How To Control Waste Cost Inflation

Inflation has hit the waste industry hard, just as it has touched almost every aspect of our lives. A big driver is the cost of diesel, which is currently around $5.719.

Since most waste hauling vehicles are diesel powered, waste management companies are passing on the increased costs to their customers through rate increases and fuel surcharges. Add to this labor cost inflation, driven by labor shortages due to COVID, and you see why waste hauling costs for businesses are going up.

This spike, however, is part of an overall trend. Over the past four decades, the average inflation rate for trash collection has been 4.41% per year, compared to the overall inflation rate of 2.74% during this same period. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for trash collection are 438.67% higher in 2022 than in 1983.

As we see no end in sight to rising prices in the short term, here is what you can do to control costs.

Work With Your Hauler

Having a strong working relationship with your waste hauler is key, especially in times of uncertainty. A trusted hauler will negotiate and work with you, and provide accurate waste metrics that affect your waste costs.

Great Forest’s waste brokerage division, for example, has been able to partially shield clients from rising costs during the pandemic by utilizing our nationwide portfolio of trusted waste haulers to leverage better pricing and right-sizing equipment and service.

So start talking to your hauler to see how you can work together to lower costs.

Get Accurate Data

Many businesses and organizations simply accept the metrics they receive from their hauler without question, and without verification. Inaccurate metrics might mean higher waste costs. In our experience, you will get accurate metrics only by monitoring your figures and working with haulers. Again, a trusted working relationship with the hauler is important.

Conducting a waste audit will provide you detailed data that you can use to verify the metrics that haulers use to calculate your waste costs and rebates. Waste audit data can also help you discover problems in your waste program that you can adjust to reduce waste generation and increase waste diversion, thereby lowering waste hauling costs.

Read more about how we solved a case of suspicious metrics, and how we worked with a trusted hauler to find a solution.

Think Long Term

Since waste cost inflation has been high over the past four decades, and is expected to continue to rise, the best long-term solution to controlling costs is to reduce waste generation in the first place. As a result, many of the world’s biggest businesses are adopting Zero Waste strategies as a long-term solution to controlling costs.

Every Zero Waste strategy should include organics if possible, especially if your business has a cafeteria or is related to food. Organic material is heavy and expensive to transport. Reducing the weight of your waste load can reduce your waste costs.

Great Forest’s team of TRUE Zero Waste Certified consultants work with clients to both develop and implement Zero Waste strategies by understanding a client’s waste profile, implementing waste diversion programs, educating staff and tracking data. Through this process, your business can save money and improve your sustainability metrics too.

Sign up for "3 to Zero (Waste)." Get 3 tips each month + insights.