Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
The materials and substances that you use in your business all have an impact on the environment. By carefully selecting your raw materials you can reduce this impact and reduce your costs.
You must store and handle raw materials carefully at all stages of processing and manufacture. If you cause pollution to air, land or water, or risk causing damage to the environment, you are committing an offence.
A safety data sheet (SDS) must accompany any material supplied to you that contains hazardous substances. The SDS gives information on how chemicals should be handled, stored and disposed of.
If you use chemicals or chemical products you must make all staff aware of the SDS for any hazardous substance or mixtures that they handle, store or dispose of. If you receive a chemical without a SDS, contact your supplier to find out whether or not they have to provide one.
Oil and chemicals can be particularly damaging to human health and the environment. You must store and handle these appropriately to prevent pollution.
Make sure that your material handling and storage areas do not cause air, noise or water pollution.
Audit the materials that you use in your process. If you use any hazardous substances consider using alternative less hazardous materials and practices. For example:
Consider sourcing materials that are certified by an ecolabel or logo. Products displaying an ecolabel must meet strict requirements covering a range of environmental impacts. See our guidance on buying sustainable goods and services.
Consider the whole life cycle of the materials that you source, including the impacts of the raw material, your production process, the final product and its disposal. For example, is the material delivered in reusable packaging, does the material reduce the amount of waste that you produce, does the material reduce the amount of energy or water that your process requires?
Select materials that make it easier for you to minimise, reuse and recycle your waste. For example, if your grade of paper will allow, use materials delivered in pulpable bags.
Use your raw materials to maximum benefit to reduce the amount of waste that you produce. See our guidance on waste reduction, reuse and recycling.
Contact your suppliers for help with choosing materials.
For more guidance on how to manage and reduce your environmental impact see our guidance on managing your environmental performance.
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