Recycling economy

Recycling in the bad times

The H1 figures are due out shortly. Even if the economy is not in recession we are teetering on the brink. Recycling can help a business survive the tough times.

Waste is all about volumes – the more we produce, the more waste we generate. During normal or good times we tend to consume more and we generate more waste. Bad habits and inefficiencies begin to creep in. And like electricity and water we use more and our costs increase.

This is where recycling assists. By reducing volumes we reduce costs. This may seem trite and not worth the bother but a closer look at your waste removal costs may tell you a different story. If you are a large organization generating over a R100 000 a month in waste removal charges the savings are clear. A ten percent reduction in cost is noticeable while a thirty percent reduction starts becoming significant. Many large organizations generate multiples of R100 000 per month.

We are seeing the evidence of cost saving drives already. Large and medium size organizations need to cut costs and cutting jobs is a sensitive issue. Cutting waste costs has no political or social consequences except positive ones. It is therefore not surprizing that more organizations are asking for recycling services.

Recycling can help a business survive the tough times

Once a recycling program starts the full volume of what is waste and what can be recycled becomes apparent. It is usually a case of waste having been handled in one way for so long that no one has looked at the real cost and savings. Everyone knows that all waste is dumped in the black bin and it is collected five days a week. No one is checking what is being thrown in the bin.

When someone looks afresh the results are surprizing. Most of the time there is a large volume of recycling material included. Given the amount of packaging we use it is difficult to find a waste bin which does not contain some recycling material. Most purchased goods have a plastic, cardboard or similar type of packaging and that is what is discarded first.

One of our standard training techniques with members of an organization is to take a wheelie bin – selected at random – into the lecture room and unpack it. I recently did that and all the waste in the wheelie bin was recyclable plastic and cardboard. Both the CEO and FD were in the audience. I could have ended the demonstration at that point.

Most individuals know about recycling but in the workplace it is not our money so it is not our problem.  Also waste is the “dirty toilet” – no one wants to go there. In many organizations it is a case of “blink voor, stink agter”. As professionals we go in the back door to the receiving yard and see the waste… and the recyclables being thrown away.

Take your waste bill, reduce it by between 10% & 30% to see how much you CAN save on costs by recycling

The principle of reducing as a cost cutting measure is valid no matter the size of the organization. There will be savings; as a desk top exercise take your waste bill and calculate a ten or thirty percent saving. Industrial organizations in clean industries can reduce up to ninety percent of their waste costs.

The principle is equally valid at home and other organizations, the savings in rand terms will be less because a home generates less waste but it will still be saving for the hard pressed consumer.

I believe in the maxim: “When the going gets tough the tough get going”. Economically things are probably going to get worse before they get better. Now would be a go time to look afresh at your waste stream. Recycling costs little and the savings are worthwhile.

Recycle Reg
Smart Waste