Which industrial compactor is right for you?

There are different compactors for different types of waste and businesses, so which industrial compactor is right for your facility? Whether you’re a new facility manager evaluating your waste stream for the first time, or you’re looking at compactors for a new location or different kinds of waste, here’s what you need to know to choose the right industrial compactor.

Self-Contained Compactors

Self-contained compactors are designed to hold wet waste, which makes them useful for locations disposing of food. Managing a restaurant or a university or office building that provides food service? A self-contained compactor is a good option. These compactors are used by grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, stadiums, universities and other businesses that produce wet waste.  

How Does a Self-Contained Compactor Work?

A self-contained compactor may be attached to a building with an opening that allows wet waste to be loaded from the inside. These compactors may also be placed fully inside, or they can be left outside the building, depending on the needs of the business. Wet waste is loaded into the compactor, then a ram compacts the waste until it is pushed inside the container and crushed to a size that’s about 75% smaller than before.

The compactor is fused to the container that holds the waste to prevent leakage. When the container fills up, the container (with compactor attached) is loaded onto a truck. The truck takes the compactor to a landfill where the waste is dumped. Then the entire unit is returned to the business where it begins the process over again. 

What Are the Advantages of a Self-Contained Compactor? 

Self-contained commercial compactors are designed to be liquid-tight to prevent leaks that could compromise the health and safety of your employees. Additionally, there are fewer odors with self-contained compactors, which is especially important if it’s located indoors. Rodents and insects can’t access your trash while it sits in its container, and many self-contained compactors also come with a self-cleaning flushing feature for convenience. 

Vertical Compactors

A vertical compactor, also known as a front-loaded compactor, can be easily emptied using a front-loading truck. They’re perfect for small spaces and buildings that have limited space for a compactor. Vertical compactors hold materials like plastic, cardboard, paper and even some wet materials. Their tall size makes them a good option for apartment buildings and facilities with a narrow trash enclosure.

How Does a Vertical Compactor Work?

To load a vertical compactor, place appropriate waste into the compactor through the front doors. When the container appears full, use the compactor to press down the garbage to reduce its volume. 

What Are the Advantages of a Vertical Compactor?

Vertical compactors are relatively small. This makes them ideal for retail locations and businesses with limited space. Their small footprint combines the usefulness of decreased garbage volume with the functionality of a larger stationary compactor. 

Stationary Compactors

A stationary compactor is a large trash compactor that compresses dry materials like plastic and cardboard. These compactors are typically used in high-volume waste settings like hospitals, department stores, restaurants and warehouses – however, these compactors are only used to compact the dry materials produced by these businesses. Wet materials should be crushed in self-contained compactors. 

How Does a Stationary Compactor Work?

Stationary compactors are bolted to the ground, making them a permanent addition to a facility. The compactor crushes waste into a receiver box, then the container or trailer is hauled to a landfill to be emptied. 

What Are the Advantages of Stationary Compactors?

A stationary compactor is larger than a vertical compactor, so it can hold more waste. This type of compactor is the best choice for businesses that produce large quantities of waste every day such as warehouses and large retail locations. We’ve installed stationary compactors at many warehouse locations to help them cut down on their waste volume and right-size the number of weekly pickups they require. Stationary compactors can cut down on the cost of managing large waste volumes.

Not sure if you need a standard stationary compactor or a vertical compactor? We can help you evaluate your waste flow to find the right solution.   If you’re still not sure which compactor, or combination of compactors, is best for your business, give us a call to schedule a waste evaluation. We’ll find the right industrial compactor solution, whether you manage one location or one hundred.

How to troubleshoot an industrial compactor

Before you call for service, there are a few simple steps you can take to troubleshoot an industrial compactor. Nothing stops work faster than a compactor that isn’t working. But the team doesn’t need to sit around waiting for a service crew, especially if there’s an easy fix. If your compactor won’t start, run through these steps to get it back on track.

Check the electrical disconnect. This may sound too basic to bother with, but it may have been switched off. Make sure it’s in the On position.

