Although the recycling market and COVID-19 have presented significant challenges to ASI Waste’s solid waste and recycling services, the company’s diversification has helped to make them more resilient and prepared for future expansion.
The Companies of ASI Waste (which includes Advant-EDGE Solutions of Middle Atlantic, Inc and ASI Comprehensive Waste Management, Inc.) are woman-owned businesses that provide services throughout the nation. The companies of ASI Waste specialize in the management of various waste streams at government facilities, healthcare facilities and industrial sites. The company started in 2003 when Laurie Holland and Jacqueline Ogborne decided to combine their unique knowledge of the waste industry and acquire a small medical waste company. Both women have a long history in the industry with a combined 55 years of experience. With a combined skill set, ASI Waste soon became an awarded waste management company.
Laurie and Jacqueline wanted ASI Waste to be a new and fresh face to the waste management world. In their past experience, they both saw where other companies could improve not only with their customer service, but also in their environmental footprint. A way to accomplish this was by implementing ASI Waste’s landfill avoidance program at every location they service. The team at ASI Waste established their program to follow the waste hierarchy, an eco-friendly system by using the inverted pyramid approach to waste management and it was a success (see Figure 1).
All companies that worked with ASI Waste, even those that believed recycling was not an option, were able to go green, while also decreasing their costs. ASI Waste works with each company they service, big or small, to design the perfect waste management system. The team has developed new recycling streams for items that required special handling and that cause challenges for processing for wastes that relate to healthcare, construction and demolition, food and organic waste, etc. ASI Waste focuses on the diversion of materials from solid waste, while making sure it is still efficient for the customers. This has, ultimately, saved each company money while ensuring that they were compliant with federal, state and local legislation.
This is just one example of how ASI Waste’s expertise in waste management, training and supreme customer service was a fresh approach to the industry that the customers needed. Laurie and Jacqueline realized the new and innovative methods, like the landfill avoidance program, were the wave of the future and looked for more opportunities to reduce landfill usage and increase customer satisfaction.
Wave of the Future
ASI Waste strives on exceeding their customer’s expectations. The team realized that providing their clients with around-the-clock, online services was the next step towards the future of waste management. The first program developed was ASI Waste’s online U.S. DOT training courses for shippers of regulated medical waste. This allows clients and their staff to fulfill U.S. DOT training requirements on their time. This training is a requirement for shippers of regulated medical waste since it is a hazardous material. The website offers specific training of regulated medical waste, with or without a bulk outer packaging component, and they even offer a separate training for Category A Infectious Substances (Ebola contaminated waste) training. When a user passes the training, they can immediately download their certificate of completion, as well as their U.S. DOT training record, certifying their training. The certificate is also sent directly to the company and stored with ASI Waste for complete compliance. This allows for the workflow of a company to remain uninterrupted while ensuring absolute safety for handlers of regulated medical waste.
ASI also developed an online application, called the ASI Waste Tracker, that tracks, analyzes and maintains the customer’s data for their waste stream. Samantha Janney, Manager of Government Accounts explains, “We saw the value of being able to get data, shipping papers, permits and certificates of insurance all in one place. The client is able to view and store permits, shipping paper and rebates. They can even enter the expiration dates of contracts, permits and certificates of insurance to be notified 60 days prior the expiration. The customer can then request updates from the haulers. Having an interactive tool that sets waste goals and notifies the client when they are not being met is important to both us and the customer to ensure that we provide them with the best service we can.”
The ASI Waste Tracker will open doors for ASI Waste’s clients by providing live reports of their waste stream. The application can also organize contractors, contracts, containers and contractual documents by linking them together. The application was designed to help any company, big or small, in achieving their waste goals. The notification system not only alerts the user when weight goals are not being met, but also alerts them when contracts are about to end. This allows the customer to spend less time on waste management, while also giving them peace of mind.
The Impact of COVID-19
ASI Waste’s response to the global pandemic was speedy, efficient and needed. The company helped hospitals and clinics adjust their waste streams to accommodate for their influx in services. The company adjusted healthcare waste management plans immediately and even provided unique and regulated waste management plans for local “pop-up” testing centers, as well as a local Surge Hospital established for the increased need of in-patient beds.
Not only did the company provide waste management, but they also provided in-house cleaning disinfection services. They have even provided training to their customers’ staff to disinfect specifically for the coronavirus, while maintaining safety for the workers and the healthcare staff with absolute compliance.
ASI Waste was able to adapt the “new regular” of COVID-19 by using their innovative thinking. Dalton Holland, Major Account Executive, says “We look at everything with an open mind and evaluate the options available to best serve our clients, while ensuring the safety of our team. This is how we have remained successful in the past 17 years.” New methods of business allowed for ASI Waste to continuing growing during the pandemic and they were even able to create several temporary jobs because of their new initiatives. ASI Waste provided around the clock coverage for disinfection services, allowing them to create jobs for people that were out of work due to the pandemic.
If (or when) COVID-19 re-surges, ASI Waste keeps an open mind towards whatever happens. “In this day and age, you can never really be too cautious; having all our ducks in a row is our priority. Compliance is the biggest thing—making sure all of our trucks (used to pick up medical waste) are permitted, all of our training programs are current, etc. So, when something does happen and somebody needs a service, we are fully stocked and ready to roll. Whatever people bring to us, we want to be prepared for anything,” says Dalton.
