Successful Recycling: Achieving Sustainability Goals
By Wayne D. DeFeo February 2012 - Material Handling
To ensure a recycling program maximizes its cost-effectiveness, maintenance managers must make certain their staffs perform recycling activities in the safest, most cost-effective manner possible. Achieving those goals means minimizing the work required to meet the organization's recycling target and maximizing the return on investment with the sale of these commodities.
The best way for managers to create, implement and oversee successful recycling programs is to focus on four primary issues.
Managers first need to target their resources and attention on those materials that will provide the greatest return, such as:
Construction waste. These materials are high weight and more easily recycled than ever. They are a good source of avoided disposal costs because recycling is generally less costly than disposal. They are probably easiest to recycle at a special materials-recovery facility.
Scrap metal. If an institutional or commercial facility generates a large amount of scrap metal, managers could simply be throwing money away by not recycling these materials.
Paper. All institutional and commercial facilities generate paper waste, which is very easy to recycle. These materials generally offer a positive cash value, depending on the volume.
Cans and bottles. The ability to recycle most plastic containers has expanded to include plastic numbers 1-7. They have little value as a mix with glass and aluminum, but they do contribute to cost avoidance.
Printer cartridges. These are just a waste to throw away. Indeed, many have monetary value.
Electronic waste. These products are now mandated as a recyclable in many jurisdictions.
Fluorescent lights. Facilities must recycle them under federal guidelines.
Batteries. Facilities must always recycle rechargeable batteries and lead acid batteries. Some vendors will pay for these items.
Plastic film. The market for plastic film is expanding. Facilities that generate large volumes, such as packaging houses and supermarkets, might be able to market this material.