Savings hidden in the waste. How to earn money in crisis?

21. 10 .2020, Cyrkl

The first wave of the pandemic crisis has not yet passed and we are already facing the second one. The economy fell by 4.4% y/y and many companies ceased to exist. Therefore, not only companies but also cities and municipalities have to look for other areas in which they can save finances more than ever before. Those who did not cope with the lack of capital in the spring will probably not be able to avoid it now. One of the savings options is the transition to a circular economy that can save tens of thousands of euros. What to do for a smooth transition to circular business? And how much did others save?

According to data from several waste scans we have carried out in multinational companies, they have for example spent an average of 37 € per tonne on recycling and landfilling of boxes and they have earned around 550 € by selling them to be re-used. Once they started sorting scrap correctly, verifying prices with other customers, and establishing cooperation with recycling companies, they increased their profit by up to 50 %.

In the case of mixed and municipal waste, it pays mainly to prevent waste generation, optimize prices and collection, and better sorting, for example, the separation of stretch films from other mixtures. It can bring savings of 10 to 50 %. When companies started buying recycled thinners, they saved up to 65% on purchase costs and up to 100% on waste costs. But you can save on a whole range of other commodities as well. Which? This is what the waste scan reveals to the companies.

All you have to do is set up waste management following the principles of a circular economy, let it earn money for your company, and stop paying considerable finances, for example, to landfill companies.

How to apply circular waste management?

Waste prevention and minimization

Focus on your product, specifically its design, and consult with ecodesign experts. Is the product repairable, recyclable, demountable, or biodegradable? These are the basic questions you need to answer. Then it is enough to set up logistics processes and it is necessary to change to more economical and reusable packaging. Focus on product take-back as well, in the form of repair and resale.

Sort waste into its recyclable components

Sorting waste may seem like a waste of time, but the opposite is true. Proper sorting will ultimately save money. There is a great demand for clean waste, as it means the material for further use. In addition to separating dirty material from the clean one, stating the exact composition of the materials is recommended as well.

Ensure closed recycling cycles

What exactly does that mean? Your waste will be taken over by the recycler and returned to your company in the form of secondary raw material. Materials, even waste, do not have to leave the production plant at all. If you have them properly sorted, you can reuse them either in production or logistics and save additional money for possible transport. You know exactly what the material is made of and what else you can use it for. You will avoid the need to obtain material sheets for waste or paying for the laboratory tests.

Sell your waste

If you are paying for waste now, it can easily change, since it often has a positive price on the market. Every product has its buyer and this applies to waste as well. For example, a multinational furniture company changed the cost of 18 thousand euros into a profit of 3.5 thousand euros in one week. How? They sold the waste to a recycling company.

Use secondary raw materials in production

Recyclates often have the same quality as raw materials and you buy them cheaper, even with certificates. Today, many companies are turning to packaging their products in boxes or foils from second-hand. Not only will they save finances again, it is an added value for the company's marketing as well. Not to mention the CO2, water, and electricity savings.

Get to know the exact composition of the products and make sure they are recyclable

Yes, we have described the circle and we are at the beginning again. The same principle as for the circular economy. The more complex, the less degradable, recyclable, and demountable the product is. With the "green sticker" you can score points from customers, as well as from legislators. Stricter environmental legislation is on the way.

Business ecology struggles with a lot of prejudices, but what is ecological does not necessarily have to be expensive. On the contrary. Well-thought-out and correctly set up waste management of companies or the state administration can save money. And not only that, it can earn money for them.

‐ Cyrkl

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