Michael Hess

Out with the old and in with the new. It’s a common theme of ringing in the new year. A time for reflecting on what you’ve accomplished in the past 365 days and re-evaluating where you can grow and improve. We do this for a variety of things in our lives, but what about in the waste management industry?

The start of a new year is the perfect time to re-evaluate your waste management program. But that can be overwhelming. The world around us is constantly changing, and although every business has unique waste and recycling needs, here are a few tips and trends to look for that will help give any business a fresh perspective.

TIP: Only Pay for the Services You Need

As a business owner, you work hard to anticipate challenges and implement strategies that help you achieve your goals. Whether it’s a global pandemic or just another busy season, being proactive in your approach and having a flexible preparedness plan in place will keep operations running smoothly.

Working with a managed waste service provider provides a single point of contact who is monitoring and working directly with you to understand your business’s unique needs, providing you with the ability to easily adjust your strategy as your business’s waste needs evolve. As a result, you’ll only pay for the services you need.

TREND: Evaluating Sustainability and ESG Efforts

Moving toward a more sustainability-focused solid waste program is something more companies now demand. It’s an integral part of everyday life. But achieving a fully sustainable program will take time and commitment from stakeholders inside and outside your business, using unconventional approaches in waste management and reduction.

An ESG analysis can provide valuable insights that will have a significant impact and inform decisions. Ultimately, companies that invest in the development and implementation of robust ESG strategies have endless benefits — the potential to attract more customers, lower energy consumption, create social credibility and more.

Companies are thinking about sustainable waste management differently because it’s critical to the environment we live in. We unfortunately no longer have the luxury of doing things as they were done before. It’s crucial now more than ever to rethink how we view trash and recognize the importance of creating sustainable end uses for what we discard.

TIP: Integrate Technology and Data

The world we live in is being transformed by technology and data. Many times, waste programs are, in a way, autonomous after initial setup and equipment delivery. You and your staff dispose of waste and recycling materials and the haulers come on a regular basis to take away the output. But what if you’re not regularly filling the disposal equipment you have? Or you have multiple locations, vendors and invoices to deal with? The key touchpoint that’s missing is regular waste performance analyses, which can help keep track of your waste spend and pinpoint opportunities for cost savings and efficiencies.

Many waste monitoring solutions today offer a real-time glimpse into your waste program via a cloud-based dashboard. By logging on, you can view key data, including equipment fullness status, pickup and return status, pickup history, upcoming scheduled hauls and activity logs. Detailed reports and insights show a variety of key data buckets that will help keep you informed. These can include waste spend, service insights, statistics on tonnage, number of hauls and historical program data. Consistent data will allow you to make any pertinent updates or improvements over time. For example, having historical data for your waste program will help you prepare your waste needs ahead of time for peak spikes in business. This will help you avoid any issues from a significant change to your regular waste flow.

TREND: Pallet Recycling is no Longer an Afterthought

By now, we’ve all heard about the supply chain disruptions, consequences and impact on our daily lives. But in all the madness, one of the most overlooked parts of the supply chain is now at the forefront of the conversation: pallets.

Pallets are in short supply and high demand. But the pallet shortage makes the delivery of everything else even harder. As we look to 2022, pallets will continue to rise in demand and become the new gold of the supply chain. Companies should be thinking about what options lie ahead — refurbishing used wooden pallets or procuring ones that are made from recycled materials.

Michael Hess is founder and chief executive officer of Waste Harmonics, a Rochester, New York-based company that provides customized waste and recycling management solutions for businesses across North America. Michael leads Waste Harmonics’ team of waste/recycling, technology, logistics and customer service experts who manage waste and recycling services — which deliver significant costs savings — for single- and multi-location businesses in a wide range of categories, including retail, grocery, restaurant, travel center, logistics, distribution and shipping.

Prior to founding Waste Harmonics, Hess served as vice president of U.S. operations for Capital Environmental Resource Inc., a solid waste collection and disposal company with $120 million in revenue and operations in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada. During his tenure at Capital Environment, Hess served as an integral part of the acquisition, startup and integration of 11 solid-waste companies for more than two and a half years. Michael acquired Waste Harmonics from Capital Environment in 2001 and has since grown the business from a solely Northeastern U.S. focus to serving customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, call 585-924-9640, email [email protected] or visit wasteharmonics.com.