A strong strategic approach is essential to every aspect of your business – including waste! In our current day and age, it’s not as simple just collecting your garbage and putting it outside for pick-up – and nor should it be! We are in a sophisticated era where we know and understand the value of waste diversion, and it is important that we make this a part of our strategic plan as we grow and manage our businesses. Wondering where to begin? Look no further as we break down the key steps to putting together your strategic plan for waste management.
1. Participate in a Waste Audit
A Waste Audit is a 24-Hour Sampling of your waste and recycling stream. This is a crucial first-step towards putting together your strategic plan for waste because ‘If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.’ MASS completes more than 300 Waste Audits each year for businesses across Canada. Our goal is to assess what your business is generating, identify your businesses current waste management policies, and establish a baseline measure to improve your waste reduction work plan and track success.
Every single bag of garbage, recycling, organics, etc. that is collected on-site in the 24-Hour Period is weighed by our team, and then sorted and separated. We qualify and quantify the material, and identify areas of success and opportunities for improvement. This information is compiled into a Waste Audit Report in compliance with the Ministry of the Environment, and presented to the location with a Waste Reduction Work Plan. This plan becomes your ‘Road-Map to Waste Diversion Success.’
As believers in hard data and evidence, we use this new information to guide clients through the next steps of their strategic planning.
2. Focus On Internal Collection
In our Waste Audit process, MASS will identify areas of your building or facility that are doing a great job with recycling, as well as areas that may require change. This change will come in the form of internal collection. MASS believes in colour-coding and visual imaging / signage to make the recycling program as clear and straightforward as possible for your staff. With internal collection, the absolute most critical element is standardization. If the containers in your staff kitchen are different than the containers in your front lobby, you are sending out mixed messages and creating confusion.
3. Educate and Engage Your Staff
An engaged and educated staff will be a successful staff. Planning for education is absolutely crucial to ensuring your waste program runs smoothly. Staff need to understand not only how to correctly participate in the program, but also why it matters. This will make your staff feel valued as they grow to understand their critical role in your operations.
MASS completes education for our clients through visual signage, on-site education sessions, online webinars, and digital modules.
4. Re-Visit Your Service Frequencies & Containers
Once your waste program is up and running, it’s time to look at the external containers that are provided to you by your waste hauler. Are your bins frequently overflowing? Or perhaps they are only ever half-full, and they are getting emptied more often than you need. MASS believes in establishing the bin sizes and collection frequencies that will best meet the needs of your location while being as cost-effective as possible.
Monitoring your program for a couple of weeks will give you insight into whether or not your containers or frequencies may need to be changed. If you are able to reduce service frequency, this could be a great opportunity for cost savings!
5. Daily Program Management
It is time to assign somebody the important responsibility of managing the day-to-day operations of your waste programs. If you are a MASS client, this is where our 24 / 7 / 365 service and administration proves most valuable. We fill in the gaps and manage your programs for you, freeing up your time to focus on other parts of your business!
This includes managing your contracted service providers, handing any extra service requests, and resolving any issues that may arise throughout the course of a day. Having a key stakeholder who is responsible to manage these programs is an essential part of your strategic plan!
6. Measure Success
Tracking your success through documentation will allow your team to identify how your strategic plan for waste unfolded. MASS tracks cost savings and cost avoidance for our clients, which allows them to see the financial benefit of their well-managed programs. We also recommend a yearly Waste Audit to measure continued improvement of Waste Diversion by your business. This also allows us to identify where new areas for improvement may have arisen in the best year, so that we can continue to guide you in establishing a strong strategic plan. Not to mention that under the Ontario Ministry of Environment Regulations 102 and 103, waste audits are required annually for many types of businesses in Ontario. This means it is an important part of ensuring your regulatory compliance.
By measuring your success on a quarterly or annual basis, you are taking an important step to enhancing your strategic approach to waste for your business.