Besides COVID-19 in the recent months, Samantha points out that the ever-changing recycling industry has given ASI Waste some interesting challenges. “We’ve had to get creative in how we segregate waste and implement recycling plans moving forward because of the China’s National Sword ruling. The rejecting of recyclables changed the dynamic of the industry.”
Donald Holland, Director of Business Development agrees saying, “In order to adjust to these challenges, we would help customers with further sorting. Instead of having a single-stream program, we concentrated on getting the fiber separated out, getting glass out of the waste streams, focused on container recycling because those were all things, we could successfully market. The most frustrating thing for us was when the food waste opportunities closed, because you need to have a significant amount of volume for a program to be successful; however, now working with the dairy farmer has balanced some of that out.” Don stresses, “The recycling market and COVID-19 present significant challenges and reductions to our solid waste and recycling services. Fortunately, we also handle a lot of regulated waste streams, especially regulated medical waste. We saw significant reductions in the solid waste and recycling, as well as our regulated medical waste for closed medical offices due to COVID-19. We did see some short-term increases for some of the essential healthcare clients for their regulated medical waste services. Our diversification has helped us be more resilient, but we certainly felt the impact of COVID-19. I think we did a little bit better than those that were not diversified. We are prepared for another wave of COVID-19, should it arise again.”
Samantha says that she is most proud of working with the pop-up testing centers and hospitals. “That was a unique opportunity for us to serve our community. We really stepped up at a moment’s notice. We were there around the clock and were able to employ some additional people as well as keeping all of our employees employed and on payroll. We were very proud of not laying off anyone during the pandemic.”
Don says that the company was very fortunate to work with the COVID-19 pop-up hospital and have gotten a lot of good recognition through that. He is proud of the team and the attitudes they presented when stepping up to the plate. “We were doing decontamination, medical waste removal, hazardous waste, pharmaceutical waste—many different services together, all while working in a true field hospital. We were prepared and mobilized. Our employees were simply amazing during this time. Our team stepped up throughout the organization. Seeing how well the team worked together and focused on the customers, made the management team very proud of what we have built. The team stepped up, even while working remotely. We are fortunate and thankful to be surrounded by such a dedicated group of people. We could not have done it without them.”
“On the solid waste side of the business, and before COVID-19, we had a great opportunity to help out a large-scale distributor. They were rather de-centralized on how they handled their waste. We came in and re-negotiated contracts on their behalf and we helped them to put more sustainable waste practices in place and alternative disposal,” says Samantha. “As a result of that we were able to save them $1,000 per day right to their bottom line. We were a true partner for them and exceeded their expectations on every level. I could not be prouder to present this type of success to a customer, once again, our team proved our capabilities.”
Planning for Adaptation
Expansion is at the top of the list of ASI Waste’s future goals. They plan on making their company a household name for trash, especially in the tri-state area where competition is high. Samantha points out that they have adapted some of their business models to offer decontamination services, so they will be prepared by having the proper PPE and respirators, etc. Samantha added, “We plan on expanding our fleet and our capabilities. We are always marketing to new clients; we listen to their needs. We are open to new opportunities that present value to our clients.”
Samantha continues, “Transparency is everything. We have a full transparent relationship with our customers, and we let them know where the trash is going during the whole process. We are more than just a service provider; we are a partner.” | WA
Training and Recruitment
ASI focuses on hiring the right people for the job. The team recruits employees that work well in a team workspace and strive for the safety and customer service goals set by the company. Dalton explains, “Many times, people forget how hard it is to recruit good employees. We use social media and word of mouth. However, our best employees have come from good referrals. We like to bring in openminded, creative thinkers; people that are not afraid to get right into it or speak up and ask questions. Initiative is a good thing.”
Jacqueline and Laurie focus on strict in-house training for each member of their staff to ensure complete compliance with federal, state, and local legislation and to ensure top level customer service. Sales representatives are trained with a hands-on approach by shadowing medical waste routes. This way the sales representatives knows exactly what the service entails and describe to clients how their waste is handled from cradle to grave.
Though ASI is growing into a strong waste management company, they are still a local company that gives back to their roots. ASI has supported multiple events in their community. They have provided support to charity events for several years in a row to raise funds for students to attend college.
ASI Comprehensive Waste Management, Inc. also brings their expertise into their community outreach programs. ASI has worked with local residents to take electronics and other recyclables to ensure these items are not placed in landfills. In the past, the company has also developed a holiday recycling event, where local residents take their old Christmas trees to ASI and so they can be composted and turned into a nutrient rich soil.
They are most proud to be a sponsor of a foundation that not only helps raise awareness, but also provides resources to students struggling with depression, self-injury and suicide. A close friend to the families lost their son to depression. Don Holland also lost his mother to depression. That night, this friend and one of his sons, showed up at Don and Laurie’s house. A terrible bond, that far too many families deal with and do not talk about. This friend and his wonderful family have created a foundation in his honor. SL24 Unlocke the Light (www.unlockethelight.com) was developed by the Locke family in the honor of Sean Locke. An amazing young man that fought depression. They are opening Sean’s House at the University of Delaware. Providing resources and a safe place for the students. Counselors and nurses onsite and available at no charge to the students.
ASI Waste really takes interest in how these foundations use the funds raised and how their help impacts families and communities.
For more information, call (302) 533-6858 or visit https://asiwaste.com.