Turning Trash to Cash - How to Make the Most of Recycling Initiatives

by Alexander Bonde

Businesses and municipalities are on the lookout for innovative ways to set up profitable recycling programs. A collective push towards a circular economy and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals begs the question of how to implement recycling initiatives that can deliver environmental sustainability as well as financial value.

An increase in urbanization has meant an extensive amount of people are migrating to metropolitan areas. In fact, by 2050, 68% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities. With highly populated regions comes vast amounts of waste. Due to this, recycling is becoming top of the agenda for the waste management industry.

While some may question the profitability of the recycling industry, modern urban recycling can be good business as well as good for the environment. When executed well, a recycling program can be a source of financial gain for your city or organisation.

How to implement a profitable recycling initiative:

Understand the value of recyclable materials

There is big money to be made by altering the way you think about trash. Recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard, glass etc. may seem like junk to some but they can, in fact, become valuable in large volumes. For instance, office paper can be worth up to $150/per ton and corrugated cardboard can be $117/per ton.

Some organisations who can recycle large amounts of paper, plastic and glass can also begin to sell directly to recycling mills for profit. Alternatively, a broker can be used which can be more convenient when dealing with larger amounts of recycling waste. Brokers can work with multiple different mills and are able to identify the highest price for the recyclable material.

Embrace the technological revolution!

Every area of the waste management and recycling industry is looking toward the latest technology for solutions to improve the efficiency of overall operations. Recycling strategies are no different and IoT technology has transformed the way that they are being planned and implemented. The most successful initiatives are those that embrace state of the art technology.

Smart bin sensors mean that recycling volumes can be measured and tracked according to an initiative's specific KPIs and goals. Optimization software solutions also mean that processes can be digitized and automized. 

Incorporating these technologies can impact the success and efficiency of your recycling program. They give organisations and planners real-time data surrounding their recycling containers, allowing them to be more responsive. 

Reduce waste collection fees

Reducing operational and business risk is instrumental when trying to execute a successful recycling initiative. Smart waste technologies can be beneficial in cost reductions and efficiencies, in turn supporting top-line growth. By using smart bin sensors and switching to needs-based emptyings, collections are reduced which results in considerable savings.

Monitoring fill levels means that the waste collection schedule can be updated, ensuring that the most efficient routes are planned. The environment also benefits from the reduction in CO2 emissions from fewer waste hauling vehicles on the streets - all in all contributing to the overall goal of sustainability! 

Don’t forget about E-waste

Businesses with large offices can produce a lot of e-waste, including old electronic products such as computers, fax machines, printers etc. A UN report estimated that every year, approximately 50 million tonnes of e-scrap is generated with a vast majority of it not being recycled.

It is important to keep the materials used to make electronics, such as lead, mercury, and brominated flame retardants, out of the waste stream. These toxic components can cause pollution to waterways, as well as leak dangerous gases into the atmosphere.

Companies that specialise in the refurbishment of electronics often offer to purchase e-waste, making it a viable and profitable recycling option. The recycling of e-waste supports the notion of producing a circular economy as well as a financial opportunity. The value of e-waste materials is predicted to be around 50-60 billion euros

Implement a centralized recycling program

Centralizing waste and recycling collection points on office floors can help to empower employees to become an active part of the initiative and help them to be more aware of how they are generating and disposing of trash. This will ensure employees are reminded to properly separate recyclable waste, further increasing the value of your efforts. 

How WasteHero can support your recycling program?

WasteHero’s smart sensor can be the ideal tool to boost your recycling initiative, allowing you to collect and analyse data from containers. This allows for the prediction and optimisation of your recycling waste collections.

Improve profitability and reduce collection fees and pick-ups by utilising the WasteHero comprehensive solution. 

Get in touch with a WasteHero expert today to see how we can support your recycling initiatives. 

  • WasteHero
  • Waste
  • Trash
  • Recycle

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