stereo Equipment
  • Speakers
  • Scanners
  • Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) devices

So, what do you do with your old electronic devices?

You recycle them of course!

Be aware that UK businesses that produce hazardous waste are legally responsible for the safe removal and disposal.

Whether it’s for domestic or commercial purposes, at GD Environmental we have the capacity to accept Hazardous and Non-Hazardous electronic waste, which is handled by our specialist WEEE division for recycling.

Call our team to find out how we can help you recycle your electronic waste on 01633 277 755.

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!

We recycle over 96% of all collected waste

We currently recycle over 96% of all collected dry waste at our Newport and Llanelli recycling and transfer stations, forging our reputation as one of the most efficient waste-sorting company in Wales.

5 Eco-friendly tips for your office:

  1. Buy a nice mug for your morning ‘cuppa and reuse and you can avoid any waste.
  2. Make sure the office doesn’t just have recycling bins for paper, but also for plastic and metal.
  3. Buy re-manufactured ink and toner cartridges.
  4. Recycle old newspapers laying around the office.
  5. Look for the recycled option in all the products you buy. It’s not just paper that is recycled.

We have developed specialist teams and innovative equipment which effectively treat and dispose of waste, helping make local communities a safer and healthier place to live and work.

As well as collecting and transporting waste on behalf of our clients, we also welcome direct use of the recycling and transfer station facility. The station has efficient two-way vehicle access, assuring minimum waiting time for customers who transport waste onto our site for processing.

As part of the service, GD Environmental can provide you with an interactive reporting facility that delivers a comprehensive waste break down, including how much of your waste has been diverted from landfill to recycling.

If you would like more information, or to discuss your waste management requirements, please call us on 01633 277 755.

Moving Towards a Circular Economy

Circular economy is the alternative to the today’s linear ‘make, use, dispose’ economy which aims to keep resources in use for as long as possible. Today’s economy is built on a fast turnover principle, with the release of new products, mainly technology, we are quick to upgrade and dispose our old ones. This leads to a staggering inefficiency in the way we manage the earth’s resources, with increased pollution, loss of ecosystems and substantial decrease in value with each product disposed.

How does it work?

Circular economy is divided into two cycles, Biological, and Technical. The Biological Cycle aims to build capital with waste instead of reducing it through rethinking and redesigning products and packaging to create safe and compostable materials that encourage growth. The technical cycle aims to rethink ways we can cycle valuable metals, polymers, & alloys to maintain qualities beyond shelf life. Combining the two cycles creates a circular economy where, instead of disposing of your old products, you can return them to the manufacturers, where tech materials can be recycled to create more, whilst the biological materials can be used to increase agricultural value.

The Benefits

There are many benefits that come with operating under a circular economy, such as:

  • The reduction of waste
  • Helping to reduce the environmental impacts of production and consumption within the UK
  • Creating to create a more competitive UK economy
  • Driving greater resource productivity
  • Companies will have a secure supply of resources they need to produce
  • Consumers will be protected from price hikes caused by scarce resources

5 Ways to Make Money From Your Scrap Metal

If you’re looking for a fast and easy way to make some extra cash, selling scrap metal is a good choice. Any appliance, object, or machine can be scrap metal even if it is damaged or no longer functional, it still contains valuable metal.

Our scrap metal recycling facilities will pay you good money for your scrap metal.

Here are five ways as to how scrap metal can make you some cash.

#1 Household items

Many defunct household items can be sold for scrap. Ordinary, everyday items such as  broken Christmas tree lights contain valuable copper components, while toasters contain copper wiring and usually have a steel body. If they are made from recyclable metal (most industrial metals can be recycled) you can sell them for scrap. Not only this, often you will make more money for them as scrap than you would selling them as used items – especially if they’re broken!

Pro tip: Remove non-metal components like plastic casings and you will get more money.

#2 Major appliances

Large household appliances like washing machines, refrigerators, and freezers contain large amounts of valuable metal that can be sold as scrap. If you have broken items, or simply old items you want to replace, as with smaller household items they will be worth more for their scrap metal than they will be as used or broken appliances.

Pro tip: Don’t forget the copper elements in the power cords!

#3 Scavenge roadside items

How many times have you driven past an old kitchen range languishing in a ditch or random items that have been abandoned in streets and alleyways because they’re too large to transport to a tip? These items can easily be scavenged and raided for scrap metal. Even items that are rusty and have been crushed will still contain the metal elements you want to sell.

Pro tip: Never take anything from private property, or items that are behind gates or fences – that is trespassing and theft!

