Hidden Risks / Hidden Opportunities

Undermanaged spend categories in MRO – A Recycling Story.

This month I will address the often-unseen opportunity(s) in your facility’s trash containers. Recently I was asked to visit a very busy distribution center that is, by any measure, operated by very sharp people with solid systems.

We were invited in by the new DC manager as one of their customers they supplied packaging materials (cardboard boxes, clear plastic salad containers, and paper) had recently changed their requirements, and three trailer loads of product were no longer needed.

When we arrived, we toured the DC, where we saw similar products being loaded into a 30 cubic yard open-top container, headed for the landfill. New and used cardboard boxes, unused paper products, and stacked plastic containers were mixed with breakroom waste and trash. Not only was it costly to send to the landfill, but often, their hauler was late to pick up the container creating a backup on the loading docks. If they tried to anticipate when the container would be full, and the hauler came early, they were paying for a container only ¾ full. Adding insult to injury, these products are valuable to ready buyers. One to two containers a week to the landfill, and the numbers quickly added up to between $5,000 – $7,500 per month.

With the addition of a baler and a single dock door, these costs came down to $1,700 a month. The reduced amount of product going to landfills reduced costs and kept the loading area clear. The revenue stream created by recycling offset the transportation costs. This DC has made a small net revenue stream from an expensive spend category.

Have you had a similar experience where you could turn your trash into cash? Let us know so we can showcase your experience with the other 2,000 plant managers, EHS, and sustainability professionals who read this blog monthly. Send your story to k.malloy@cumberlandrecycling.co, and let us know if we can publish your story.

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