The recent SAPICS event was packed with stimulating presentations and exhibitors that have left attendees with plenty to think about. In case you missed it, you can still download a copy of my presentation by filling out the form. Here are some of the key takeaways from my talk:
In today's world, waste is an inevitable part of every value chain. However, it's crucial for all players within the chain to be conscious of the waste they generate and its carbon footprint. By limiting or neutralising the carbon footprint, we can ensure that our waste management practices are environmentally responsible.
It's important to acknowledge that waste inherently has a carbon footprint, but there are steps we can take to manage and reduce it. However, it's also important to note that waste management practices can increase the carbon footprint if not done correctly. That's why it's crucial to ensure that your waste is managed in a way that has a neutral or negative, or at least limited positive carbon footprint.
Every organisation must have a solid strategy in place to progress towards maximising their recycling efforts or even achieving a zero-waste-to-landfill goal. To ensure success, it's essential to be aware of your waste operator's profit sources. So, make sure you ask the right questions!
It's important to understand that every waste company operates on a profit model. This typically involves collecting waste, transporting it, and disposing of it in landfills - each step of which has a profit component.
The second financial model in the waste industry is on-site waste management, which involves deploying staff and equipment to receive waste at a specific site. The process involves separating the recyclables from the non-recyclables, transporting the non-recyclables to landfills, and selling the recyclables to the recycling industry, each step of which has a profit component. This incentivises the placement of more staff.
However, the circular model is the better approach, as it encourages a closed-loop system that minimises waste and maximises resource efficiency.
Each step taken to divert waste away from landfills generates savings. As a result, the waste that is moved away from landfills needs to be sold, generating income and more revenue. This creates more financial incentives for all parties involved.
The circular waste management model is the only model that can achieve a maximised recycling outcome or a zero-waste-to-landfill outcome. Therefore, it's important to ensure that your waste operator declares where and how they make their profits, and to find a waste operator that prioritises profits while minimising waste.