#4 Auto parts

Old auto parts can also be salvaged and sold as scrap. Car parts that no longer work are very valuable as they are usually made almost exclusively from metal. There are often different types of metal within parts, so take them to pieces and sell the different metals separately – you will get more money.

Pro tip: Don’t forget about the nuts, bolts, screws, and fasteners – they look small but soon add up!

#5 Old plumbing

Fixtures and electrical parts from your plumbing are a wealth of valuable metal. You can sell old drains, faucets, pipes, and the wiring that goes with them at scrap yards.

Pro tip: You don’t need to clean them prior to selling.

Are you looking for a scrap metal specialist based in Wales? Look no further – if you have scrap metal to sell or old items you need collecting, we’re happy to help. Contact the team at GD Environmental today.

Just how dangerous is Asbestos?

What exactly is Asbestos?

Asbestos was used extensively as a building material in Great Britain from the 1950s through to the mid-1980s. Although some of this material has been removed over the years, there are many thousands of tonnes of asbestos still present in buildings today.

Why is it dangerous?

No amount of asbestos is considered safe. Products that contain greater than 1 percent of asbestos minerals are considered to be asbestos-containing. The more asbestos you are exposed to, the more likely you are to get an asbestos disease. Asbestosis and lung cancer are dose-related diseases.

How dangerous is Asbestos?

  • Asbestos still kills around 5000 workers each year, this is more than the number of people killed on the road.
  • Around 20 tradesman die each week as a result of past exposure
  • However, asbestos is not just a problem of the past. It can be present today in any building built or refurbished before the year 2000.

GD Environmental is licenced by the Environmental Agency to accept all forms of cement-bonded and fibrous asbestos. We can provide approved drivers, licensed to collect and transport all types of asbestos and hazardous waste, and professionally operates one of the few asbestos transfer stations in Wales and the West Country.

In the event of an emergency, GD Environmental is able to provide an efficient asbestos removal service to any location across the UK. This quick turnaround is to reduce the impact of any fly-tipped asbestos on both the public’s health and the environment.

If you would like any more information regarding Asbestos or its removal, give us a call on 01633 277 755.

The Importance of Drain Cleaning

If you keep finding yourself in the same place – with another clogged drain – it might be time to solve the problem for good and get your drain properly cleaned.

But what’s the point in cleaning my drains if they’re just going to get dirty again?

Clogged drains are a common problem for households, a joy that comes hand in hand with indoor plumbing. The more debris that accumulates in the drain over time, the more likely it is that the drain will eventually block completely.

What’s causing my drain to clog?

There are a number of materials and factors that are responsible for clogging up your drain, including a build-up of sludge and debris that accumulates over time. Sludge is usually comprised of a mixture of fats, oils, grease or soaps, dirt, silt, leaves, hair, food and other household waste that has been allowed to build up within your home’s drain lines.

Once an obstruction occurs and is not removed, it tends to grab onto other bits of debris, causing the blockage to worsen over time This can result in bad smells, a collapsed sewer pipe or flooding.

How we clean your drains

Drain jetting is the approach we use to clean drain and sewer pipes. The high-pressure pump can extend much further down a drain than a drain rod will, making it an extremely effective method which blasts at the obstruction, removing all of the materials and debris safely and without damage to the main line pipes.

In addition to this, we safely remove all of the unwanted stone, sludge and waste water, making sure to clean your drains to a standard that will deter future drainage problems.

What if it doesn’t unblock?

It is very unlikely that the drain jetting and clearance service we deliver will not unblock your drain. However, if there is something there that is causing a problem, we are able to carry out a CCTV inspection to allow us to visually inspect the cause.

What Is Hazardous Waste?

Waste is generally considered hazardous if it (or the material/substances it contains) is harmful and poses a substantial threat to human health or the environment.

To ensure that hazardous waste is safely and responsibly disposed of, there are several regulations that need to be complied with. Organisations that produce over 500kg of hazardous waste must register with the Environment Agency in Wales.

There are also many household products that are considered hazardous and must comply with regulations of separation from normal waste to ensure safe disposal.

A chemical waste may be classified as hazardous if it exhibits one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Ignitability – waste that is flammable and can sustain combustion
  • Corrosivity – waste that can readily corrode or dissolve materials that it meets
  • Reactivity – waste that can readily explode or undergo violent reactions
  • Toxicity – waste that can cause physiological damage if ingested or inhaled

What Can Be Considered Hazardous Waste?