Check the emergency button. It may have been engaged by a team member and no one mentioned it. Make sure it’s not engaged.

Check all the hoses if you have a self-contained compactor or a cart dumper. Make sure there are no disconnections. You may need to reconnect or tighten them.  

Check all the doors. The compactor won’t work if a door isn’t fully closed. You may need to open and close them to make sure they’re fully closed and sealed. Also check the interlock switches to make sure they’re engaged.

Check the Drivers Green Light. Was your vertical compactor recently serviced? Make sure the Drivers Green Light is lit. If it isn’t, that means the container isn’t properly seated. When the container is correctly in place, the light will turn on.

Reset the power. Did you have a power outage since the last time you used the compactor? Turn off the electrical disconnect box for about 20 seconds, then turn it back on. This resets the compactor’s internal computer.

Take a minute to troubleshoot an industrial compactor using these steps, and you should get your compactor back up and running. If you’re still having trouble, give your account manager a call. We’re here to help you solve problems as quickly as possible to keep your business running smoothly.

Top 5 blog posts of 2020

As we leave 2020 behind, let’s take a look at the top blog posts of the year. From planning outdoor weddings to implementing the latest dumpster camera technology, here are the articles people visited most this year.

How many toilets does it take?   

The most-visited blog post in 2020 was our run-down on OSHA Rules for Construction Portable Toilets. It may or may not have been related to an increased need for handwashing stations this year, but we definitely saw more portable toilet and handwashing station rentals in 2020. Back in the spring, there was a waiting list for handwashing stations, which led to some creative trailer conversions. There are plenty in stock now, so give us a call if you need additional portable toilets and handwashing stations in 2021.

Keep an eye on your waste costs. 

Next up was our post: New dumpster camera technology for better waste management. Our commercial waste team implemented Compology camera tech in our dumpsters this year, which led to more efficient service schedules. To learn more about how our camera tech helped customers right-size their waste during COVID-19, check out Dan Studer’s article in FMJ magazine.

Create a memorable outdoor wedding.

For the second year running, our article on planning an outdoor wedding was in the top five. With many people converting their indoor wedding to an outdoor one this year, it’s no surprise our article on portable toilets for outdoor weddings continues to get a lot of page views. We also featured outdoor wedding planning in a recent Ask Angela post.

How do you clean up after a storm or disaster?

This year had no shortage of fires, hurricanes, and events that required massive clean-up efforts. The most-viewed blog post from our resident waste expert was Ask Angela: How to clean up after a storm, fire or disaster. Many people don’t know where or how to dispose of storm or fire debris, and sometimes local rules can be confusing. We helped a lot of people coordinate cleanup efforts nationwide in 2020. This post features Angela’s top advice for anyone facing a reconstruction project.

Don’t get stuck with hidden fees.

Rounding out the top five is Top 10 dumpster hidden rental fees. One of our core missions is to provide fair, transparent pricing to our customers. This is because we know hidden rental fees can eat into a project’s budget and create unwanted surprises when an invoice arrives. In this post, we uncover the most common hidden fees and how to avoid them. When you’re ready to bundle your site services into one package with transparent pricing, give us a call. We’ve been helping people streamline their service rentals for more than ten years.

Top 5 Benefits of Dumpster Camera Technology

There are three major problems our customers tell us keep them up at night: how to cut waste costs, how to hold haulers accountable when service requirements aren’t met, and how to implement new sustainability goals, whether they’re issued from municipalities or their own corporate headquarters. In 2020, we implemented Compology camera technology in all our dumpsters to address these issues. Here are the top five benefits of using dumpster camera technology.

Reduce waste spending

Companies that use dumpster cameras report saving as much as 30% compared to pre-camera service levels. This reduction primarily comes from cutting down on unnecessary pickups and saving on recycling contamination fees. Dumpster camera technology helps us determine the real waste volume a client is producing (rather than just a guesstimation). From there, we can right-size their service level and keep them from overspending on pickups.

