Guidelines To A “Good” Waste and Recycling Management Firm: Part 4 – Thorough Analysis and Discovery

A “good” waste & recycling management firm will inherently include a thorough analysis and discovery process. One of the first things a “good” management firm will do is gather 6-12 months of historical waste & recycling data from your haulers. Why? They not only need to understand the types of services, containers, service frequencies, tonnages, etc., that your locations have, but they also need to understand how your location’s service needs change during the course of a year. Having a picture of today or the past few months, does not tell the entire story. If you can’t see the entire picture then there obviously ends up being a lot of guess-work. A “good” management firm will want to remove the guess-work.

Acquiring the waste & recycling data for each location will tell a good portion of the story, but a “good” management firm goes the extra mile. They will want to discover as much information as possible so that they are truly able to provide an “evidence-based” plan to maximize cost reductions, recycling opportunities, and environmental sustainability. They will work “with” their client to determine the best metrics to use in measuring waste & recycling performance for each location. They will use each location’s size/square footage/number of employees, etc., but they will also work with their client to determine other “key” metrics. For example, a key metric for a hotel chain may be “occupancy”, or for a restaurant chain it may be “sales generated”. You get the idea. The management firm will utilize this information to develop a “matrix” comparing waste & recycling service to the chosen criteria. This “matrix” will help identify “red flags” and provide evidence to determine the best course of action. For example, a “red flag” will identify when 2 locations with the same metrics have a significant variance in the amount of waste & recycling service they have. The management firm will then need to investigate to determine if 1 of those locations is being over-serviced (paying for unneeded service).

You would be surprised by how many “so-called” management firms do not develop an “evidence-based” approach. Their approach can range from guess-work, to a trial and error approach. This can be costly in that these approaches can take a lot of time to see the proposed benefit, while never actually justifying the services levels compared to your other locations. Not to mention the billing nightmare that multiple changes can cause. Also, repeated changes in service types, service levels, etc., can be burdensome to the location managers in the amount of time they have to spend working on waste & recycling. Guess-work is never the most time or financially effective approach. You can tell a lot about whether or not a management firm is “good”, by how thorough their analysis and discovery process is. It would be in your best interest to find out their approach upfront.