Waste management can be challenging, especially for companies active in the process industry, industrial production, mobility, retail, logistics and infra & maintenance. Many used raw materials are released within these sectors, often in multiple locations. Outsourcing is a perfect solution for such companies.
Companies do not always give waste management the focus necessary to exploit the opportunities that a proper handling of used natural resources provide. One of the reasons for this is it is a secondary process, since the timely collection of waste, without extra effort on the part of their employees is the main criterion for companies. This is essential for preventing congestion in the operational process and guaranteeing continuity within the process.
In recent years, the trend is shifting from keeping waste of out sight to the understanding that waste management can be fruitful. Companies, their employees, and ultimately their customers think it is important that businesses take steps to treat the environment better. This includes a proper handling of waste. After all, as households are increasingly aware of the importance of sorted waste disposal, so it is striking when a company does not have this properly organized.
When companies decide to collect waste streams separately, this not only affects the behavior of their employees, with the right streams ending up in the right containers. In many cases, there are different service providers, who ensure the correct processing of these streams. Multiple service providers means different ways of placing orders for emptying your containers while managing and maintaining multiple contacts at the service providers as well. And multiple conditions for offering full containers. And that is leaving differences in the financial settlement aside. In short, the impact of improved waste separation on operation and finance is significant.
Companies sometimes take their own private household as a starting point for the structure of waste separation. Because it is obvious that glass, paper, biodegradables, plastics, cardboard, and metals should be collected separately. In many cases, however, residual flows at companies cannot be compared to household waste at all, especially in production processes, retail, mobility or in infrastructure companies. That is why it is important to know exactly which waste streams leave the company. And subsequently to determine whether or not these flows can best be collected separately and how to do this.
Waste management is a domain that requires a lot of knowledge about residual streams and processing methods to set it up properly and to manage it. In addition to the regular streams that are separated in households as well, optimizations are possible with many more waste streams. For example, think of metal streams, in which copper is often and aluminum is sometimes disposed of along with waste metal. A pity considering there is quite a difference in revenues between those streams. In addition, the quality of the streams is also an important factor for the right returns. The reduction of contaminants in waste streams often forms a positive business case, both financially and ecologically.
The requirements for an optimized waste process are extensive. From gaining insight, to analyzing waste streams, tracking market development and market prices and regulations, knowledge of collection structures, processing methods, carrying out checks, setting objectives to creating progress reports. Without specialist knowledge, such actions cannot be carried out. Installing a team with waste specialists is an option. But your company might still lack the right systems to make waste management easier and your waste administration 100% balanced. Outsourcing or unburdening is the best economic option. Epsecially for companies with multiple locations and with large volumes of used raw materials.
A flexible management position helps to control and optimize the waste process. Having an overview, insight and monitoring of progress and certainly having flexibility is essential. For example, if you want to move to another processor because it fits your company better from a perspective of cost or sustainability, you should be able to direct this. But how to determine this when you lack an overview of and insight into your own operational waste processes?
The first step is a clear and transparent method to place orders and to which all your service providers are connected. This has several advantages, for example preventing double calls of full containers because employees can see which container is on call and when. This creates order, because by entering all containers (including dimensions and location) in advance, both your employees and the service provider will know exactly what needs to be emptied. Moreover, this way of ordering is the same for waste service providers A, B and C.
Learn how to gain from digitizing the waste process in the following blog.
With a balanced digital waste system, the waste process becomes simple, uniform, and transparent, and links the operational ordering to the financial handling as well. In short, a comprehensive method of registration and reporting is created. Your waste administration is 100% correct and complete. Does your company have multiple locations? Then the uniformity guaranteed by the process is an extra benefit.
As an HSE manager or as a facility manager you are responsible for delivering various reports. Without a comprehensive administration system for waste management, a lot of time is wasted on delivering those reports and creating dashboards for internal communication. And this even leaves formulating or achieving objectives from these reports aside. In addition, when locations use multiple systems for their registrations, it is impossible to compare them. Internal benchmarking of waste performance is very relevant when making improvements.
