Optimized Waste Hauling

You hear it frequently: companies are implementing new recycling programs and initiatives to reduce their environmental footprints. With today’s talks of climate change and a push to reduce, reuse, and recycle, waste is becoming a hot topic. But what about the refuse your company continues to landfill? Is it even worth discussing waste hauling practices when your focus is improving your environmental impact? The answer is yes. Rightsizing your waste hauling services can significantly reduce your environmental footprint while also decreasing costs.

If you operate like many businesses, the answer is “too frequently.” It’s become common practice for waste management companies to simply put their customers on a scheduled route and service them whether their waste containers are full or not. As a result, many waste containers are not full when serviced.

When you use a compactor to collect waste, it leaves your facilities in the back of a roll off truck. Empty, these gargantuan vehicles alone range from 28,000 to 33,000 pounds.  Then there is the weight of your roll off container. This is the part of the compactor that is removed during a trash pickup and can weigh up to 2,800 pounds empty. Before adding in the weight of your actual refuse, you have already reached 35,800 pounds. That is about 9 times heavier than a typical passenger car and can have the following increased negative environmental effects:

  • Higher amounts of wear and tear on highway infrastructure, requiring more frequent road repair
  • Larger amounts of fuel  required for operation, usually in the form of nonrenewable fossil fuels
  • Higher amounts of air pollution from greenhouse gas emissions

Now let’s review how frequently these trucks are visiting your facility to service partially empty containers. Do these kinds of negative environmental impacts outweigh the convenience of a scheduled pickup? What if instead, your waste containers were only serviced when completely full? Wouldn’t this eliminate unnecessary use of these vehicles, thereby reducing unnecessary pollution?

Earlier this year we partnered with a national food manufacturer to analyze the effects of using smart waste technology to optimize waste hauling services at one of their facilities in Pennsylvania.  During this study, we found that by utilizing smart waste technology to monitor compactor volumes, we could provide need-based hauling service, saving over $2,600 per month compared to scheduled pickup service.

  • PRE NORTHSTAR RECYCLING – The study began with Northstar analyzing this facility’s preexisting waste hauling service, using our smart waste technology to monitor use of their single refuse compactor for one month. During this time, the manufacturing facility disposed of approximately 28 tons of refuse over 11 scheduled hauls. This accounted for over $5,400 in total disposal costs.
  • WITH NORTHSTAR RECYCLING – After a month of monitoring preexisting conditions, Northstar took over management of this facility’s waste. We transitioned hauling services to occur on an as-needed basis, using smart waste technology to monitor the compactor pressure and automatically send an alert once the compactor reached 80% capacity. Only after receiving this alert would Northstar then schedule a pickup. Using this method, Northstar was able to reduce service to 3 hauls for the month (less than one third as many as before) while still removing about 24 tons of refuse. This accounted for less than $2,800 in total disposal costs for this facility.

Average weight per haul

  • Summary of Benefits – Using data from this case study as a base, we forecast that switching from prescheduled hauling service to need-based hauling will save this manufacturing facility over $32,000 annually in hauling fees for refuse alone. In addition to this economic benefit, reducing the amount of hauls per month will also help reduce this facility’s environmental footprint – with estimates from the first month alone equaling about a 36% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.

As this case study clearly shows, there are significant environmental and economic benefits to be gained from implementing an as-needed hauling service for refuse. To learn more about how Northstar Recycling helps clients optimize waste and recycling services, contact us today.