Compology dumpster camera technology is also able to detect more than six common types of contamination with 98% accuracy. Customers can more easily identify and remediate recycling contamination before they’re charged hefty fees.

Reduce pickups

It’s no surprise to anyone reading this, but 2020 brought huge shifts to commercial waste service levels. Businesses may have been closed during the shutdown, but their waste contracts were still in effect. During unexpected business disruptions—whether it’s a global pandemic or a natural disaster—dumpster camera technology can remove some of the guesswork from waste volume estimates.

One of our customers saw their waste output drop by nearly half during the height of the pandemic. Yet they were still paying for near-empty pickups. Camera technology enabled us to get a closer look at their actual waste volume and adjust their service schedule. Not only do customers save money, but fewer pickups means less time on the road for trucks. This leads to a smaller carbon footprint.

Support Zero Waste

Companies and municipalities around the globe are committing to Zero Waste goals. Microsoft, for example, set the ambitious goal of diverting 90% of their waste away from landfills and incineration and producing 100% recyclable devices and packaging by 2030. They’ve also committed to building infrastructure to recycle everything from electronics to food waste.

What does that mean for property owners and managers? More waste awareness. Dumpster cameras help cut down on unnecessary pickups and truck travel, but it goes beyond that carbon footprint. With camera tech, you can analyze the types of waste produced and identify new recycling opportunities. You can also prevent recycling contamination in existing waste streams.

Reduce contamination

Compology dumpster cameras are up to 98% accurate at identifying the six most common contamination categories. And their proprietary artificial intelligence system is constantly learning to help improve contamination identification.

In the past, you had to manually check the recycling bin and hope everyone was following the recycling rules. Needless to say, contamination is a major problem at most facilities. Dumpster camera technology removes the guesswork, so your recycling ends up recycled and not diverted to a landfill because of contamination. Not to mention saving the associated fees.  

Verify your waste service

On the subject of manual verification, how do you know whether a garbage pickup happened when no one is on site? For many of our customers, the shutdown meant no one was on site for days or weeks at a time. Trash was piling up for some of these businesses either because scheduled pickups weren’t being made or because there was a huge increase in waste production (for example, take-out restaurants and apartment buildings).

When no one is available to confirm scheduled service, dumpster camera technology can track when (or if) a pickup occurs. This information can hold haulers accountable. The data can also support billing or service disputes. Over time, Compology’s AI system can learn the facility’s service schedule and dumpster volume so it can alert managers to potential overflow situations.

Since implementing dumpster camera technology, we’ve seen promising results with right-sizing our customers’ service levels. To learn more, or to find out how to get ZTERS dumpsters at your facilities, give us a call

How do you dispose of hazardous waste?

Hazardous waste can take many forms, depending on the industry and the facility producing the waste. It is most often produced in medical facilities, at industrial sites, in commercial buildings, and even in residences across the United States. So, how do you dispose of hazardous waste? What do property owners and managers need to know about potentially hazardous materials?

Hazardous materials are defined as anything damaging to the environment, including soil, air, and water, or waste that puts human populations at risk. Typical examples include:

  • Poisons
  • Carcinogens
  • Radioactive materials
  • Medical waste
  • Some electronic devices
  • Paint, batteries, and certain types of light bulbs

Management of hazardous waste in the U.S. is regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). This law establishes a “cradle-to-grave” framework that controls hazardous waste from its creation to its eventual disposal. It is illegal to dispose of hazardous waste in ways that are not sanctioned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Fortunately, businesses and homeowners have help when it comes to disposing of potentially hazardous waste. When in doubt, don’t throw any potentially hazardous materials in your regular trash or dumpsters! Instead, contact your municipal waste disposal agency or a waste specialist for guidance.

Before you call, here are some basic things you need to know about proper disposal of hazardous waste.

Contact a qualified waste agency

Disposal of hazardous waste is regulated by the EPA, but disposal practices and policies vary by state, community, and sanitation company. Homeowners or commercial property owners who want to dispose of hazardous waste need to understand what qualifies as hazardous waste, then contact their sanitation company or a waste specialist for assistance. 