The registration of waste orders is important for control and to gain a better insight into the streams that leave the company. This insight in particular can give a certain focus on streams, so better results are achieved from a cost or sustainability point of view. Without this insight or with a reduced insight, optimizations are often done from gut feeling or from a consumer thought. Therefore, it is essential to know where optimizations can be achieved before this is actually adjusted.
Avoiding unnecessary costs, i.e. making the costs of waste manageable and getting the right value for the used natural resources, is an important first step to take. With a comprehensive waste administration, costs incurred per process, department and/or location are immediately made clear. With specialist knowledge, you can manage those waste streams that allow for savings. Next to internal savings, it is important to be aware of market developments regarding commodity prices as well.
Market developments of raw materials happen in rapid succession and keeping track of these prices is time-consuming for an employee in charge of the waste process. In particular concerning companies with many different waste streams. This may add up to a full day's work and the company's facility employee often has a range of duties that is wider than just the waste process. Companies that appreciate this tend to engage a specialist company and let themselves be unburdened.
The waste service provider, the party responsible for the disposal and processing of a particular waste stream, sets requirements on the way in which used raw materials are offered. Based on these requirements, the service provider determines whether the quality offered meets the quality requirements of the stream. If this is not the case, rejection may occur, and the stream will be classified into another segment and consequently valued at lower yields. In order to ensure that the service provider only rejects streams that actually do not meet the quality requirements, control is important.
The accurate separation of streams and quality safeguard start with a thorough training of the operational employees and with clear means of communication to collect used natural resources in the right container without wasting too much time. An easier collection of waste results in a more qualitatively accurate offer of streams. Of course, unburdening the waste process also involves training and supervising employees should quality reject arise. In addition to the check that takes place first, extensive feedback is given and then is assessed whether optimizations are needed to prevent this.
For companies that have large facilities for production or handling, there are many movements to shift goods from place A to place B. This also applies to the waste process. For example, employees spend a lot of time in warehouses collecting wrapped cardboard and foils and straps. It is an unnecessary waste of their time, especially in sectors dealing with shortage of employment.
The registration of waste orders is important for control and to gain a better insight into the streams that leave the company. This insight in particular can give a certain focus on streams, so better results are achieved from a cost and sustainability point of view. Without this insight or with a reduced insight, optimizations are often done from gut feeling or from a consumer thought. Therefore, it is essential to know where optimizations can be achieved before this is actually adjusted.
The achievement of the business objectives benefits greatly from strategic guidance by the operational manager. Streamlining and optimizing operational processes is the most important challenge. An unwanted interruption or stand-still has immediate consequences for the quality, planning and costs of the production process. Safety and compliance consequences may occur as well.
Continuity in your waste process is therefore essential. Not only does this imply the correct processing of the segmented waste and residual streams. In changing circumstances, it is important to be flexible. This can be done by adjusting collection frequency, temporarily scaling up the process or flexible use of hardware such as containers, presses, or recycling kits. This ensures continuity in your operational process while maintaining control and in compliance with the latest laws and regulations.
Laws and regulations are an important framework for the HSE manager and the waste business strategy. For example, the regulation to make the Netherlands circular by 2050 is an important impetus for a sustainable business strategy.
The European and Dutch laws and regulations have been merged into the National Waste Management Plan (NWMP). The first NWMP dates back to 2003 and was drawn up to unite the regulations on a national, and even a European level, rather than on provincial level. The NWMP has been drawn up for all waste to which the Dutch Environmental Protection Act applies. The plan is reviewed every six years by the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment and contains the objective of the Dutch waste policy, i.e. circularity, and the policy for waste prevention and management.
