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Many Means to Mitigating Waste Management Costs


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Written by: Erik Makinson

A large and professionally varied population of respondents to our 2015 Energy and Sustainability Predictions survey made it clear that waste management provides an organization-wide opportunity to drive cost savings and sustainability. While waste ranks behind energy and water as the biggest opportunity for savings and improvement in 2015, our survey reveals growing awareness of waste disposal challenges across industries and job functions. A full 60 percent of the 500 energy, sustainability, facility, and finance professionals we surveyed said waste management is applicable to them.

Why? Perhaps because refuse—more so than water and energy—creates a tangible and daily reminder of its problematic disposal. Or, perhaps it’s due to the 28 percent rise in waste disposal costs over the past ten years.

As landfill tipping fees and the cost of diesel fuel continue to drive up hauling prices, the expectation is that the costs associated with waste collection and remediation will continue to rise next year and years to come.

The enterprise-wide opportunity to mitigate the rising cost of waste management isn’t the only driver of waste awareness impacting our survey. Several California municipalities are setting national benchmarks on a host of waste management mandates, marked by bans on polystyrene packaging and plastic bags. Municipalities in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington have followed suit with similar bans, and mandatory composting and recycling initiatives of their own.

Faced with rising costs and regulatory pressure, more companies are implementing waste data analysis tools and prioritizing the outcomes they expect to achieve from those tools. The top priorities revealed by our survey are displayed in the following exhibit:

The distribution of these priorities underscores the need for a comprehensive waste management solution that supports the objectives of a number of stakeholders. In fact, when we drill down into responses by role, we see that:

  1. Final decision-makers (directors and C-level professionals) are most concerned with the optimization of service levels. 
  2. Finance and accounting professionals, on the other hand, are focused on improving pricing and terms.

While priorities vary by role, both outcomes of waste data analysis can create incredible opportunities to drive efficiency and savings.

As is the case with energy, organizations have opportunities to reduce waste costs through contract negotiations. Costs, as well as regulatory noncompliance, can also be avoided by diverting less trash to landfills through composting and recycling initiatives. Waste data is the key to optimizing any of these opportunities. To learn more about the cost benefits of waste data analysis, read our recent white paper There’s Money In The Trash, or visit our Ecova Waste Management solutions page.

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