There are specific chain of custody and paperwork requirements for certain types of waste, so it makes sense to contact your municipality to find out if there are any local regulations to follow. You can also go directly to a waste services company. They handle potentially hazardous waste every day, so they will often already know the regulations in your area.

What can be thrown away normally

A waste services company can provide guidelines to help you understand what can be thrown away by ordinary means and what is considered hazardous. Dumpsters, for example, are only allowed to hold certain types of waste. Using the wrong type of dumpster or putting hazardous materials into a dumpster intended for regular waste can cause health hazards as well as put your business in a position of liability.

As a property owner, here’s how you can make sure you aren’t disposing of hazardous waste improperly:

  • Train staff to throw away only items that are allowed to go in the dumpsters.
  • Post signs around dumpsters to inform people what can and can’t go in dumpsters.
  • Provide regular reminders to staff to ensure they are only throwing away allowable items.

If you aren’t sure whether your waste is considered hazardous or not, ask a waste disposal company or your local sanitation department. If it could damage the soil, air, water, or human health…then it is probably hazardous.

Schedule a pickup request

Most waste companies will pick up hazardous waste, but you will need to call and schedule a pickup request. There will likely be forms to fill out. Ask if the waste company will manage the hazardous waste paperwork or if you’ll be responsible for any filings.

The RCRA regulates the method of transportation of hazardous waste. This means many types of hazardous waste cannot be transported by the consumer that produced the waste. Scheduling a waste pickup service with a qualified waste company will help ensure the waste is properly contained, transported, and disposed. 

Explore Recycling Options

Some types of hazardous waste, like batteries and paint, can be recycled instead of thrown away. Whenever possible, consider recycling. Your waste company should have a list of materials that can be recycled. Ask about recycling options when you book your dumpster.

When you dispose of hazardous waste, it pays to work with a waste service provider that will help you navigate the process. ZTERS has more than a decade of experience with all types of waste disposal nationwide. We can help you find the right dumpster for your waste, whether hazardous or not. We even have a commercial waste division that can help you plan your commercial waste disposal.

Give us a call to find out how we can make your hazardous waste disposal easier.

New dumpster camera technology for better waste management

What if smart technology could help you know when your dumpster is full? Better yet, what if that technology could help you optimize your pickup schedule so you’re not paying to empty air from your dumpsters? Think about how many times you’ve been charged for a half-empty pickup—or perhaps worse, you’ve had an overflow of garbage mid-week because your facility produced more garbage than you expected. Adding dumpster camera technology helps you find exactly the right service schedule for your facilities.

Testing new dumpster tech

A few months ago, we started testing camera systems on our commercial waste dumpsters. We monitored how accurately they measure waste volume (they’re pretty accurate!), and we tested whether they actually helped our customers adjust their pickup schedule to be more efficient.

Here’s what we found. After installing Compology camera systems in our dumpsters at several locations, we were able to monitor how much waste was generated in a week and we helped our customers fine-tune their service schedule based on output.

Right sizing with dumpster cameras

The real test was how the system would work during the massive changes brought on by the COVID-19 shutdowns. As we expected, the locations with dumpster camera technology were able to quickly and easily adjust their service schedules in a matter of days, not months.

No one had to physically go out and check dumpsters multiple times a day. No one had to drive out to closed locations to check on waste volume. The cameras not only gave us a view into the dumpster for monitoring and security purposes, they also calculated an estimated waste output without anyone having to guestimate the math to figure out how much waste was being produced. It removed the guesswork from deciding how much to increase or decrease trash pickups.

Having the right number of pickups means no wasted effort, and no burden of unnecessary pickup costs.

Time and cost savings

And we discovered other benefits. We were able to conduct service verification, so we knew whether the dumpsters had been emptied without having to physically visit the location. We could also monitor recycling bins and notify our customers if there were bags of regular trash or other contaminants thrown in with the recycling.

