Saving money on waste management and increasing your recycling rate shouldn’t be complicated. But adding extra services for new waste streams can ratchet up waste costs and additional costs can deter businesses from improving their waste management.
However, there are ways to do this simply and cheaply.
Consider the following example: Steve’s business has a 4.5 cubic meter general waste bin collected weekly. This waste goes to landfill because everything from the business is mixed in together. The business is paying for the cost to landfill 260 cubic meters of waste or 78 tonne of waste annually.
More often than not, the bin is only two thirds full when it’s collected each week, and most of the space is taken up with cardboard, plastic and polystyrene packaging. Other wastes include some mixed lunch-room wastes and office consumables. At the end of the month Steve’s workers break up any left-over wood pallets and pile them in but every few months they need to take an afternoon off work and transport them to the tip.
Only a small proportion of the waste in this huge bin needs to go to landfill so Steve decides to make some changes:
Separate bins are arranged for polystyrene and cardboard wastes to be collected by specialist recyclers monthly. If these bins fill too rapidly, the service can be increased to fortnightly.
Wood crates are stockpiled until there is enough to call in a skip bin every other month.
There is such a small amount of remaining lunchroom and mixed non-recyclable wastes left over, the business downsizes to a weekly 120L wheelie bin and a 240L co-mingled recycling service.
By separating his main waste streams Steve has reduced his landfill waste volume from 260 m3 to 6.24 m3 per year and increased his recovery rate to nearly 95 %.
If your business is looking to make improvements in waste recovery, ask yourself the following:
Are your bins consistently full on collection? Can you reduce the size of the bin or reduce the number of collections each month?
If you produce a large amount of a single waste stream like food waste, timber packaging or hard plastics, these can take up a lot of space in a general waste bin and add to the cost. If you were to put these wastes into a separate bin, could you drop down the size of your general waste bin?
Your waste service provider should be happy to discuss your waste needs and what happens to your waste when it leaves your work site. They should be prepared to change the size of your bins and the collection frequency to meet your requirements. If they are not – it’s time to find a new provider. Jump online to find great value and a better outcome for your waste here.
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Cristian Vasquez at Cleanaway, Dwayne Rapley from Suez and John Cameron from CLAW for help with the waste calculations in this article.