Waste management is one of the most challenging tasks that businesses struggle with. Inconsistent services by the haulers, improper planning, fluctuating costs, and a myriad of other issues plague waste stream management. These concerns are valid for businesses like grocery stores or supermarkets too.
Given the large quantities of perishable food products and other organic materials that grocers deal with, managing the waste effectively becomes a very critical task. A lot of the measures that are to be taken involve managing the shelf life of the products as much as possible and also waste reduction. But waste is not avoidable. Through defects and of course expirations, there is surely going to be waste that you need to deal with.
There are also concerns of sustainability and environmental impact to deal with. It’s easy to find a garbage hauler who will take the garbage off your hands but most likely it will go to landfills rather than recycling programs or composting or other ways to manage this waste effectively. If you have plans on going zero waste, taking small steps won’t help. You need a complete overhaul of your waste management program.
How do you manage waste at a grocery store in a way that you reduce the amount of waste that you are sending to landfills and also cut costs for waste stream management? Waste Control’s work with leading manufacturers and retailers has helped us identify concrete ways to cut costs and also help in reducing the amount of waste you are ‘wasting’. This blog will discuss some ways in which working with Waste Control will help you reduce costs.
Dealing with Grocery Store Waste
Groceries and supermarkets are one of the major sources of waste in the country. It is estimated that supermarkets produce almost 43 billion pounds or 10% of all food waste produced in the US. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also estimates that food packaging makes up for 23% of waste in landfills. Beyond this, grocers also have to deal with other kinds of waste.
- Packaging material in the form of corrugated cardboard and other such packaging material.
- Paper, waste
- Plastic materials
- Metal, glass, and other such items.
Dealing with each of these waste products requires a special approach and attention. It is often the case that one vendor may not give you all the services that you need to adequately process and transport waste to recycling facilities.
One of the best ways to deal with food waste is to try and reduce it. With so many people out there struggling to have a full meal, especially in the context of the pandemic, food waste reduction is key. Find ways to use surplus food that you are producing, especially when it is nearing its expiration date. Food banks and nonprofits are great ways to deal with this. They accept food donations and given the tons of food items you would be dealing with, it could be a great way to help the community and ensure the food supply for some of the underprivileged sections.
Whatever is left behind in terms of food waste, composting and other measures help turn this into further usable items. There are specific vendors out there who will accept food waste and you can generate some amount of money from this. If you are a grocery chain, you would be dealing with a larger amount of food waste too and this is not insignificant in terms of cost-saving.
Cardboard, Packaging Materials, and other recyclable commodities need to be dealt with differently. You should be able to segregate and bale these products and then transport them to recycling vendors and other facilities so that they can be processed and sold to buyers.
Implementing these measures does not happen so easily. While you would be able to work out some deals, it is often the case that you end up overspending on waste management services if you deal with these piecemeal. You need a comprehensive approach to managing these. Here is how Waste Control can help.
Our most significant intervention for grocery retailers is by cutting down on the number of vendors that you need to deal with. We have expertise in dealing with a whole variety of waste products and we also have a large network that we can access. So you need not deal with a whole bunch of vendors but just one- Us.
Through our experience, we know how best to deal with each type of waste, and also how to reduce the overheads and of course, cut down on the amount of waste that ends up in landfills ultimately. We assume end-to-end ownership of your waste management and help you set up and run the whole process with minimal friction.
If you are to know how much waste you are producing and what you are spending on waste management, you need accurate reporting to help you. If you are dealing with several vendors and you do not have a unified plan, reporting becomes difficult.
Reporting is essential in ensuring that you are on track concerning your waste management targets both from a budget perspective and also in terms of regulations. Diversion goals are common in all local and state legislation and you need to ensure that you are meeting these goals. Reporting helps you track and manage this.
Waste Control helps in making your reporting sharper and more accurate. We keep track of all the waste being produced and processed in your store, and also the amounts of waste that is being carried away, recycled, and disposed of.
Backhauling Programs to Distribution Centers
Backhauling programs are quite common in logistics to cut costs. Backhauling essentially reduces transportation costs by ensuring that the trucks are not running empty while burning precious fuel. There is also the added advantage of ensuring there are fewer emissions as the number of trips reduces.
We help you manage the logistics of waste management and tie up with distribution centers to ensure maximum backhauling. Waste hauling can also be managed along with other transportation requirements if planned properly and this can save you significant costs.
Waste Audits and Rightsizing Containers
Planning for managing waste is important. For this to happen, you need to understand how the supply chain works, what waste is being produced, and how much waste needs to be disposed of. A waste audit is a great place to start.
Waste management veterans at Waste Control will conduct a thorough audit of your waste stream. This will give you a clear idea about what kinds of waste are to be dealt with and in what amounts. Waste disposal cannot happen properly without a proper strategy and waste audits help us create the best strategy.
Once the waste audit is complete and there is a clear idea of what kinds of waste are to be dealt with, we also help you strategize and create a plan. Rightsizing the containers and transport you use, and also selecting the right equipment is critical in cutting costs here. Waste Control’s expertise help in determining what are the waste management needs and how best to take care of these at a minimal cost.
Organic Recycling Program to Ensure Diversion Credits
As you are dealing with edible food items and food waste, organic recycling plays an important part in waste management. Diversion credits are schemes that encourage organizations to reduce the amount of waste dumped in landfills. For food retailers and grocers, organic recycling is a solid way to deal with organic waste and cut down on landfill dumps.
Composting organic waste can produce manure that is reusable. Organic waste decomposing in landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is linked to global warming. Composting and other organic recycling methods reduce the production of methane and hence reduce emissions from waste. Our services help in reducing the amount of organic waste that ends up in landfills. This earns you diversion credits, and inevitably reduces the volume of material going into the solid waste stream, which is a bonus.
Waste management should never be an afterthought for your business. It is especially true in the case of grocery stores and supermarkets. A lot of businesses learn this the hard way as they end up spending more than what they budgeted for waste management.
Dealing with different types of waste is a challenge for sure. Proper planning and management are critical in ensuring that you are not compliant with the government regulations and also you save on costs.
Waste Control’s work with leading manufacturers, retailers, grocery chains, and supermarkets has helped these businesses cut their waste management costs by 15-45%. We are also passionate about reducing the impact that we have on the environment and our approach helps you move closer to your sustainability goals too. Reach out to us today to get started!