You probably know contamination is a major cause of waste fees when they end up in your recycling bin. In some cases, a hauler won’t even pick up your recycling if they see a lot of regular trash bags or other waste in your bin. Rather than getting charged contamination fees or missing pickups entirely, we were able to monitor the situation and help owners and managers fix the problem before they got charged.

One final bonus we noticed is we helped reduce truck traffic rolling through our customers’ parking lot. By right sizing their waste pickups we prevented unnecessary truck trips. That means fewer alley way blockages and traffic jams around the facility as massive trucks maneuver around the building.

After putting camera technology to the test, we’re proud to offer this service to our customers.

Having cameras on your dumpsters helps you right size your waste pickup schedule, it helps you calculate your actual waste output, and it saves you from unnecessary contamination fees and truck traffic.  

Give us a call to find out how we’re adding Compology dumpster camera technology to our customers’ service plans. Find out how we can help you save with a smart camera system.

How to right-size commercial waste due to COVID-19

How are you managing commercial waste during the shutdown? Whether your state has declared a full shutdown or not, commercial facilities from strip malls to multifamily housing units have contacted us to help them right-size commercial waste due to COVID-19. We’ve heard from companies at all points on the spectrum, and here are the top ways we’ve been helping people adjust.

Commercial waste reductions

From empty office buildings to shuttered shopping malls, we’ve heard from our brick-and-mortar facility managers and property owners that waste has understandably dropped significantly. Retailers and restaurants may still be offering online sales and pick-up service, but for the most part waste output has been noticeably reduced.

We’ve been having video and voice calls with commercial property owners figure out how much their waste has been reduced and to find the right pickup schedule to meet their needs for the foreseeable future.

This means fewer pickups and, in some cases, even a pause in service. For property owners who may not have people on the ground watching their dumpsters right now, we recently started using Compology camera systems in several of our dumpsters. The technology allows owners to gauge waste levels and also keep an eye on unattended dumpsters to watch for unauthorized dumping.

Whether you have an existing contract or not, we can help you evaluate your current waste output and come up with a COVID-19 waste plan that works for you.

Increasing waste volumes

On the opposite end of the spectrum, where has everyone gone? Home. And what are they doing? Many are ordering products online. This leaves our multifamily property owners and online retailers with increased waste production. Overflowing dumpsters at apartment buildings are not uncommon right now.

In one commercial warehouse case, we have Wayfair locations reporting a sizeable increase in waste generated since the shutdown! We’re helping these customers find solutions such as increasing the number of pickups, adding technology like cameras to monitor volume and, in some cases, adding additional dumpsters.

Recycling centers are down in some areas, and you may have noticed recycling pickup is suspended in some municipalities. In these areas, we’re working with property owners and facility managers to find solutions that work in the short-term.

We’re also helping them plan for the long-term by developing continuity plans they can implement when the shutdowns end.

Whichever end of the spectrum you find yourself, we’re here to help you right-size your commercial waste during COVID-19. We may not be able to meet in person, but we can schedule video calls and help you evaluate your current waste needs.

Our team has been working remotely to make sure existing and new customers find the right waste solutions for their facilities right now. We can help you right-size commercial waste due to COVID-19, and also help with a plan of action when shutdowns end.

Give us a call today to talk about right-sizing your waste. We can help you with locations nationwide, no matter how many facilities you own or manage.

5 Ways to Save on Commercial Waste

Property owners and facility managers often have to streamline to save on commercial waste, How often do you analyze how much money you throw away with the garbage? Commercial waste is costly. From wasted paper and packaging, to disposing of appliances and pieces of furniture, your company may spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on commercial waste services. Here are five ways you can analyze your output and save on commercial waste.

