Waste: Your Newest Controllable Expense

Dan Olson

Did you know you might be able to save between 20-70% on your waste bills? No miraculous super-seed from the Amazon needed, I promise. Just the realization that how you’ve historically managed your waste stream needs to change in response to two of the business world’s most beloved and feared words: market disruption.

If big savings in waste are truly on the table, something must have changed, and changed they have. Ecova has been investing heavily in its waste management solutions for two major reasons: 1) the service provider model for the industry is in upheaval, and 2) the entire concept of what waste management entails is changing. These two disruptions are opening the door to significant savings for those willing to take a different approach to the management of their waste stream.

Regarding the first disruption―changes to the service provider model―over the past 5 years the waste hauling industry has seen massive consolidation. No longer do we have a market with many local waste haulers. The scene is now dominated by two major national haulers, a handful of regional players, and niche local providers. Consolidation hasn’t even been limited to just haulers buying haulers. Last year Waste Management purchased the dominant North American waste broker, Oakleaf. These changes consolidate and professionalize waste hauling, with professionalization coming from national and regional providers being attentive to national account needs, as well as through their ongoing efforts to improve data availability and accuracy for their more sophisticated clients.

Let’s now turn to the second disruption―the definition of waste management. Years ago waste was simply called, ‘waste’ and it went to a landfill. Now people throw around words like raw material, technical and biological nutrients, and even profit center (so profitable it gets stolen) when talking about their waste stream. Waste is now sorted into untold different categories of materials, each of which may have its own unique end life. This transformation creates economic opportunity for some, and complexity for all.

If your company is managing waste the same way it was managed it 10 or even five years ago, you’re likely overpaying for your waste services. The good news is that the longer it’s been, the larger the savings opportunity you’re likely sitting on. Take a look at our case study with Alaska Airlines for an example of potential waste savings opportunities.

Ecova’s Sustainability team is available to answer your questions about waste and how our services can help unlock savings for your program. Our recent webinar―Savings Through Integrated Waste Management―provides helpful information to get you started.


Related content:
Whitepaper: A Four Step Guide Zero Waste
Infographic: Waste
Solution: Waste Management

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