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What’s the Benefit of Commodity Recycling?

By A.J. Dilenno, Sr. Director of Procurement, RWS Facility Services

The economic disruptions of COVID-19 have caused many restaurants and retail businesses to look for ways to cut costs and find new revenue streams. But many businesses don’t realize that up to 40% of their trash—from post-consumer plastics, such as hangers and water bottles, to metals to fibers, such as corrugated containers, office paper, newspaper, and even food grease—can be diverted from landfill to generate income. In my recent article in SupplyChainBrain, I outlined four ways to transform recycled waste into commodities gold.

You can start by giving your trash a closer look with regular waste audits. In a waste audit, a qualified team goes through everything in the compactor, separating your waste into different categories: corrugated cardboard, post-industrial and post-consumer plastics, glass, and so forth. From there, how much is Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and how much is recyclable commodities is calculated. The team then identifies potential places to sell the commodities and puts together a waste management plan.

Next, we suggest you reverse-engineer your waste stream to maximize volume and value. Recyclable commodities are usually generated and identified in two places, at the store level and at distribution centers. Retracing waste from distribution centers’ back to individual stores is one way to drive additional revenue. At RWS, we provide the tools to audit waste at each individual store and identify what is going in the compactor. We then help determine if consolidating waste from each store will increase the overall volume of commodities sold to buyers, seeing that buyers pay more for commodities sold in bulk.

Finally, it is vital to make sure the price is right for your scrap commodities. Businesses that have longstanding relationships with waste management vendors aren’t always maximizing the profits of their recyclable commodities. Even the most well-meaning companies can be complacent in informing their customers of pricing changes. To generate the most income from your scrap commodities, we recommend researching pricing when contracts with your waste services vendors come up for renewal.

Commodity recycling can be confusing because there are so many moving parts, but it doesn’t have to be. When you partner with a professional like RWS, we make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. We help you conduct a waste audit and identify valuable commodities, prepare a waste management plan, get the best price for your commodities and even train your staff in proper waste recycling.

Contact us today so we can assist you in generating new streams of revenue by transforming your recycled waste into commodities gold.