While you might not be experiencing any immediate problems with your current waste management supplier, having an expert review of your process is likely to reveal areas that could be optimised to save money.
From bins being collected before they really need to be to better recycling habits, the number of steps in the process that can be pulled apart and put back together more efficiently would surprise most business owners.
Because every company is different, breaking down every single thing that a good waste auditor will look for when assessing your situation isn’t really possible.
But we can give you an idea of the most obvious areas you could be losing money on your waste management every month, so you can decide if you’re doing enough to protect your bottom line.
Whether your goal is to reduce your carbon footprint, save money or free up some time and space for your employees, the first step to streamlining your waste management is a full audit.
This will involve an onsite visit, in-depth consultations with senior management, and going through a rigorous checklist until every aspect of the business’ waste management has been analysed.
If you’ve hired an independent waste auditor to review your current provider’s performance, they should be able to look through your bill and see itemised charges, so that when you do make changes, it’ll be clear where they can be offering you a better deal.
For example, if your audit reveals that you could benefit from having fewer collections, you shouldn’t need to pay your waste management company the same amount for fuel.
A thorough waste audit might reveal that there’s a market for what you’re trying to get rid of. Scrap metal, textiles and glass can fetch a decent rate, as can waste that can be used as fuel like vegetable oil.
Old machines and computers may also be valuable to the right buyer, even if they don’t work anymore. If upgrading and fixing equipment yourself isn’t an option, someone else may be willing to buy it from you so they can sell it on themselves for a profit.
Building good relationships with people keen to get their hands on things that you were otherwise going to throw away – especially if they’re happy to collect it themselves – won’t just save you money on your waste management, it’ll actually result in profit.
A good waste auditor will follow the market rates for selling scrap, so should include this in their final report.
Making the most of the space you have available for your company’s waste will directly impact your bottom line when it comes to smart waste management.
A good compactor will drastically minimise the amount of space you need for your waste, perhaps knocking off one or two skips from your monthly bill, which is often what waste management companies base their prices on.
Balers will compress anything from cardboard to plastic, making a nice, neat stack for your waste management company to collect.
While these machines require a large upfront cost and need to be regularly serviced so they’re kept in good working order, the space they save means fewer collections and more money in your budget.
This is a really easy way to make industrial and commercial waste management more cost-effective.
If a waste auditor finds that drivers are collecting containers that are only half full, it’s likely you’ll see instant savings there.
This also reduces your carbon footprint, as fewer collections means fewer lorries on the road and less fuel being burned.
The future of waste management will see the use of smart bins and skips that automatically compact waste (down to just 10% of its original volume) and detect when it’s full so a driver can be alerted that it’s ready for collection.
When containers arrive at one of SunSkips’ sites in Cambridge or Stowmarket, we’re usually dealing with a mix of waste that needs to be screened before it can be sent for recycling.
This is a meticulous process that requires handpicking, sieving, magnets and air classifying to get as much recyclable material out of it as possible.
Soil disposal is particularly difficult as it needs to go through a loss of ignition test to determine what percentage of organic matter is in the mix.
Tiny pieces of less than 10mm (known as “fines”) extracted from waste that has more than 10% organic matter will be taxed at £3.10/tonne, whereas fines with less than 10% organic matter are taxed at a whopping £96.70/tonne.
With this in mind, clients that are able to pre-sort their waste might be able to negotiate a discount considering the savings the waste management company would make on landfill taxes.
A lot of workplaces fail to properly educate staff members on how to dispose of things, and it can cause unnecessary tension.
Leaving complicated instructions in the cafeteria and an inadequate bin system isn’t going to do the trick; the whole team needs to understand the reasons behind good waste management.
It should be simple for everyone to find the right bin for the right waste, because if it’s too difficult, many people simply won’t do it.
Waste management training in the workplace is going to make for some of the biggest savings, because you can teach employees to reduce the amount of waste they create, from refusing unnecessary packaging (for example, you could provide free fruit to boost morale while removing the need for individuals to go out and pick up their own plastic-wrapped bananas) to reusing materials in other areas of the business.
Companies are typically charged by the amount of waste generated, so the less people make, the more efficient your process.
As most companies will have people eating lunch onsite, you may be able to introduce composting bins in the kitchen (you can buy containers specifically designed to reduce odours), which can either be sold or given to green-fingered staff members as a gift for their gardens.
Office storage rooms can end up becoming stacked to the rafters with old files and folders that would actually be far more useful if they were digitised and easy to search. This is an instant space saver and, of course, all the old paper can be recycled.
Converting your paper records into an organised database is going to save your staff a lot of time and hassle. Teams can collaborate more effectively and different departments will all have access at the same time, so nothing gets lost.
Your waste management company will likely recommend that large amounts of waste paper that will remain onsite for long periods be kept in a skip with a lockable door. SunSkips’ 14-yard skip, designed for light, bulky waste like paper, comes with a secure hatch to prevent theft of sensitive information or accidental fires.
If your business generates a lot of waste, bringing a waste management firm in to optimise your processes is likely going to save you a lot of money, space, and time. In the long run, this should work out as a wise investment, rather than another expense.
Getting your waste management setup properly early on is far less frustrating than trying to work it all out when it’s already got out of hand.
Companies like Subaru have managed to achieve zero-waste-to-landfill status, and they’re now reaping the benefits of their investment. The car manufacturer uses barcodes to track materials like waste oil and paint, then reuses them in other departments or sites to save buying more.
Unilever – which sells popular brands like PG Tips, Persil and Ben & Jerry’s – achieved its zero-waste-to-landfill goal in 2016 and claims to have saved more than $225 million (£164 million). The company is now striving towards its new target of using 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025.
A strong commitment to environmentally friendly practises is a positive boost to your company’s reputation and can actually make consumers choose your services over competitors, as well as making you a more attractive prospect for government contracts.
Ready to start saving money on your waste management? Call SunSkips today on 01449 360 036 or 01223 976 496 and speak to one of our waste consultants.