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Recycling // Knowledge Base // Waste Industry

6 Signs You're Paying Too Much For Waste And Recycling

Here are 6 signs your business might be paying too much for waste and recycling services.

Bradford Arick | June 1, 2023


As a business owner, you are constantly searching for ways to optimize your expenses and improve your bottom line. Trash collection is one area that often goes unnoticed. That’s because keeping an eye on waste can be a major headache and as a result, you’re likely paying more than you need to.

Here are six signs your business might be paying too much for waste and recycling services. By being aware of these signs, you can take steps to reduce costs and allocate your resources more efficiently.

Read more from the Waste Watchers Blog!

1. rate hikes, surcharges, and fees

A sign that your business could be overpaying for waste and recycling service is if the price has been steadily increasing. Consistent surcharges and fees on the invoice your business receives that seem high or are not adequately explained could be an indicator of paying too much. Things like environmental charges can be an indicator that your provider is spending more to be regulatory compliant and passing the cost on to customers. Disposal surcharges can be tied to landfill tipping fees which have been steadily increasing in recent years.

The northeast U.S. far surpasses other regions of the country in terms of the cost per ton for disposal followed by the Midwest and Pacific regions.

 Exacerbated by geopolitical factors and the COVID-19 pandemic, fuel surcharges dramatically increased for customers as well. Providers may include automatic price increases (APIs) with your business’s invoice and while some level of annual adjustments may seem reasonable, drastic or frequent hikes can also indicate overpayment. 

Understanding the intricacies of the invoice your business receives for waste and recycling services can be key to ensuring an efficient and affordable management program.

2. lack of accurate reporting data from provider

Your business cannot measure what it does not track. If your provider is not offering clear, accurate data to determine the successes and needed improvement to your operational waste and recycling management program, it can be challenging to find areas of cost savings. Data-driven insights into management program aspects such as diversion tonnage, seasonal waste streams, and contamination points allow your business to find solutions for program optimization.

The information also allows your business to hold the provider accountable. Technology, such as waste metering cameras and sensors, allows your business access to near real time data streams showing what is being placed in bins and if providers are holding to agreed upon service levels. Clear, accurate data, often provided by a third-party comprehensive waste management company like RoadRunner, is a window into the waste and recycling management program for your business, proving if it’s optimal for your needs. Without this information, your business could be paying more for poor service.  

Here are answers to some common recycling questions!

3. service schedules that don't fit your needs

Did you know that on average, dumpsters are serviced at 51% fullness? That’s inefficient. Ensuring that service levels are in tune with the specific needs of your business can be a crucial factor in maintaining the affordability of your waste and recycling program. Overlooking this can lead to overpayment and missed cost-saving opportunities. Consistently having bins that are only half-full at collection is a clear sign that your business is paying for excess capacity. On the other hand, not having enough space and a service schedule that results in overflowing bins and inefficient collection can lead to fines for non-compliance. 

Did you know that on average, dumpsters are serviced at 51% fullness?

Assess the volume and frequency of your waste generation and work with your service provider to right-size your trash collection schedule and container sizes. Technology that monitors dumpster capacity can be drastically helpful in making sure you and your hauler are looking at the transparent, reliable data to make decisions.

4. lack of recycling and diversion opportunities

Recycling is not only an environmentally sound practice, it can also provide significant cost savings for businesses. By diverting items out of waste streams and away from landfills, businesses can reduce the volume and weight of waste disposal. That often leads to cost savings. 

Diversion also presents an opportunity for your business to achieve sustainability goals, which can be reflected as a factor in determining a favorable ESG rating and which can lead to increasing profits. 

Nearly 80% of consumers in the U.S. consider sustainability when making a purchase decision. 

 Incorporating recycling solutions can be one way in which your business can help reduce cost and be more sustainable. 

5. lack of transparency and inflexible contracts

One of the first signs that you might be overpaying for trash collection is a lack of transparency from your service provider both on pricing and when your contract may be coming up for renewal. 

Often, contracts automatically renew, and if you're not aware, you'll get hit with rate hikes you weren't expecting, get locked in to long-term contracts, and you won't have had a chance to shop around. 

To avoid this, you should review your contract, request detailed information on the pricing structure, and consider obtaining quotes from other reputable service providers for comparison.

If you find it difficult to understand or compare the costs of different service plans, you should work with a fully-managed waste services provider like RoadRunner, who constantly monitors services and rates to ensure you're paying the best rates possible.

6. poor communication

Effective communication from your waste and recycling management provider is critical for efficiency, service issues, and cost reduction opportunities. A provider that consistently exhibits delayed responses or difficulties in reaching a representative in time-sensitive situations can hinder your business. There could be extended periods of service disruptions, billing errors, and production declines as a result. 

Providers should also communicate cost-saving strategies for your business proactively, including recommendations to increase diversion and reduce waste. Without this information from the provider, your business could miss out on solutions to reduce operational waste and recycling expenses. Those solutions could amount to significant savings.

let roadrunner help you take charge of your waste and recycling

Optimizing the waste and recycling management program for your business is not only financially prudent, but also essential in taking strides to operate in a more sustainable fashion. Recognizing the signs of excessive costs and actively taking measures to combat them can result in savings for your organization. Every dollar that your business diverts from waste and recycling management through saving can be used to positively impact other areas of your operations. 

Taking charge of your waste and recycling management program sets your business on the path in which efficient waste strategy and smart financial decisions go hand in hand well into the future.

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