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Medicine Wastage: The Facts

Have you ever ordered too much medicine? In the UK there is a growing problem with wastage of medical products. In fact, estimates report that as much as £300million worth of unused medicine is wasted every year, money which could have been used elsewhere in the NHS on valuable services such as cancer treatment.

Why is medicine wasted?
The reasons for not using medicine and returning it to the pharmacy or GP can vary. It could be that a patient has recovered and no longer needs the medicine, their condition might have progressed and they now need a different treatment, a patient might over order medicine “just in case” they need it, or a patient might sadly pass away and then the medicine is returned by relatives or carers.

What happens to wasted medicine?
Sadly, more often than not the unwanted medicine cannot be reused or given to another patient for safety reasons.  So if wasted medicine actually makes it back to the pharmacy or doctors, rather than sitting in a cupboard, then it tends to just be destroyed by means of an incinerator.

How can we reduce medicine wastage?
Stockpiling medicine is one of the biggest contributors to the £300million loss as people will sometimes order more of a product than they actually need because they fear running out. This is why the NHS launched the ‘Only Order What You Need’ campaign to combat waste.  You can read more about it here:

Another reason for wastage is caused when a patient fails to stick to their course of prescription. Often, medication works the quickest and most effectively when it is used for a consistent period of time. If a patient forgets to take their prescription and stops and starts their course, they are more likely to have to begin a course again or for the course to take longer to work – thus driving up the cost.

Here at LSPS recycling is of great importance to us and we help businesses and individuals all across Leicestershire to reduce the amount of their waste that ends up at landfill sites. Our Waste Transfer Station is open to traders and has an extensive range of state of the art equipment.

To find out how about we can help with your waste disposal needs please contact us on 0800 083 7807, or visit our website for further information.

Coffee pods – a headache for sustainability?

Coffee is the most popular drink in the world with around two billion cups consumed every day. Despite our international reputation for favouring tea, in the UK we manage to drink 55 million cups of coffee every-single-day.  In recent years there has been a boom in the number of UK households and workplaces switching from drinking instant coffee to ground coffee and single-serve coffee pods. These single serving coffee pods are favoured for their higher strength and stronger taste, but there are problems when it comes to disposal.

Take the German port city of Hamburg, where the problem with coffee pods became so great that they have put a ban in place specifically targeting coffee capsules and pods.  A report from the department of Environment & Energy determined that the pods can cause “unnecessary resource consumption and waste generation”.

Why are coffee pods such a nuisance?
The problem lies in the complexity of their packaging. Coffee pods tend to be made up of a combination of various different materials, mainly plastics and aluminium, which can take between 150-500 years to naturally degrade in the environment and are hard to process at a recycling plant.

If they are so difficult to recycle why are they used?
The reason for the use of these materials rather than something which is more biodegradable is that coffee pods need to be able to withstand immense pressure and heat when brewing.  Coffee pods hold a large amount of coffee in a small amount of packaging which allows for a powerful and consistent brew for consumers.

Is there a solution out there?
Some leading coffee pod producers like Nespresso have begun to take responsibility for recycling their own capsules, placing collection points in convenient areas such as supermarkets, while other companies like Phillips have begun producing machines which use recyclable coffee bags rather than pods.

What should I do with my coffee pods?
In general, most recycling companies advise that you avoid using coffee pods all together and instead choose another method of brewing your coffee. However, if you do decide to use them then you are unable to place them in your recycling collections at home.

Here at LSPS we take recycling very seriously. To find out how about we can help with your waste disposal needs please contact us on 0800 083 7807, or visit our website for further information.

Does your business correctly dispose of confidential waste?

Running your own business can be difficult enough at times without being hit with a fine for breaching the Data Protection Act.

In the UK businesses are liable for fines of up to £500,000 for failing to effectively dispose of confidential information, but many business owners and employees are unaware of exactly what their obligations are and exactly how devastating a breach can be.

Every day businesses take down sensitive information from customers, clients and other providers which need to be handled with care. This could range from simple addresses and phone numbers to bank details, passwords or other private and personal information. While businesses tend to spend lots of money on physical security such as gates, fences and CCTV cameras, in many cases they fail to give the same adequate protection to confidential data.