The policy framework and the European Waste Framework Directive (WFD) requires that everyone who is part of the chain within the waste industry possesses the mandatory permit or certifications. For example, the VIHB (collectors, transporters, dealers, and waste brokers), VCA (Safety, Health and Environment Checklist for Contractors), ISO 9001 or ISO 14001. Auditing bodies will monitor the correct completion of the permit or certificate, focusing on sector-specific waste streams and quantities.
Your partners in the chain and parties that completely unburden your waste management also are required to present a correct and complete certification. This way, a good partner may act as a gatekeeper for specific certification such as GMP+FSA, HACCP or VIHB if you are only partially certified or not certified.
Waste legislation continues to be in motion. This leaves room for iterations and innovations that bridge the gap between regulation and reality. Within the NWMP (a new version has been announced) there is an increasing focus on achieving circularity. This is one of the reasons why the successor of NWMP3 will be renamed the Circular Materials Plan (CMP1). In addition to regulations, this new plan provides more scope for reuse and prevention. And for the transition from waste management to management of natural resources and natural capital.
The first step - "in control of waste®" - has been completed after formulating sustainable goals and achieving a first organizational and cost-saving phase. The logical next step is next-level waste management, i.e. a more sustainable handling of waste.
A more sustainable approach means that unavoidable waste streams are valorized as more high-quality. Innovative methods and new knowledge contribute to an increasingly high-quality valorization of industrial waste. The aim is to close the loops, consequently reducing the use of new natural resources to a minimum.
Digital and technical innovations not only contribute to a higher efficiency in processing. These innovations contribute to the operations as well. Useful tools ensure a digitized process in which a push of a button is enough to start a process of transport or processing. Innovative solutions from the IoT (Internet of things) enable perfect tracking and optimization of the waste process in the workplace. Smart algorithms provide companies with data analysis of their waste and residual streams. This not only provides predictive insights into their waste process, but also new insights in the monetizing of waste.
Lansink's ladder illustrates the prioritization of waste treatment methods, indicating how waste prevention is the highest achievable step of the ladder. Critical analysis of the inflow for production processes and the occurrence of avoidable waste is part of the process towards sustainable waste management. The step following reducing waste is the prevention of waste by using long-term profitable or circular natural resources. The transition from waste management to sustainable resource management focuses on the increasingly efficient use and extension of the life of the inflow; the natural resources - rather than the optimum processing and recycling of the outflow.
Extending the life of the production process inflow or using long-term profitable natural resources is an important tool towards a circular business model. In this transition, the goal is to extend the life of natural resources with economy and ecology in balance. Minimum emissions and maximum retention of value. The ultimate result is profitable sustainability.
The SDG guidelines of the United Nations can be a practical tool to follow for achieving the sustainable transition. En route to sustainable resource management, SDG12: 'Responsible consumption and production' is an important signpost. This goal is about responsible management of our natural resources. SDG12 prescribes that waste is substantially reduced through prevention, recycling, and reuse.
Managing natural capital should be business as usual within companies comparable to managing financial or human capital. Appointing a Natural Capital Manager enables companies to be in control themselves of the use of their natural capital. The vision to use and reuse natural resources for as long as possible increases the prospect of profitable sustainability.
The transition to a circular business model requires an adjustment to the control structure. How to record 'lease' or 'pay per use' in the books? Or the fact that used raw materials flow back into the company? And how to report the impact you make with your business? Reporting on general KPIs apart from the financial KPI is on the rise. The popular model for this is the multi-capital scorecards approach(MCS). This divides the company's capital into six parts, including human capital, social capital, and natural capital.
Implementing a sustainable business strategy initially seems like a difficult goal to achieve. Profitability is the moving force behind the chain and should therefore be considered as the basis in the roadmap towards profitable sustainability. Earth and earn together.
Milgro unburdens companies in the route to sustainable natural resources management with technology, methodology and a proven method. Future natural resources managers are provided with all knowledge necessary for 'earth' and 'earn' to merge.