Examples of hazardous waste include aerosols, batteries e.g. lead acid batteries, chemical waste e.g. brake fluid or print toner, consumer electronics, computers, televisions, fuel, fluorescent lights, oils e.g. car engine oil and pesticides.

We offer hazardous waste disposal. For more information and a list of what our disposal team services operate with, click here or call us on 01633 277 755.

Tackling Food Waste Issues

What Is Food Waste?

Food waste refers to food that is suitable for human consumption, yet is deliberately discarded. Food waste is a current worldwide epidemic, with environmental, economic and moral imperatives to tack the issue.

Despite numerous efforts to reduce food waste over the years, in the UK alone, as many as 8.4 million families experienced difficulty in putting food on the table in 2015.

Meanwhile, approximately 7.3 million tonnes (equating to £13 billion) worth of food was wasted and sent to landfills. Of this food sent to landfill, 4.4m tonnes were regarded as avoidable, whilst the rest consisted of inconsumable food such as egg shells, bones and fruit peelings.

Environmental Impact

When food waste ends up in landfills, its decomposition produces a large amount of methane – a greenhouse gas that is significantly more potent than carbon dioxide. Excess amounts of greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation, resulting in an increase in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere – contributing to global warming and climate change.

What Can Be Done?

Food waste changes have to be made at every stage of the process. In Wales, improvements have been made through the introduction of waste food caddy bins. Homes in Wales have shown to be wasting around 10% less than the national average and one of the reasons for this is due to the separate food waste collection.

By manually separating food waste from other every day waste, people have become more aware of exactly how much food they are throwing away.

Consequently, statistics have shown that food wasted from households in Wales was down by 12% between 2009 and 2015, and is currently now approximately 10% lower than the rest of the UK.

Despite positive results in Wales, there are still significant changes that need to be implemented to further tackle this issue.

What Can I Do?

Here are 6 simple changes you can make to reduce food waste:

  1. Know the difference between sell by and use by dates!

The use by date on food packaging refers to the safety of the food – that is, food can be eaten (and in some instances, frozen) up until the use by date.

Best before dates refer to the quality of the food. Food is still safe for consumption after this date, although a reduction in quality might occur.

Many people make the mistake of confusing the sell by and use by dates. As a result, a lot of food is wasted when it’s still edible!

  1. Plan your meals ahead

By creating a shopping list and planning weekly meals, you are only inclined to buy what is necessary for those meals which can help reduce the amount of food wasted at the end of the week.

  1. Keep on top of what your fridge contains!

By having a clutter-free fridge, you reduce the likelihood of forgetting about food that has been pushed to the back and allowing it to go off. Additionally, by checking what your fridge contains before going to the supermarket reduces the likelihood of you buying something that you already have.

  1. Freeze it

Using containers and storing left over food is a great way to cut down on food waste, with the advantage of having a meal that you can simply defrost for later in the week!

  1. Make use of food banks

If you know you’re not going to consume food before it goes off, take it to your local food bank and help feed those that are hungry.

  1. Make use of apps

There are numerous apps out at the moment that can help you to make changes and reduce your food waste. One example is an app called ‘Handpick’ that helps you to plan meals around the ingredients that are already stored in your cupboards!

GD Environmental provides a local and sustainable solution for your packaged and unpackaged food waste. For more information, call us on 01633 277755.

Eco-friendly Microbeads Made From Cellulose

You’ve heard the bad news about microbeads, right?

These tiny pieces of plastic are often used as exfoliants in a range of personal care and cosmetic products such as face scrubs and toothpastes, and concern has mounted over the impact these microbeads (which are designed to wash down the drain but are too small to filter out during wastewater treatment) could be having on marine wildlife. Some microbeads are visible to the naked eye, but others are as tiny as one micrometre! Conservationists have warned that they can affect fish growth and persist in the guts of mussels and fish that mistake them for food.

According to the UK parliament’s environmental audit committee, a single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles being washed down the drain, so the UK government has acted and made plans to ban them by the end of this year.

The good news is that Scientists and engineers from University of Bath’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies have developed biodegradable cellulose microbeads from a sustainable source which could be used as a replacement. The beads are made from cellulose, (the material that forms the tough fibres found in wood and plants) which is not only from a renewable source, but also biodegrades into harmless sugars.

Scientists say these microbeads are robust enough to remain stable in a body wash, but can be broken down by organisms at the sewage treatment works, or in the environment over a short period of time.

This shows there are great alternatives to plastics out there and we hope to find many more of them in coming years.