Are you a Dynamo, Catalyst, Explorer, Novice or Fledgling when it comes to your company’s paper/paperboard recycling procedures? Mid America Paper Recycling’s new Waste Audit Survey will help you find out. The quick, easy to use survey is the first stage of Mid America’s comprehensive, customized quality initiative, developed to improve pre-consumer paper/paperboard waste capture, and to transform waste streams into value streams.
In this cyclical economic atmosphere, the program is more critical than ever to streamlining recycling collection procedures and tracking where waste is generated and distributed. Setting goals for recovering and recycling paper and paperboard materials scrap will continue to boost revenue to your business.
Suitable for companies ranging from small businesses to global Fortune 500 corporations, Mid America’s effective program begins with the survey, which Mid America can use to assess your answers and then create a custom program especially designed to benefit your operation. For example, according to a point scale achieved, if the survey results indicate your operation is a “Dynamo,” then congratulations — your recycling score ranks your company’s recycling efforts above 76 percent, indicating your firm takes recycling seriously as an important facet of its mission. Dynamos have well established best practices that are necessary to deliver sustainability goals to their stakeholders. Employees take recycling to heart, and most likely reinforce recycling strategies at their homes as well.
Suitable for companies ranging from small businesses to global Fortune 500 corporations, Mid America’s effective program begins with the survey, which Mid America can use to assess your answers and then create a custom program especially designed to benefit your operation.
For example, according to a point scale achieved, if the survey results indicate your operation is a “Dynamo,” then congratulations — your recycling score ranks your company’s recycling efforts above 76 percent, indicating your firm takes recycling seriously as an important facet of its mission. Dynamos have well established best practices that are necessary to deliver sustainability goals to their stakeholders. Employees take recycling to heart, and most likely reinforce recycling strategies at their homes as well.
“Catalysts” are already achieving superiority along several fronts, though there is room for improvement. But the operation has the right mindset when it comes to recycling paper scrap. Mid America says that Catalyst operations consider recycling an important facet of their business and have established the best practices.
“Companies [in this category] are saving valuable materials from going to a landfill,” notes Paul Pirkle, President of Mid America Paper Recycling. “Loose corrugated, pallets, metals or plastics are examples of products often not recycled. But a Catalyst is already recycling these products and growing its revenues. This helps shrink its indirect costs. Diverting recyclables directly to a processor saves money, as each touchpoint reduces the revenue potential. Recyclers often sell this recovered material at a higher price because it is usually in a good condition that paper mills value.”
And the mills are happy to get it. According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI), Washington, recovered paper is used at more than 75 percent of the paper mills across the U.S. because of the significant cost and energy savings inherent to recycling. It is also a valuable contributor to the U.S. trade balance in that in 2016, the U.S. exported recovered paper valued at over $3 billion to more than 75 countries.
While a facility’s preliminary goals may include achieving 75 percent recycling effectiveness — a great start — Mid America works to bring a Catalyst’s operation even closer to Zero Waste – as close as possible.
Catalysts may use material compactors to routinely remove trim and scrap from their facility and send it to a recycling processing plant. “We’re interested in seeing what is actually being placed in the compactor(s), so we can understand if those products could be recycled in a different way,” Pirkle notes. “If they can be, we help the operation determine the best way to manage packing and logistics of those commodities, such as baling. There will be chances to increase the worth of your waste by reclaiming materials from within your compactor and moving them to a mill-direct outlet.”
Mid America can help Catalysts formalize a documentation program to educate their teams with a few easy steps. Factors such as safety and preventative maintenance, logistics, supplier service, equipment/labor, financial goals, material volumes and the operation’s specific path down the continuous improvement road are other areas revealed in the survey report.
Exploring the explorers, novices, fledglings
Meanwhile, respondents categorized as “Explorers” are working on several initiatives and trying to determine what more they can do to improve their “recycling health.” Mid America recommends they start eliminating certain weaknesses and set more ambitious objectives.
“Novices” only recently started recycling, but putting a plan into motion means that they’re on the right track. Several areas can be improved, and with Mid America’s help, Novices can set some clear objectives that will continuously cultivate their recycling influence throughout the company. Mid America will determine the logistics of where their paper waste is currently going and go from there. And Fledglings, the real beginners, are actually in an enviable position because processes can be created and good habits can be learned that will help them grow for years to come.
Regardless of the category, survey participants are asked to review the report Mid America subsequently sends them to learn how their overall recycling efforts are assessed. “We then follow up with the operation to discuss the report and review how we can further assist their improvement efforts,” Pirkle explains. “We later meet regularly to discuss and execute their goals and objectives through processes that hold us all accountable. We end up creating an intracompany
team that impacts our relationship with each other in a positive way as we follow the steps.”
Value starts being realized when more scrap materials are baled, scaled and readied for the paper mill. Unnecessary costs and labor start to diminish. “The fewer processing steps involved, the more revenue increases,” Pirkle says. The Waste Audit Survey is a great place to start enhancing the worth of your waste and saving valuable recyclable materials from landfills.