Brian Boissonneault: A couple of quick disclaimers for the purpose of this discussion, waste minimization for me equals the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. All of this is really intended to help you put together a better and more successful sustainability report. Frankly, there is no silver bullet. We are not going to be able to discuss the one thing you can do today to minimize your waste. We’re looking at providing a template on how to go through an exercise and be sure that you’ve done all that you can do.
And final point, as Sasha mentioned, there is going to be some case studies just to kind of drive a few points. However, one of the features that I offer, my compliance in these case studies, is anonymity. Some of the material that we help them reduce, reuse, recycle is actually product waste and for fear of having to compete with their own inferior version on the market, they are very cautious about security.
That being said, I don’t, I can’t disclose any of the company names to you or maybe some of the very technical details but I think the information I have should be valuable to you.
We’re going to start off with a poll just to kind of get a baseline for what everybody is working on. There’s a multiple choice, very easy question. What do you think is most blocking you from putting together a successful waste minimization plan? I’ll give you just a minute or so to kind of look at that.
So, looks like most people have entered some responses. We will deliver these responses, at least their numbers, with the, at the end of this presentation.
The big question today and hopefully we have some of these folks on the line, is really who is this for? We want to list out some of these people on the swimming lanes that they operated and how they can help waste minimization practices.
The first is Environmental Managers. They are almost always the go-to person. These folks generally are the ones that are responsible for vetting the environmental compliance or even starting the exercise within an organization.
Your Production Managers. These folks are generally those who are responsible for or manage the budget for production including waste disposal and therefore, they’re probably most keenly interested in reducing waste more than anyone.
Purchasing Managers, we all know what they do. They are looking to save every penny they can for the company. And Senior Leadership, I’m probably going to make this point 3 or 4 times, I think is the most important person or important role in a waste minimization exercise. They are the folks, the visionaries, who not only identify a path for a company but when they are actively engaged in that path, it really drives participation from all levels of the company.
This is a picture of my youngest son. His confused look, I thought was pretty good for the slide. His name is Shane.
So, couple of things you might be thinking. These are statements that I've heard several times in the past. Oftentimes people think they've gone through waste minimization exercise and they've gotten as far as they can in that process, saying that there is really no better option. Some folks have tried waste minimization and found that the recycling or reduction opportunities that they have vetted are more expensive than maybe the landfill option that.
A lot of times, I hear the companies are, say that they are into waste minimization and they'd like you to be part of their sustainability portfolio however, they don't necessarily dedicate the resources to accomplish those goals. That's a very, very common statement.
In fact, what most of you probably have experienced in your career. Some support functions within an organization, EH and S being one of those, don’t necessarily always get as much funding both in time and cash as maybe, production people in front-facing functions of a company.
And lastly, you might be wondering if this is the OSHA webinar. In fact, it is not. That was a week ago today. We do a recording of that if that is what you're looking for.
Along with some of the statements in the last slide, there are some misconceptions. Some of those are similar. Many people think that waste minimization is the responsibility for the EHS folks. Really, I think this is the responsibility of an entire organization. It starts at product engineering and really even concept all the way through waste disposal and again, I think the second time now I'm going to point out, that I think senior leadership has maybe the biggest role.
Some people, again, are talking about that they've already completed their waste minimization goals and to those folks I say, well first I ask, do you belong to a continuous improvement organization? Something like a Six Sigma and if you do, this statement can't really be true because the goal is always to be developing a better opportunities. Something to the effect of more is never enough which is something I'm sure we've all heard.
And finally, again, waste minimization and recycling are expensive. That's an interesting concept because that go a little bit on to this slide with it. A lot of people don't really know what their disposal program cost. There's obviously things such as the disposal cost and the transportation, taxes and insurance, labor, both in-house and external resources, training of internal resources, supplies and storage. Certainly warehouse storage is always at a premium and if that's being used for a cost category versus a revenue category, that can be burdensome.
And these are really just some of the cost. These are also very similar cost to a recycling option per se and when you're comparing the cost of 2, I think it's important that you really look into the total cost of ownership versus just a certain one item or two to really vet and understand whether this option is really good for your team.
So today, I've broken down the 3 bullet points of what we're going to learn. Firstly, I would be a horrible father if I didn't include my older son. That was his own looking very studious. So very quickly, we're going to learn who should be involved in the waste minimization process, where do you begin that process and how do you make it work for those, especially over the long term?
In overview, we're going to look at putting together a team and in an effort around that, some of the different areas that you may find minimization opportunities and maybe not the single-stream paper and plastic that we've all been familiar with. And company goals and how those really have to be weaved into the operating fabric of an organization to achieve success. I don't…
Side note: I don't know if anyone's ever heard “Operating fabric” before, it was something my father coined. So hopefully, you enjoy that.
Moving to the first bullet point, the team effort. The first slot is, let’s not overreach as individuals. I’m sure we've all heard the phrase, "Some of us are jack of all trades, and a master on none." Frankly, that accurately describes myself but what I am becoming very aware of is that I'm limited frankly, by what I already know, what I could reasonably know, and there really is a fine item to that which has been a lesson. We're going to start off with our first case study.
So, a startup tech company, a client of mine in, I don’t want to say but it’s 2012, began doing business with us and they were shipping a fairly small volume but a very expensive, the most expensive, most exotic type of waste you can ship in the United States today. And at the onset of contract, they quickly asked, you know, how can you help us reduce this, really this cost. At that point, they weren't as concerned in reducing the volume.