However, the risk of failing to protect confidential data is extremely significant. The government estimates that the cost of identity fraud on businesses in the UK to be at least £2billion – not a small amount of money by anyone’s standards and the damage comes in many guises.

First of all there is the risk of fraud or blackmail by whoever manages to obtain the data which could lead to financial losses for your business or your customers. Next, there is the risk of information being stolen by competitors who could hijack projects, copy ideas and steal business leads. There is the risk of massive fines as demonstrated in the Sony customer data leak in which they were fined £250,000 after customer credit card details were leaked. And finally there is the damage to your business’s reputation to consider, something which shouldn’t be taken lightly. Would your business be able to survive such an ordeal?

What can be done?
Securing physical documents in your property by limiting access to the key people that need to access them is one thing, but you also need to process them in a timely manner and only hold them on site for as long as is absolutely necessary. Once information is processed it should be shredded. However, shredding your materials on site and leaving them by your bins is far from foolproof and there have been many instances of documents being pieced back together and stolen by criminals, journalists or a business competitor – which is why it is important to use a secure and trusted service to carry out your shredding for you.

Here at LSPS we offer a complete waste disposal management package to business and offices in Leicester and Leicestershire to help them comply with the latest recycling legislation.

We offer a no obligation meeting at your business or office premises in Leicester and Leicestershire to discuss the most cost effective and practical recycling & waste disposal options available to you.

To find out more please call us on our free phone number: 0800 083 7807 or alternatively click here to contact us via email or to request a call back

Calls for greater collaboration to boost recycling consistency

Specialist recycling charity WRAP has called for greater collaboration efforts between UK councils, packagers and retailers in order to effectively create consistent recycling standards.

Speaking at the Collections Conference in London, WRAP special advisor Chris Mills claimed that councils in the UK currently have too many variations in the ways that they collect their recycling which make it difficult for householders to understand and put into practice.

As we discussed in our recent blog ‘Is the UK confused by recycling rules’ as much as 338,00 tonnes of household waste is rejected from recycling facilities annually across the UK. WRAP claims that this stems from householders being unsure as to what can go into their recycling bins and how best to prepare those items for recycling.

WRAP aims to bring together representatives from councils, waste management companies, packaging companies and retailers to advise on a more consistent approach to recycling rules. WRAP has estimated that the benefits of an aligned approach could lead to around £33m in savings as well as significant reductions in energy wastage and C02 emissions. 

Here at LSPS recycling is of great importance to us and we help businesses and individuals all across Leicestershire to reduce the amount of their waste that ends up at landfill sites. Our Waste Transfer Station is open to traders and has an extensive range of state of the art equipment.

To find out how about we can help with your waste disposal needs please contact us on 0800 083 7807, or visit our website for further information.

Is artificial intelligence the future of waste disposal?

A pioneering programme in the United States is showing that AI and robotics could play an important role in the future of waste disposal and recycling.

Alpine Waste & Recycling, a facility in Denver, USA has pioneered a project in which a robotic device has been proven to work more efficiently than its human colleagues. The project, which partnered with AMP robotics and the Carton Council of North America, has announced that their robotic machine was able to pick cartons at a rate of 60 per minute - 20 more than human workers found possible.

The robot, named Clarke, after sci-fi author Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, is equipped with spider-like arms and custom grippers which allows it to separate cartons fast and effectively. Designed by AMP robotics founder Matanya Horowitz the robot is able to quickly identify and pick contaminated objects out of the assembly line that are classed as unsuitable and could contaminate a batch of recycling.

This latest robotic trial follows on from Apple’s success with recycling robot ‘Liam’ who currently dissembles 1.2 million phones every year for the tech giant. Apple’s pioneering robotic worker helps to disassemble a variety of apple products extracting valuable aluminium, copper, platinum, silver, tin and gold reducing the need for mining of precious materials.

Where traditional types of sorting technology would rely on coding for it to differentiate between contaminated and uncontaminated materials, robotic systems are able to learn from example and can begin to understand what to look out for by learning from sample materials.

