10 Steps to Cost Effective Waste Management

From waste disposal machinery to business regulations, cost-effective waste management is a desirable but little-considered part of your overall business strategy. It’s a point in any operation process where real progress - and real savings - can be made.


Here at Greenbank, we’ve come up with a ten step process you can follow to lower your overall operation costs and create a successful waste management procedure. 

  1. Determine What Your Current Waste Disposal Is Costing
  2. Review Whether Your Waste Disposal Meets Your Needs
  3. Analyse Your Waste Sources
  4. Collate All Your Waste Management Data
  5. Set Your Waste Reduction Targets
  6. Segment Your Waste Types and Disposal Methods
  7. Identify Any Financial Value To Your Waste
  8. Find The Most Beneficial Waste Contract
  9. Create Company Waste Reduction Policies
  10. Renegotiate With A Lower Priced Contractor

1. Determine What Your Current Waste Disposal Is Costing

Waste disposal practices might be at the very bottom of your to-do list - but they’re actually important considerations for any business. Your waste management processes might have been in place for many years, but without the proper analysis, you might not know whether you could be getting a better service for a cheaper price. 

First of all, find a copy of the service level agreement or contract you have with any contractor, invoices or waste transfer notes will also be beneficial for this process. Then, find the monthly cost of your waste disposal - for example, things like landfill tax, skip hires or waste carrier services.

Essentially, you need to determine the overall monthly costs of waste container hire, waste collection and subsequent disposal.

2. Review Whether Your Waste Disposal Meets Your Needs

After finding out your costs, you need to discover what waste is being collected and how much of it is going to waste carriers. You should also determine any changes in waste production - is it subject to change throughout the year? For example, a retail business might find they produce more waste in the run up to the Christmas holidays. 

If you find that disposal containers are never full when it’s time for collection, then you should think about reducing the frequency of collections or the amount of containers (such as skips) you hire. This stage of review is important because you’re able to see the potential of any reductions to waste costs.

3. Analyse Your Waste Sources

Find out which of your internal processes are producing what types of waste and in what quantities. This makes the job of segmenting the lifecycles of different waste easier, affording you more ability to cut down on any waste production costs specific to that type of waste.

This could further develop into an entire audit of your waste management process - covering not just the sources of waste but the labour involved in getting rid of it. For example, are you currently using machinery that may not be as efficient as it once was? Does it meet today’s standards? This kind of analysis helps your decision making process further down the line.

Here at Greenbank we offer a free waste audit - if you’d like to find out more about it, contact us today.

4. Collate All Your Waste Management Data

When you begin analysing your waste sources, you start to produce a map of your resource consumption and waste production - the entire journey. Producing this map allows you to see any points of production that can be more efficiently managed or determine any points of friction.

While a lot of this data will be held internally, you can also contact your waste contractors for any data they may have that could be valuable and insightful.

5. Set Your Waste Reduction Targets

Consider your business processes. There’s usually room for improvement within any operational methods and setting targets to aim for are good ways at providing incentive to stakeholders and a more clear idea of where you want to be.

In our modern world, it’s also a good idea for companies to become more eco-friendly - which is better for our environment and more appealing to everyday customers. In a survey by Futerra, it was found that 88% of customers want companies to help them be more environmentally friendly within their buying choices. Having an effective waste reduction strategy helps to deliver that.

Making the effort with waste reduction is not only better for the planet, it’s better for your business. You can use the waste hierarchy model to begin maximising your waste cutting practices and resource efficiency:

  1. Eliminate unnecessary waste.
  2. Reduce necessary waste.
  3. Reuse any waste if possible.
  4. Recycle after reuse.
  5. Dispose of waste responsibly.

You can also read our blog post on how businesses can reduce their waste.

6. Segment Your Waste Types and Disposal Methods

At this point, quantify what you can recycle and what needs to be disposed of. Segment your waste types to make this a more efficient process. You’ll also be able to truly see just how many waste containers you need and the frequency of your waste collection.

Also, ask yourself how you can dispose of waste yourself? How can you make it easier to store and dispose of? Think about waste management machinery, such as shredders, compactors or balers that can compact large amounts into physically smaller portions, making them easier to deal with.

By reducing the physical size of your waste, you can save on things such as skip hire (less waste equals less skips) and the frequency of collection. Machinery is an incredibly cost-effective waste management addition to any operational process.

7. Identify Any Financial Value To Your Waste

Similarly, you should look into whether any waste you produce is a potential revenue stream. Did you know that polystyrene is recyclable and a much-desired product within the construction industry? Unique knowledge like that can go a long way when creating a cost-effective waste management process.

Commercial value depends on the type of waste produced but in many cases recovery is more financially viable than disposal. Determining the value of waste is the perfect way of incentivising company or plant-wide buy-in for proper waste segmentation.

You can discover the going prices of certain waste types here

8. Find The Most Beneficial Waste Contract

There are many waste contractors on the market today. If you’re trying to reduce costs in resource consumption and waste production, then working with a contractor who prices based on the amount of waste generated is a good focus. 

Similarly, if you operate within close proximity to other businesses with similar waste amounts and types, it might be possible to arrange some sort of group policy, where the costs and benefits are shared. Plus, on an environmental scale, having a number of businesses dispose of waste using one collector is much greener.

9. Create Company Waste Reduction Policies

At this point, think about staff training. Are there any ways that waste in general can be reduced? This can mean dedicated waste management champions or office recycling. As soon as a reduction opportunity is identified, it should be pursued. 

10. Renegotiate With A Lower Priced Contractor

Step 10 is a biggie. By going through the previous nine steps, you’ll now know exactly what you need in terms of cost-effective waste management. At this point, open a dialogue with a current contractor to see whether a reduction in services (depending on your needs) or a change to the current set up (regarding practices such as waste collection) can occur.

Can your waste contractor provide any additional services for the same price? You should also be looking into quotes from alternative suppliers who can provide a better service for a lower cost.

Creating a cost-effective waste management policy is a much-needed practice for any successful business. But what are the true costs of waste management and how can you go about being more cost-effective while retaining quality? Look no further.

Maintaining Cost-Effectiveness, Retaining Quality

Our easily-downloadable guide covers a lot of key information when it comes to waste management for businesses. From the costs of waste management, such as skip hire and landfill tax, to investments in helpful machinery designed to make your waste management process more financially efficient - it’s the best place to begin for any company looking to capitalise upon this important and universal business function.

Just click the link below to download your copy.

Download the Guide