Sustainability 101

Case study: Manufacturer Profits From Increased Waste Diversion

The manufacturing industry is one that can greatly profit from increased waste diversion and improved sustainability, partly because of the sheer volume of material they generate. There are many opportunities to reduce waste and lower costs in ways that are simple but effective. Here is one case study that shows how it can be done in a busy industrial setting with great results.

Client: Industrial (Manufacture/Resale), located in the Midwest.

Problem: This industrial client knew they were landfilling much more than they should, but like most busy business owners, they did not have the time to address the issue. As a result, their roll-off dumpster was being filled rapidly and they could not take advantage of the area’s much lower recycling rates.

Solution: Great Forest did an assessment and found that three quarters of what they were sending to the landfill could be recycled. Much of their dumpster was filled not with trash but recyclables.

Understanding that the plant did not have the capacity to do much on-site sorting of recyclables, Great Forest designed a simple recycling program that would work – a single-stream recycling system.

We then conducted several educational sessions to train employees on how to identify recyclables – metal, glass, plastic – which would then be placed in the new single-stream recycling container, while the rest of the waste stream would go into the trash dumpster destined for the landfill.

In addition, Great Forest also renegotiated their hauling fees to a lower rate, about 30% less.

Results: In less than a month after the new single-stream recycling program was implemented, we had already helped the client divert 15 tons from the landfill.

With recyclables now collected separately, the volume of trash going to the landfill has decreased by a 3 to 1 ratio. Together with the new, lower rates for hauling that Great Forest negotiated, the client’s waste hauling fees have fallen substantially and their savings will multiply through the year. The new system is saving them around 30-40% on their annual cost.

And we continue to find more ways to improve the program. Great Forest is currently doing volume and resale value assessment to increase current commodities recycling. This will lead to continued revenue and diversion growth.

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