1. Create a “Green Team” 

Create a committee or a team of people within your facility to evaluate and reduce overall waste. For example, 70% of office waste is paper products. If you manage an office building, ask your Green Team to find ways to reduce paper waste in the office. There are many ways this can be done. Start with these ideas:

  • Set the printer defaults to print double-sided pages.
  • Send electronic copies of presentations before meetings (and skip the paper versions).
  • Encourage staff to re-use manila envelopes and file folders.
  • Update your mailing lists regularly to prevent direct mail and mailers from being returned undeliverable.
  • Create a culture of sustainability through trainings, office reminders, and recycling bins. 

2. Save on commercial waste by shopping providers

If your facility is located in a large urban area, you may have several choices of commercial waste providers. If that’s the case, then you’re in a good position to negotiate a more competitive contract for your commercial waste service. Whether or not you’re in a competitive area, a commercial waste broker may be able to find you a more affordable solution.

You can also do some research by asking other owners and property managers about their waste services. What do other facilities pay for their commercial waste management, and what’s included in their rates? It pays to contact a nationwide waste service company like ZTERS, because we help companies find custom waste solutions across hundreds of properties every day. We understand prevailing rates and services nationwide, and we can help you find the right products and service schedule for all your facilities.

3. Analyze dumpster usage, downsize if necessary 

Chances are, your company doesn’t fill its dumpster to the top before the dumpster is picked up. Ask your Green Team to measure your weekly dumpster usage and keep records about how full (or not full) your dumpster is before each pickup. 

If space in your dumpster is often wasted, downgrade your dumpster size or request fewer pickups. Analyze the number of dumpsters your company uses, as well as the size of the dumpsters. If you’re paying for two small dumpsters, you might save money by consolidating to one larger dumpster. 

Review prices with your waste services company and decide what size and type of dumpster is right for your business. Then decide how many times your dumpsters need to be serviced per month. Sometimes reducing the frequency of dumpster service will reduce costs without causing a waste buildup problem.  

4. Share the cost with neighboring businesses

Smaller facilities often don’t produce enough waste to make dumpster service cost effective. These companies often pay for more dumpster service than they need because waste companies have high minimum service levels.

What if you could share your dumpster with a neighbor and split the cost? If your facility is near other small property owners or small businesses, find out if another property owner or manager would like to share a dumpster. When making these arrangements, be sure to read the waste service contract carefully and discuss each aspect of the contract with the neighboring owner. Communication is key when entering into an agreement with another party. 

5. Recycle

In some areas, even with the ebb and flow of the recycling industry, recycling costs can be lower than waste disposal. Create a culture of sustainability in your facility and encourage occupants to recycle whenever possible. Talk to your waste service provider about your recycling options and come up with a plan that reduces the cost of waste pickup. Some materials can be sold for scrap or otherwise traded or sold to reduce your overall commercial waste costs.  

Commercial waste disposal doesn’t have to break the bank. To find out more about how you can save on commercial waste costs, call our commercial waste division. We’re glad to analyze your waste stream and find a solution that’s right for your budget.

9 Fun Facts About Commercial Waste

Commercial waste isn’t all about breaking down cardboard and recycling paper. If you’re a property owner or facility manager running a corporate campus, retail center, chain of restaurants or any other type of commercial property, share these facts next time someone asks you about your industry.

1. About 70% of the total waste generated by office buildings consists of mixed paper products. This includes everything from junk mail to packaging, presentations, handouts, billing, printed records, drafts of documents and more. (This is why paper recycling can make such a difference!)

2. About 30% of all printed material in offices are never picked up from the printer. That’s right, all that paper sits in the tray until someone throws it away or it’s recycled. (How many times have you found mystery print jobs stacked near a printer?)

3. Typical office workers use about 500 coffee cups each year. Most of these are sent to landfills. A single office building may throw away hundreds of thousands of coffee cups every single year. Encourage employees to reduce waste by giving away or providing non-disposable coffee mugs. Coffee mugs make excellent holiday and birthday gifts, and an annual investment in non-disposable mugs can even save money compared to buying thousands of paper cups. 

4. About 70% of commercial waste can be recycled. If your facility isn’t recycling, then you’re likely spending more money than you should on garbage disposal. Contact your commercial waste vendor to find out how your facility can start recycling. 

