A Guide to Management Services and Recycling

When one thinks of a Management Services or a Managed Services Provider (MSP), one might think of Security or IT. So how does this relate to recycling? 

Also known as outsourcing, contracting with an MSP is a choice to delegate certain key but non-core tasks to a third party. It can be a chore as simple as meeting planning or as involved as transportation and logistics. Typically, outsourcing is reserved for non-core functions, which are important to maintaining a healthy business that runs smoothly. 

Two of the best-known MSP examples are the payroll companies ADP and Paychex. These organizations took an important function, required by all companies, and standardized and scaled the process. This made it possible for companies to transfer these responsibilities to third-party experts who could do it more efficiently and transfer those human or financial resources elsewhere so they could create greater value. An MSP permits companies to leverage expertise and capabilities to perform functions better (and often less expensively) than they can themselves. 

Recycling then fits that bill. The responsible management of discards is important. But it is not the core to nearly any business involved with creating a good or providing a service. So, how does the outsourcing model relate to recycling? 

The first thing is to examine your current process for managing your operation’s recycling programs and practices. A good place to begin is the alignment between the practices and your company’s goals and budget. If your company’s goal is to become a category leader in sustainability like Paul Pohlman at Unilever or Yvon Chouinard at Patagonia, then you’ll likely have greater flexibility to get creative and really invest the resources to wring every bit of value out of your recycling stream. This will include hiring someone to manage waste and recycling. However, if you’ve just been acquired by a PE firm who are going through your books like the IRS on a training audit, then you may have less flexibility. It’s always a balance.

Once you’ve begun examining current practices and objectives, you may begin to see that things aren’t really aligned. If you see that your people aren’t performing the activities they were trained to do, i.e., those designed to deliver the greatest value to the organization and your budget, then this may be a sign that an MSP may be helpful. 

For example, one of the biggest disconnects we see frequently is with plant environmental managers who have been tasked to find vendors and markets for recyclables. As a result, a person who has been extensively trained in regulatory and risk management is asked to fulfill what amounts to a sales or procurement role. Can you imagine turning your company’s EHS department over to sales? Even if the environmental manager is marginally successful, it begs the question, “What did not get done on the regulatory, permitting, and safety fronts while he or she was Googling “cardboard recycling near me?” It’s unfair to that manager and it’s an inefficiency within the organization. There are many, many other examples, but you get the point. 

Next month, we’ll examine the financial considerations, keep recycling in-house or outsource. 

Are you looking at outsourcing your waste management services? Cumberland Recycling is here to help your company save money, attract clients and top talent, reduce energy consumption and its associated costs, and increase your company’s positive impact on the environment. You will, in turn, enjoy a positive impact on your corporation’s bottom line. Give us a call today!


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