5 Principles to Cut Costs in Your Recycling Facility

As a recycling facility, you are supposed to be more aware of the environmental impact you are making in all of your operations than other regular businesses. This means that as you recommend ways to cut cost, save energy, and conserve the environment, you also need to think about your own business, your current practices and whether they are cost and environmentally friendly. Here are five tips to help you cut cost as you recycle.

Offer Reusable Items in the Breakroom

One of the other sources of waste in the working environment is the use of disposable tableware such as coffee cups and pastry packaging. Waste Wise Products recommends that instead of having single-use cups, buy washable mugs and get saucers to serve food on during the coffee break. This will bring down your purchasing costs significantly. You can also include recycling bins all around your business to ensure recycling is more commonly used.

Create a Centralized Hub for Office Supplies

One of the best ways to save money and reduce waste in the office is to consolidate commonly used office supplies and place them somewhere that everyone can access. For instance, supplies such as scissors, wipes, tape, file folders, paper clips, and others can be placed in a common place that everyone can access reducing the need for everyone to purchase the supplies on their own. The central source can have a storekeeper or someone to be in charge to make sure that everyone is accountable for what they use.

Perform Regular Machinery Maintenance

Another habit that leads to ballooning costs in a manufacturing facility is the poor maintenance of machinery. When you do not invest in maintaining your manufacturing and recycling equipment, you leave it vulnerable to breakdowns that will cost you thousands of dollars to repair or replace. Fluent Conveyors explains, “a recycling facility uses many machines and tools including conveyors, forklifts, and balers on a day-to-day basis. If one of these machines breaks down, the facility can’t function smoothly and that can have an impact on revenue.”

Conserve Electricity

Another way that you can reduce the cost of running your business is investing in energy solutions which reduce dependence on electricity. For instance, you could decide to install solar panels to help with some of the heating costs. Making sure that power is off when not needed also lowers the energy bills and makes the workplace environmentally sustainable. Replacing all lights with LED eco-friendly bulbs won’t only save you money, but it’s better for the environment. You can also set most electronics to energy saving mode, which can be very helpful over time.

Buy Recycled and Recyclable Supplies

There are office supplies such as toilet paper, paper towels for the kitchen, rubber bands, paper clips and others that come from recycled material. The benefit of shopping for these supplies is that you get to pay less for them and conserve the environment at the same time.

What You Should Know About Eco-Friendly Metal Recycling

Many metals exist worldwide, and each has unique properties and values. Upon recycling, it’s possible to produce new materials with far fewer carbon emissions. For example, in the case of aluminum, it’s possible to experience energy conservation increase from recycling of about 80%. The United States can remain competitive in the metal exporting markets worldwide because of the savings acquired in recycling which translates to savings in the cost of production of materials.

Risks Associated with Improper Disposal

There are many risks associated with improper disposal of metals that we could be recycling. When we think about which ones we should be recycling, it generally relates to heavy metals like cadmium, gold, lead, mercury, and nickel. If people are exposed to these heavy metals at high levels, the metals can potentially become toxic, making the people sick. Under most circumstances, we can find these heavy metals in the following:

  • Batteries
  • Computers
  • Paint found in older homes (for example, lead paint)

It’s critical to dispose of or recycle computers and batteries safely. It’s not a good idea to dispose of these items in a landfill, so don’t toss them in the trash.

Recycling Precious Metals and Scrap Metals

Precious metals are used for many small things that people use in everyday life such as dental crowns and other orthodontic fixtures; jewelry; electronics like phones, televisions and computers; cutlery; photography; and much more. There are six main stages of involvement in the process of recycling precious metals and scrap metals. They include collecting, sorting, processing, melting, purifying, and solidifying these precious metals and scrap metals. Once this whole procedure is complete, the metal bars go through a cooling process and then they are ready for use. It’s at this point that they’re transported to factories. When they reach the factories, they’re used as raw material in brand new products.

Metal Recycling Business Opportunities

Ultimately, metal recycling has been regarded as one of the most profitable opportunities for business. However, in recent years, it’s proven to become a challenge as prices have experienced a drop. For those who would like to become an entrepreneur in the metal recycling business, common entry points are through becoming a scrap metal vendor or beginning a scrap metal collection company.

Final Thoughts

Even though just about every type of metal can be recycled, currently, only 30% of metal actually gets recycled. In the United States, nearly 40% of the steel production industry is created through the use of recycled materials. Annually, there are approximately 400 million tons of metal being recycled worldwide. The most recycled consumer product in the United States is the aluminum can. When we recycle, we’re emitting less harmful gasses and carbon dioxide into the environment. Additionally, we’re preserving natural resources while simultaneously reaping financial benefits.

5 Challenges of Running a Recycling Center and How to Fix Them

While recycling is an important part of the American waste management system, there are several problems faced by the industry. Solutions to these problems can be difficult to come by. Municipal recycling centers, as well as processing plants, can manage these problems with time and thought. Here are five challenges facing recycling centers, each with a proposed solution.

1. Poorly Sorted Materials

According to Leadpoint, in areas such as the Northwest where recycling is well-established in the community and where environmentalism is strong, materials are generally properly sorted. In other parts of the country, compliance tends to be low and non-recyclable materials are often mixed in.

To solve this problem, the public should be taught how to properly recycle. Waste removal drivers can refuse to collect barrels with improper materials inside.

2. Environmental Pollutants

Many recyclable materials contain environmental pollutants like household chemicals. These chemicals can be spread throughout the recycling center when material is crushed. The public is not often aware that residue in their recyclables can impact the process further down the road. Dangerous chemicals also come from items that contain mercury, like batteries.

Again, the best way to prevent this problem is through consumer education.

3. Worker Safety

The sorting and baling machinery is inherently dangerous, and if employees are not properly trained, they face the risk of injury or death. Improperly recycled materials can become stuck or tangled in the machinery, causing difficulties.

Strict workplace safety regulations should be implemented, along with regular worker training on best situational practices.

4. Sinking Value of Recyclables

As The Balance – Small Business points out, even when recycling is properly sorted and processed, its value on the open market has greatly decreased. Many municipalities are discontinuing recycling programs due to the rising costs and lack of a market for the proceeds.

There is no ready solution to this problem, which will negatively impact the recycling industry in the United States. If materials were processed in the United States instead of overseas, local markets may find better places to use them.

5. Security Challenges for Recycling Centers

Along with the safety, logistical, and economic difficulties faced by recycling centers, security concerns are paramount. When papers are not properly shredded, consumers face the possibility of identity theft. According to ProVigil Security Systems, “Recycling centers face a number of problems when it comes to security. These centers may contain valuable material, both in the form of recyclable waste, as well as expensive equipment.” In addition, recycling centers need to have a proper security system with monitored cameras and full-time staff.

 

Even though the recycling industry faces significant difficulties in today’s market, recycling can continue to be a crucial part of waste stream management. With proper planning, recycling centers can thrive.