5. 90% of American businesses recycle. Luckily, most property owners and managers got the memo on this one. Recycling helps you control waste disposal costs, and it’s good for the environment. If you want to claim your facility is “green,” one of the first steps is maintaining a recycling program.  

6. The U.S. population discards enough aluminum to rebuild the U.S. commercial air fleet about four times. Aluminum cans are one of the easiest materials to recycle. Bonus fact: recycling just two aluminum cans saves enough energy to run a computer for a whole workday. 

7. Most laptops are never recycled. However, if businesses in the United States would recycle just one million of their old laptops, that would save enough energy to power 3,600 homes in the United States. Laptop recycling is offered by many recycling programs. Talk to your commercial waste vendor to find out more about recycling laptops and other electronics. 

8. Each year, Americans throw away enough office paper to build a wall about 12 feet high, extending from Los Angeles to New York. You can avoid throwing out office paper by placing recycling bins around the office and reminding staff to recycle their paper. (Make sure there’s at least one by the printer!)

9. Better information leads to more recycling. Most people aren’t aware of all the commercial waste that could be recycled instead of thrown in the trash. Items like light bulbs, printer cartridges, old devices, batteries, cardboard, aluminum cans, magazines, and even old fabric banners and clothing can be recycled! If people in your facility don’t know what can be recycled, they may be throwing away hundreds of pounds of recyclable waste every year. Your commercial waste vendor can help you figure out how to expand your recycling efforts and save money while you save the earth.

Want to upgrade your commercial waste service? Give us a call to find out how we can help you streamline your recycling and waste. Our commercial waste division helps hundreds of property owners and facility managers handle their waste and recycling every day.

commercial waste

How to Conduct a Commercial Waste Audit

Property owners and facility managers know all about waste. From new waste reduction legislation to changes in the recycling industry, it’s important to measure a building’s waste output on a regular basis. Conduct a commercial waste audit to “right-size” a building’s waste service and make service contracts more efficient and effective.

These waste audit tips are taken from “Right-sizing Commercial Waste Solutions” by Dan Studer. Dan is the division manager for the ZTERS commercial waste division.

Why is a commercial waste audit important?

The Frontier Group, a policy research organization, estimates people throw away seven pounds of materials—per person—each day in the United States. Now multiply that by the number of residents or occupants in a building. That adds up to a huge amount of garbage.

Add to that the rising cost of recycling and new waste-related legislation. Property owners and facility managers have to keep close tabs on waste. Otherwise they’re paying overage fees, or worse, penalties for not disposing of waste properly.

How to conduct a commercial waste audit?

A waste audit, or waste assessment, establishes a baseline for future waste reduction efforts. Here’s a three-step method for conducting a basic waste audit:

  1. Examine waste records. Review waste hauling and disposal invoices, recycling contracts, supply invoices, and operating and maintenance logs. Identify costs associated with each phase of collecting and removing waste.
  2. Walk through the facility. Observe where waste is generated and where it ends up. Talk with members of each department to find out what type of waste is produced and where it ends up.
  3. Conduct a waste sort. Physically collect and weigh a day’s worth of waste. Decide how to quantify the waste. For example, is it paper, plastic, metal, or organic material? Determine which materials can be exchanged, sold, reused, or recycled.

Bottom-line benefits of a waste audit

Waste audits aren’t just useful for gauging and managing a building’s waste stream. It also helps property owners and facility managers determine how to improve recycling and reuse efforts. It identifies areas of overall system improvement. And it can provide data to help renegotiate waste contracts or evaluate new waste solutions.

ZTERS Commercial Waste Division helps commercial property owners and facility managers evaluate their waste streams and find the right solution to meet any budget. We work with properties nationwide to provide custom waste solutions, one point of contact (no matter how many facilities you own or manage) and streamlined invoicing with one account manager.

Streamline your waste service with ZTERS. We’re your one-stop partner in commercial waste services. Give us a call to find out more.