While in theory robotics could be an enormous help in the UK too, where recycling rates have been getting worse, critics are quick to insist that robotic aids remain expensive and cannot yet handle the complexities of waste management.

Here at LSPS recycling is of great importance to us and we help businesses and individuals all across Leicestershire to reduce the amount of their waste that ends up at landfill sites. Our Waste Transfer Station is open to traders and has an extensive range of state of the art equipment.

To find out how about we can help with your waste disposal needs please contact us on 0800 083 7807, or visit our website for further information.

How to profit from your spring cleaning efforts

Spring cleaning is often traced back to the Iranian Norouz, which is the Persian New Year. On this day Iranians would take part in ‘khooneh tekouni’ which roughly translated means “shaking the house”. Today, spring cleaning is a proud tradition in the UK too and a fantastic way to make your home more peaceful and calm. However, the benefits don’t end at making space. With the rise of online selling sites, more and more people are earning cold, hard cash from the clutter found around their homes.

Cashing in on spring cleaning
In the past car boot sales and garage sales were one of the only ways to get rid of your unwanted belongings locally. While both methods of selling your junk still remain popular, nothing has quite caught on so much in the past few years as the idea of online selling.

Online classifieds
There are numerous websites online where you can sell items from your home. Websites like allow you to post classified ads with photographs and detailed descriptions to entice buyers. Once you’ve sold an item it is then up to you to arrange a pick up or post your item to the person who has purchased it. Alternatives to Gumtree include PreLoved and Craigslist which are both popular and largely free to use.

Online auction sites
An alternative model to classified ad websites is to use an auction website like eBay known as the ‘World’s Online Marketplace’. Founded in 1995 by French-born Iranian-American computer programmer Pierre Omidyar, eBay today has 167 million users and over 1 billion live listings at any one time. It’s an easy to use website, with minimal fees and an easy to understand model and you may be surprised at what you can actually sell on there.

Specialist sites
Whether its artwork and paintings, gym equipment or musical instruments there is a whole network of websites online where you can sell to specific audiences. If you have an item which you’ve been struggling to sell on a site like eBay which has a massive audience, you may find that you can gather more interest from hunting down a forum or specialist seller website which caters for your specific niche. An example of this is the website Etsy which deals specifically with handmade items. 

Social media
A newcomer to the world of second hand sales is Facebook. Facebook recently launched Facebook Marketplace as an attempt to take on popular companies like eBay & Gumtree. Facebook users have been creating local ‘groups’ and selling items to people nearby for a long time now but their new mobile App makes the process even easier. It allows users to easily buy, sell, trade and barter for items with fellow users.

What to do with everything else?
While it would be nice to think that there is a buyer out there for every piece of junk you find in your home the sad truth is that it can often be harder than you might think. In particular items which are easily available, low cost or broken are not always a straight forward sale and rather than cluttering up your home, or ending up in landfill, should be disposed of in a skip and sorted by a qualified waste management service.

Here at LSPS we have a range of different sized skips to help you with your spring cleaning. Click here to book a skip online or call us on freephone 0800 083 7807 to find out more.

New app helps food suppliers to make use of their food waste

In a week that 40 environmental organisations called for food waste across Europe to be halved within the next 15 years, it seems some progress is already being made.

Supermarket giant ASDA, has launched a new mobile app which provides a platform for suppliers to market their food waste to other people who may find a use for it. The app, which works as an online marketplace, allows for suppliers such as restaurants to pass on leftover ingredients, uneaten waste or vegetable trimmings to others who will be able to find a use for it, rather than it ending up in landfill.

The app, which was launched yesterday at ASDA’s yearly Sustain and Save Exchange conference, aims to battle food wastage in the UK and highlighted the supply chain as one of the biggest offenders, with as much as 45% of food waste coming from it. ASDA hopes that the app will encourage industry leaders to find new uses for their surplus waste by providing a central platform for them to share and trade their waste.

We take recycling seriously at LSPS. For more information or to find out how we can help with your waste disposal efforts, please visit our website or call us on freephone 0800 083 7807.