What Is a Waste Management Audit, And Why It’s Essential
In the business world, waste is a big deal. Every scrap of waste generated requires effort, time, and money to successfully remove. So, how much is your waste really costing you? Hint: if you haven’t had a waste management audit recently, it’s probably more than you think. While poor waste management isn’t always front-of-mind in boardroom meetings, it does present a tangible threat to your business.
Here’s how you can reduce your waste footprint, eliminate excessive waste-related costs, and bring world-class waste management practices into your business.
The Business World’s Waste Problem
While the United States contains a mere 4 percent of the global population, it’s responsible for nearly 14 percent of the globe’s total waste generation. On the surface, this waste
- Wreaks havoc on the environment
- Destroys ocean environments
- Contributes to CO2 production
- Generates massive landfills
But, behind the scenes, waste is even more harmful. Environmental issues cause 12.6 million deaths per year, create new disease vectors, and minimize the number of available resources for generations to come.
According to McKinsey, the current trajectory of plastic demand will result in global plastics waste volumes of 460 million by 2030 — nearly double our current disposal numbers. But this isn’t too surprising. The average office worker generates nearly two pounds of paper each day — nearly half of which is thrown away within one day.
As a business, your daily workflows and routines generate significant waste. While many companies immediately think of mid-horizon, large-scale environmental changes as the cure to these issues, you can take immediate action to reduce your waste, minimize waste-related costs, and generate meaningful value. All it takes is a little management.
Understanding Waste Management
“There isn’t a trade-off between economic prosperity, social justice, and environmental sustainability… They all work together, and individual actions, even small ones, can have a meaningful impact.” — Kathleen McLaughlin, Chief Sustainability Officer at Walmart
Every piece of waste your company produces costs you money. These costs come in a variety of forms. Waste containers cost money to fill, empty, and store in each physical location. Workers spend time, energy, and productivity producing and eliminating waste in the workplace. Also, waste generation has a tangible impact on your reputation, trustworthiness, and brand authenticity. In fact, the latest Nielsen data suggests 81 percent of global customers feel strongly about environmental issues, preferring to seek out companies that share these values.
But waste management is often back-of-mind for companies in today’s hyper-digital, competition-centric ecosystem. Many businesses spend countless hours minimizing utility costs, maximizing energy utilization, and exploring new opportunities in lean operations. However, they fail to adequately challenge their waste disposal habits. After all, the cost of waste disposal is minimal in the context of other utilities and business strategies, right? But the truth is shocking: companies often overspend on waste management by 50 percent or more. And that overspending is just the tip of the iceberg.
What Is a Waste Management Audit?
Have you ever considered how much money your waste is costing you? Every container costs money to install, load, and haul away. Furthermore, companies with multiple locations often require multiple waste hauling services. Each of these services carries different fees, pay structures, and hidden costs. Waste management audits help you understand the overall scale of your waste, how to minimize waste-related costs, and the lifecycle of your waste.
Often, waste management audits get confused with waste analysis services. The goal of a waste management audit isn’t to identify the type of waste produced. It’s to help you manage waste-related costs while understanding your total waste lifecycle. Waste management audits can:
- Provide insights into better recycling methods
- Reduce environmental concerns associated with waste
- Increase employee productivity by reducing unnecessary waste streams
- Help you save money on waste services by consolidating your entire waste ecosystem
In other words, waste management audits are both practical and meaningful. In fact, it’s incredibly easy to justify a waste management audit. They save you money in the near term. Plus, you save on long-term costs while providing additional sustainability to your brand’s DNA. So, this isn’t a big, bold environmental step dripping with risk. It’s immediately valuable, instantly applicable, and ROI-rich.
The Value of Waste Management Audits
At UtilAuditors, we’re big on “Day One” value. Over the years, we’ve helped thousands of businesses save immediate money on electricity, gas, telecommunications, water, lighting, and more. Waste management is no different. Waste management audits save you revenue on day one, and they continue to drive value into your business over time. Let’s quickly cover a few (of the many) benefits of waste management audits. But it’s important to understand the biggest: waste audits save you immediate money.
As a business, it’s hard to stay on top of every cost. So, smaller costs like waste hauling often get pushed to the side. But they add up over time. You may have originally chosen the most cost-effective hauler in the area. But that was a few years ago. Is that hauler still cost-effective?
Better yet, is your entire waste management setup cost-effective? Are you using the correct number of containers? Does your waste flow encounter cost-creating hiccups? As you start to add more locations to your footprint, these costs start to compound. Suddenly, that $100 waste hauling change has turned into $15,000 across hundreds of unique charges.
Waste management audits tap into your waste ecosystem, discover discrepancies, and generate action plans to reduce costs across all locations.
Do you understand the current state of your waste? Or is your waste creation and disposal on auto-pilot? Like any other process, waste management needs the occasional manual touch. Otherwise, you end up with hyper-complicated waste flows that are unstructured and chaotic. Waste management audits provide insights into your waste ecosystem — giving you the strategies you need to empower your business with smarter waste management practices.
Like many businesses, your stakeholders likely crave sustainability. But do you understand how sustainable your waste flow is? Are trucks wasting extra gas to make unnecessary trips for disposal? Are you recycling effectively? These are all questions a waste management audit can answer. Once you understand the full scope of your waste, you’re empowered to make a meaningful change.
By far, the biggest benefit of a waste management audit is knowledge. Do you have waste vendor contracts that are about to expire? Are you practicing cost-effective waste management? Could you use better container organization? Does your finance department have a simplified waste management workflow? The goal of your audit may be to reduce costs, but the knowledge it brings to the table enables you to execute waste strategies that far exceed basic cost-cutting tactics.
Are You Ready to Tidy Up Your Waste?
Waste management audits help you save money, time, productivity, and resources. Are you ready to take the next step? At UtilAuditors, we provide industry-leading waste management audits to businesses looking to take out the trash. Contact us to learn more.