Diverting as much waste away from the trash and into your single-stream recycling will definitely save you money; click here to read more about the benefits. Once you make a committment to increase your revenue by decreasing your waste, what do you do?
First, do a waste audit to determine what it is you're throwing away by taking a look in the trash and making a list of what you see. Calculate the weight of your recyclables to estimate how much you can save.
Then figure out what you can move to your commercial single stream:
- Paper and cardboard, aluminum in any form, and plastics numbered 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7 should always be diverted to your recycling stream.
- Plastic film, shrink wrap, and polystyrene are all recyclable but are not accepted by some recyclers, so consult your waste partner.
- Same goes with electronics and metal; they have value and should definitely be diverted from your garbage but may not be appropriate for single stream.
- Here are a few other don't-miss recycling opportunities that can save money for your company
Next, figure out where and how to collect the material
- Place large recycle bins or gaylords at every point of origin to make sure you collect every ounce of recyclable material.
- Mark the bins clearly with the type of material your employees can dispose there.
- Make trash cans smaller, or eliminate them entirely in favor of centralized refuse stations.
Finally, you need a plan to store your increased single stream recyclables:
- The best method for your company will depend on the weight and volume as well as your available space.
- Know that the more weight your hauler gets per pick-up, the more money you will save.
- Store material loose material in a front load container. This method has the most minimal equipment investment, but your loads will be light and you'll pay to haul air.
- Compacting the material increases the weight of your hauls.
- Compacted loads can be baled and stored on pallets.
- With enough volume, you can store your bales in trailers for your hauler to swap out.
One important note: when you increase your commercial single stream, you'll decrease either the size dumpsters you use for trash or the frequency of pick-up. Make sure you "right size" your service so you don't pay to haul air. Right-sizing works; read how one company realized an annual revenue impact of 24K just by adjusting their service: