3 key ways to improve your waste costs
- There is no point having low collection costs for your waste if the bins are half full and you’re paying for air to be moved.
- Why pay the maximum disposal costs for general waste where 80% of the waste streams in the bins are recyclable?
- Do you earn revenues from waste streams that have value?
Waste companies have no desire to be efficient, in fact, they like half-filled bins and won’t tell you otherwise.
So what should you do? “It has always been done like that, we’ve always had those bins there and put X in there” is what we hear most often. Getting a second unbiased pair of eyes to review the waste set up is crucial.
You should always start by looking at the internal bin set up.
The best course of action is trying to minimise the waste generated in the first place by working more closely with suppliers of your raw material products on items like packaging, requesting them to backhaul boxes etc.
Secondly a “recycle friendly” bin set up matching the internal bin set up with numerous waste streams is key. Having only 1 bin or the same bin type creates a problem that sets a chain of poor recycling performance in motion. General waste is 25% to 4x more expensive to dispose of than recyclable materials like glass and food. Many waste streams like cardboard and metals in fact have a value and so are definitely worth segregating. Food waste generated in hotels, care homes and schools are 40% cheaper to dispose of than general waste and are used to create energy. You need to ensure that the external bin set mirrors your internal setup.
Close monitoring needs to be done on how full the bins are on collection and whether the bin frequencies are correct. Having accurate monthly waste reports each month per site and a league table for multi-site portfolios are key to assess where to investigate and make changes. A league table with good metrics will show which sites are poorly performing relative to others. Leading sites can be benchmarks and case studies of what can be done.
Lastly, site engagement is key. They need access to up to date, accurate and informative waste information and help to make these changes. When encouraged internal staff are often sources of great ideas.
Sustainable Waste Service’s key focus is on cost reduction and we’ll take ownership of reducing your waste costs. Each new client will benefit from our waste audits to ensure that when we take over waste management of a site we start afresh and don’t just accept what is on site as the right way to do things. We’ll give you access to your own waste portal with all relevant performance data. We’ll monitor monthly performance and stats and make the necessary changes to reduce your costs. We’ll put in place an annual target and track performance against this monthly e.g. recycling percentage or waste to landfill %.
CASE STUDY: Reducing waste costs by over 10% through effective waste segregation and recycling – Kew Green hotels
SA has been partnering Kew Green hotels for over 4 years helping their 52 hotels.
One of the first areas we considered was food waste. When we were appointed only 10% of the estate had food waste. Food waste is 40% cheaper than general waste to dispose of. Food waste, when segregated correctly, is taken to anaerobic digestion (“AD”) plants where they produce energy that is fed back into the grid. Residual food waste is sent to farms as fertiliser. Sites that do not have segregated food on average will reduce their waste costs by 5-8% by introducing food waste segregation.
In addition to food waste, we also looked at the numbers of bins for each waste type – general, dry mixed recycling and glass. A well-managed hotel will have less than 40% of its waste leaving site as general waste. Our role was to ensure internal processes and the internal bin set up maximised recycling. External bin numbers and collection frequencies then flowed from there.
Our teams spend significant amounts of time on our client’s sites to get to know each individual site in order to make sensible changes. We will often do site visits on the day of collection to assess individual bin levels. We also seek to vary bin collection frequencies depending on certain times of the year where the hotels had different occupancy levels.
The Kew Green Account Management team would rely on monthly reports that highlight the volume of waste taken away by waste stream for each site. They would compare this to the agreed targets and also assess each site’s performance on the overall league table.
The result of the above has been an average saving of over 10% for each hotel.