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Are you losing money because of your waste management processes?

By Bertie Lourens 25th April 2019 Cost Efficiency

Does your waste stink of overspending? That’s because your current waste management process could be losing you money.

We understand - trash tends to be ‘out of sight, out of mind’ once the disposal truck rolls away. That’s why we’ve listed some of the costs you might not have thought about. They’re hidden, but tend to leave an odour of financial squander in their wake.

First, let’s look inside your own company’s processes. Costs could include:

Lost opportunity

Much of what we consider to be ‘throwaway’ can be converted into a valuable commodity. E-waste is just one example. When properly extracted, its minerals can generate large volumes of raw materials needed for new recycled products.

Lost production time

If all the components of production are not in happy sync, they can hinder process, lose time and generate unnecessary waste. Production layout should be designed to optimise the flow of materials. Production scheduling should include a range of products so that setup is minimal and streamlined, and you can maximise your economies of scale across the board.

Unmonitored processing

How’s your process monitoring? When last did you assess your practices around storage, treatment, and disposal? Have you considered a new use for your offcuts, which can be redirected back into the production cycle? Subpar waste management can breed a whole host of liabilities, like extra clean up costs and energy over-expenditure. You have to unpack your current processes honestly so that you can identify the leaks and make the changes.

Poor communication strategy

Regardless of how genius your corporate waste reduction strategy may be, if your people don’t understand it and are not living it, it’s a dud strategy. The only way an organisation can make long-lasting, effective change is if every staff member can own and articulate the vision. Your waste reduction strategy has to be consistent, visible, and simple to understand.

So now let’s assume you’re generating a lot more waste than you need to. Obviously for the average waste provider, more rubbish = more work = more zeros on your monthly invoice. But what exactly are they charging you for? Here’s what goes into the final figure:

Fuel surcharge

Part of your waste removal fees are your fuel (and other transport-related) costs. Naturally the more loads of waste that need removing, the more you’ll pay.

Landfill disposal fee

Your waste management provider needs to pay heavy tariffs to dump your garbage in those landfills. So you will subsidise those costs, based on an agreed rate per tonnage of waste.

Clean up

You spill it, you pay for it. As simple as that. But the cost can be complexly sizeable.


Just like your organisation, your service provider is keeping due diligence by reporting to the Department of Environmental Affairs and paying the necessary taxes (including SA’s new Carbon Tax). Your partnership helps pay off heaps of those taxes.

So there it is. Not exhaustive, but enough to chew on. You might now be thinking, hmmmm, I think we can make some changes in our business. Great. We can help.

Subscribe to our blog and join a growing community of citizens advocating for a better, greener business. Or contact us for assistance and guidance relating to waste management. 

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Bertie Lourens

Author Bertie Lourens

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