Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Navigating the Rocky Road

Ever thought that you were on the right road only to discover that you should have take the exit a few miles back? Unfortunately using it as a metaphor the road that a business owner, parent, heck human being should choose isn't always clear or marked, and is almost never absolute. Sometimes the joys in life are discovered by taking the "wrong" road or the "long cut" (as we've so loving described my fathers sometimes disastrous shortcuts). As a business owner you often don't have time or the available funds for an exploratory journey; you really just need a quick, short path.
Waste reduction and recycling is unfortunately a path that is unique to each business. There is no exact plan written that will work for every location or material they generate. It is also so important that someone with first hand knowledge can direct and guide decision makers about things they aren't supposed to know in depth. The knowledge required to run each individual business or institution is vast but typically does not include waste management; most times it's just a bleep on the screen of priorities (if it makes it at all). The most important part of choosing someone to come in and evaluate and audit your recycling is to first and foremost know if they are qualified. How long have they been in the industry, do they have other clients within your size and industry range? If they don't have the background or history they may miss "streams" that could be of value or worse are currently costing you unneeded waste fees (and ending up in the landfill). Secondly and also so very important you need to know their motives.
1. What do they get out of it?
For example: Are they a company that does waste and recycling? Do they make more on waste or more on recycling?
2. What are their goals (and do they mesh with yours)?
For example: Do they want to get you to zero waste, the highest possible recycling rate, or are they motivated to only find high value items?
3. What is their "results" track record?
   For example: When you have a child that has done amazing things you like to brag. Same goes for customers/accounts that have had astounding results. I'm not one of those gloating parents but I sure don't have to be prodded too much to at least provide a nice success story or two.

I recommend that you find someone who has motivation and desire to see that every possible item that can be pulled from your waste stream and recycled. A company that not only has a desire to help our planet but your companies impact on our planet (while many times helping your companies own financial well being). Cost savings and recycling often go hand in hand when implemented and handled correctly. Don't be afraid to ask the above questions and ensure that you are receiving the best guidance in your waste management journey.

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