| Sustainability

Short term wins on price can cost you in the long run

Despite delays, we are starting to see legislation coming through as part of the UK Government’s Waste and Resource Strategy. From 1st April 2022 manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled plastic content are being charged at a rate of £200 per metric tonne. Although this won’t directly impact every business, there could be a knock-on effect of prices to support those impacted and paying more. Outside of plastic, there continues to be pressures on the supply and availability of other materials, meaning costs are still at an all-time high.

Some businesses may be helping to hold prices and absorb certain costs today, but as your business grows and volumes of waste increase, you will end up spending more. To truly realise savings, you need to tackle your costs and identify where they come from.

Reconomy are committed to turning off the waste tap and helping manage wasted resources out of businesses. Preventing materials from being wasted should be the primary goal as this will deliver the best financial and environmental rewards. In the instance when wasted resources cant be prevented, then it is imperative we apply a circular approach and maximise opportunities to re-use or recycle these materials rather than go a non-renewable disposal route.

The minimum standard is to have a robust segregation set up on site to capture and return valuable waste materials that can be returned to the resource cycle. For example, if you have surplus offcut materials, store them ready for another job rather than throwing it away in a skip – because it will avoid disposal costs of the waste and save you money purchasing new materials.

The cost of waste breaks down into areas beyond the price of a skip or container collection:

  1. Segregate at source – putting the wrong materials in your containers that then incur charges – segregate properly to avoid hidden costs – putting excessive general waste in your light mixed skip will cost you more this way than introducing a general waste wheelie bin
  2. Utilise it effectively – the collection cost including the frequency, which is based on how much you are producing – so reduce what you are throwing will instantly reduce collection charges along with effectively loading containers to minimise void space and stop you paying to remove fresh air.
  3. Don’t mix it, sort It – using skips dedicated to certain materials that cost less (or more) to dispose of – don’t just chuck waste into a mixed skip if there is a dedicated bin because it is likely you are paying more to collect mixed bins because of the sorting and processing involved, versus a single waste stream already sorted.

Remaining too focussed on the cost of recycling to reduce costs in a world where prices are only ever going up is not a sustainable approach. Developing a more sustainable and resource efficient businesses model will realise long term financial benefits and help position your business more favourably with current and future customers. Smart businesses recognise that sustainability is not a cost to be born but a commercial opportunity to be realised.

Ultimately, whilst unit price will always play its part in the procurement process, maximising segregation at source along with effectively utilising containers correctly with the right materials in the right way will deliver true cost efficiencies to any business. Reconomy apply a true partnership approach with its clients to help them manage out wasted resources to achieve sustainability goals such as zero waste.