What is a waste audit?
A waste audit will allow Butler County Recycling to examine your current waste stream, evaluate current waste management methods, and develop a strategy and materials needed to set up and operate an effective waste diversion plan. Your facility floor plans and waste hauler service schedules are often helpful to begin this process.
Why conduct a waste audit?
A waste audit provides the foundation for staging suitable recycling set ups, including recycling collection hardware, customized signage, and technical guidance.
Recycling can help your company save money, reduce disposal costs, improve efficiency, and enhance business reputation. For example, as a direct result of recycling efforts, Butler County industries:
- Diverted 700,000 tons of material from landfills
- Offset $23 million in disposal costs
Recycling redirects waste from landfills, saves raw materials, reduces the impact from resource extraction, and lowers energy usage and pollution. Butler County industries also:
- Saved more than 300,00 trees
- Saved over one billion pounds of iron ore
- Saved more than 13 million kilowatt hours of electricity
- Prevented the release of about 20 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2)
What steps can you take to prepare for a business waste audit?
Gaining management support and designating a recycling lead/team is an important first step.
A waste audit can involve examining records including purchasing, waste hauling records, total employee count, number of work shifts, facility walk-through, and/or waste sort (specific functional area, facility-wide).
Identify opportunities for source reduction and pollution prevention (P2).
What materials can be recycled?
Materials commonly collected for recycling include paper, cardboard, scrap metal, plastic, glass and other types such as wood waste, oil and textiles. Generally, these materials have recycling potential because they can be collected in quantity as commodities.
Where can I find information on local recyclers?
Identify potential recycling service providers for your specific waste stream(s). Your waste hauler may offer recycling services, or recyclables can be sold directly to a processor or a broker who markets the materials to processors. Your company might also be able to use Ohio's waste exchange program.
How do I determine the economic benefits?
Recycling often makes good economic sense. Unlike industry, commercial businesses typically do not have significant quantities of recovered material to sustain the additional fees associated with recycling service. The benefit of recycling for large industry is cost avoidance. Companies save money when recycling reduces the frequency or volume of waste collected.
Use these steps as a guide to determine the savings from adding recycling to your current waste management cost:
- Determine existing monthly waste service cost: $250/month
- Estimate projected downsized waste service cost: $100/month
- Add expected monthly recycling service fee: $100/month
- Compare costs to determine estimated savings: $50/month
How do I implement a workable program?
Participation is critical to your recycling program's success. It's important to establish simple, reliable and visible collection systems. Plan your program carefully and design a system that:
- Supports clear, measurable goals
- Is part of your company's standard operating procedure (SOP)
- Meets the needs of employees at various work stations, production areas, breakrooms and meeting points
- Gives all participants clear and regular directions about their part in the program
Some companies establish waste diversion goals to encourage recycling participation. Goals should be practical, measurable and describe the results your business wants to achieve. For example:
Goal: Decrease the amount of waste that is disposed in landfills by X% each
year for the next 3 years
Objective: Implement a paper recycling program to divert X% of paper
Goal: Increase the amount of material recycled by X% each year
Objective: Expand current recycling program to include additional recyclables
What motivates employees to participate?
Successful recycling programs take time, patience and persistence. Here are some tips to motivate, educate and recognize employees:
- Involve employees so they have ownership in the program. Solicit their ideas regularly. Invite them to participate on the recycling team. Ask them to make a recycling pledge.
- Train employees on recycling specifics and update them on any program changes.
- Estimate and promote the economic and environmental benefits of your program. Convey program benefits in terms of cost-savings, resources saved and corporate responsibility.
- Recognize employees or teams who exemplify good recycling behavior, such as prizes that encourage waste reduction/reuse (reusable coffee mug, gift cards, company social media post, recycling award).
How do I sustain the program?
Keep accurate records on the types and amounts of material collected. Use this information as well as employee feedback to evaluate the program, make changes as needed to sustain long-term recycling.
Contact Anne Fiehrer Flaig at 887-3963 to set up your company waste audit.