If you are a business or institution that already recycles, great job! We have some tips to help make sure you are getting cost-effective trash and recycling service that fits your needs. If you don’t have recycling service, these tips can help you get started.
KNOW WHAT’S IN YOUR CONTRACT
Haulers rarely revisit their customers’ service levels after the initial set-up; it's up to you to make sure you’re still getting the best deal. Many businesses have been locked into their contracts so long that they’re no longer getting the best price or receiving a level of service that meets their needs. Moreover, contracts often include language that makes it difficult to switch haulers.
Here are some phrases to watch out for:
- Automatic roll-over
- Advance notice of discontinuation
- Formal notice of discontinuation
- Ability to increase rates without notice
- Ability to add surcharges for fuel and other inflationary items
These terms can keep you locked into a contract that charges more than the market rate and make it hard to switch to a service provider who will offer a better price. Contracts usually have only a small window of time where you can switch haulers without penalty. Get a copy of your waste contract and read it carefully!
UNDERSTAND YOUR INVOICE
Make sure you understand your invoices. If something is unclear, ask your service provider to clarify it for you. Invoices often make it hard to distinguish the relative costs of recycling and trash service. It can also be hard to tell what part of your bill is being charged state and county taxes. These are charged on trash ONLY; shifting from trash to recycling should save you money on these charges. Also pay attention to additional fees that may be added on top of your quoted rates; these may creep up over time without being noticed. Examples include items such as:
- Rental trash
- Rental recycling
- Container service fee
- Recyclable material offset
- Extra yardage fee
- Single sort processing fee
- Administrative fee
- Environmental fee
- Non-tax fee
- Fuel surcharge
- Fuel/Environmental/Recovery fee
- Commodity adjustment
RIGHT-SIZE YOUR CONTAINERS
If you don’t already have recycling service, do your part by adding it! Rates charged to customers for recycling service are usually less expensive than chose charged for trash, and your recyclables will not be taxed by the state or county. However, adding recycling to an existing trash-only service contract costs more money in total unless the trash service levels can be reduced.
Take steps to “right-size” your containers. You should evaluate whether you have extra space in your dumpsters or if they could be serviced less often. Once you have established a continuing contract with a hauler, the hauler has no incentive to evaluate your service frequency or size of your containers.
If you update your contract, make sure your hauler is collecting the maximum types of recyclable material. The majority of businesses recycle cardboard and office paper. With almost all haulers now offering single-sort recycling service, you could be recycling all kinds of materials! For example, most haulers now accept #1-7 plastics and cartons.
If you don’t have control over your waste contract, contact your property manager, building owner or corporate office and ask for recycling!
GO OUT FOR BIDS
Businesses that go out to bid, even through an informal process, tend to get lower rates and more services.
Visit our commercial haulers page for a list of commercial haulers in your community.
This information is adapted from the report “Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board: Commercial Cost and Billing Research” by Skumatz Economic Research Associates, Inc. http://www.swmcb.org/studies-reports/studies-and-policy-reports/business.