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Monthly Archives: April 2013

5 Mistakes People Make Managing Their Waste Stream

1. ASKING THE CURRENT GARBAGE HAULER FOR WAYS TO SAVE MONEY.

The current garbage hauler has absolutely no incentive to help in this area. It’s like asking someone to cut their own wrists. They want to maximize their revenue, which means they will not help you cut the charges for waste hauling. In fact, the garbage hauler hopes you never call to inquire about the fee increases.

 

2. NOT SEGREGATING THE RECYCLABLES FROM THE BATHROOM AND CAFETERIA TRASH.

Recyclables, cardboard, plastics, and paper are valuable commodities. When they are commingled with garbage, particularly putrescible (bathroom waste, food waste, etc.,) they tend to be sold at a much lower price and with much more difficulty by the hauler. It is better for everyone if cardboard, plastic, bottles, etc. can be segregated at the source. Single stream recycling is not the solution and requires more material to be landfilled vs. recycled.

 

3. NOT SHREDDING ALL PHYSICALLY PRINTED PAPER.

It is not uncommon for garbage from large financial institutions such as Banks, Credit Card Centers, Insurance Companies, Government Agencies, to contain personal or financial data that opens up individuals or institutions to fraud and identity theft schemes. Often the material is discarded in error. Other times, the confidential papers that should be shredded finds its way into the trash cans by mistake. Employees should not be given the option of placing paper in a confidential container or a recycling container. It’s proven that employees will put confidential material in the recycle container which will lead to a breach. Best practice reflects shredding all printed material.

 

4. NOT CONSULTING WITH RECYCLING COMPANIES THAT ACTUALLY TAKE POSSESSION OF THE RECYCLABLES AND SELL THEM.

Large organizations often use consulting companies that claim to have expertise in the business to guide their waste management decisions. In general, these “experts” have very little understanding of the best way to process recyclables or shred paper to maximize the end sale value and/or minimize the costs. Every major metropolitan area has several companies that specialize in recycling and are not in the garbage business. This is the group that will provide the best information about managing your waste streams.

 

5. AN UNWILLINGNESS TO CHANGE PROCESSES TO ENHANCE THE REVENUES FROM THE SALE OF RECYCLABLES.

Many organizations do not look at their recyclables as an opportunity to turn a cost into a revenue stream. This happens very frequently. My favorite story is when I worked with a large manufacturer on their recycling program. I identified a way to reduce their garbage invoice and generate revenue for their plastic. A whole year was lost as I was forced to work with a plant manager who had the opinion that recycling was a waste of time. I responded with, “Would you alter your food manufacturing process if you could gain $28,000/month by changing the behavior of 3 employees, while maintain your current production rates and quality?” His response was “Hell yes!” I then pulled out the spreadsheet that showed what throwing away 100 tons of cardboard and 50 tons of plastic per month was costing the company. The program is in place and the savings are being realized. We lost an entire year trying to get people to listen and embrace change.

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