Step number 1 that we went through because we assembled a team and that team consisted of the president of the company, the chief technical officer, a few engineers, the environmental person, myself and a couple other external resources internal to my organization. And we looked at a holistic set of questions starting from the way the company purchased their chemicals, to how they manufactured their product and use those chemicals, the effluent from that process and then finally the way they were managing their waste.
And we came up with a couple of ideas. Mostly from interviews of people who are involved in production process and then we, this is a very important stuff by the way, then we interviewed some regulatory bodies both of state and federal level and actually, city level. And we found the method that was most going to work.
What we ended up doing is, we added a stuff to their process based on a need they had for research and development but they were previously worried about doing that and falling out of compliance environmentally. After the interviews with the regulatory bodies, everybody was comfortable with it. So we added this stuff and what we ended up doing is reducing their volume of waste by 80%. That 80%, excuse me, ended up becoming a recyclable commodity and the remaining 20% was disposed of in the same way but cost was really a function of mass and in reducing that mass, we ended up reducing their cost by the same 80%. Obviously they were very pleased. It was really a win-win kind of reducing whole.
For the action item in this, out of this, is assemble your team. Third time now I'm going to say, Senior Leadership is the most important part of that team.
However, procurement, purchasing, the very important EHS (environmental health and safety), engineering and quality. Let's get the people in the room who are responsible for designing the system, designing the product and the process that generate the waste. Marketing is an interesting person to have in the room. They are the people who ultimately are selling this sort of backend feature, this waste minimization, sustainability feature to your company and the more we can educate them, the more that they can use that tool to help. Hopefully produce extra revenue based on your efforts.
You want to have Production Supervisors. I don't necessarily mean Production managers but people that are actually working the process lines who understand the 00:12:41 of that process. You know, sort of things that you can't really teach and you kind of have to experience.
And then External resources and talking about our own sort of mental limitations, the model that I generally give my clients and how I help them is that where they may have experience working even on a few different companies and the experience of, the collective experience of all the people working at their companies, I generally have access to that 1500 customers and all of their network of people, excuse me. So, what I may have learned from one client could directly apply to the client I'm discussing.
So, that usually kind of draws a line. Makes a little bit of sense. To me, I always think about the Verizon network commercial model.
A quick footnote, when you put together this team, it's important that you immediately get some meeting dates on the calendar and strictly not just the first one. Get some more meetings on the calendar. We don't, we definitely don't want to miss the opportunity to get started on some work and hear all of the excuses of why one or several people can't make the meeting.
But you know you should really consider this to be your SWAT team within the organization.
The tactical group of people that are going to help you achieve your goal and really, you know, this first step within the process is extremely important because as we all know, different departments within the organization may not talk all that much. Even you know, departments like EHS and engineering who at face value would seem to be very close to one another in reality, in fact, there could be little dialogue between the two and we're missing some opportunities for synergies and duplicate efforts or reducing duplicate efforts heading towards the same goal. So, for me, the more people you can talk to, related to the process, the better.
Next, we are going to talk about some of the different areas that waste minimization can come from. In the case study that I have, some of this is very interesting because it's easy but something that no one thought of. But the concept here is let's leave no stone unturned.
If, you know, this is no place to be complacent with what you think you know or where you may have gone before or anything like that.
It's, I think I'd talk earlier about putting together a single-stream paper and plastic recycling program is a great first step but then really, unless you're an insurance company, that really can't be your last step. You got to really look everywhere.
So, in this case study, it was another tech company. I live in Greater Boston so, many of you know there’s a lot of Tech companies.
But through their process, they were generating about 60,000 gallons a year of a hazardous waste water. That waste water was above regulatory limits for a couple of different heavy metals. So it was hazardous and hazardous waste water is significantly more expensive than non-hazardous waste water.
So, as you can see in 2009, they were up over $750,000 a year in disposal. Just to this one stream. Luckily if you will, for them, this was their real only waste stream but obviously no one wants to see that bill through the course of the year. So they asked us for help and we came in and this case, we brought even more of our resources to the table to include our own Engineering folks to meet with their Engineering folks.
We actually had some of our Senior Leadership meeting with their Senior Leadership and certainly our EHS folks meet with theirs.
And we did a very exhaustive search through their waste production process and we found, very oddly, we found that 2 parts, if you will, of waste we're being co-mingled when they didn't have to. The majority of the waste through this process was a non-hazardous waste water and the way that the equipment was engineered, it was dumping a very small yet concentrated aqueous solution of this hazardous metal or metals into the same container.
By that even with the dilution, it was still a hazardous waste by regulation. So, we helped them to add a step to their production line which actually kept those two materials segregated and doing so, the volume of waste put out by the process stayed the same however, the hazardous component dropped to about 10% of the total volume.
And the cost as you can see, came down by, turns out it was 63%. Which obviously is a very big win on any balance statement and certainly a win for environmental health and safety.
So the action item out of this is to collect the data. Data's is a, you know… and KPI's and things like that, are big buzz words today in business but they're both worth for a good reason.
If you're not making decisions of of data, then, really how are you making those decisions?
Some of the items to go through are how much volume of the by-product’s being generated and over what period of time? What are the chemical properties and physical properties of the constituents that go onto your product? How does the process affect those? What is that process?
Is it a chemical reaction? Is it a physical reaction? Is it just a cleaning process and ultimately just some contaminants are added to make this solve? How are you looking at handling the containerization of the waste as the material passes through the process and are you shipping those things? How often are you shipping that waste? What are the physical and chemical properties of that waste now that it's gone through a process?
You sort of have to look at any and every piece of data that you can find to come up with the best case scenario for recycling or waste minimization. There's a checklist that I used because I am a big systems and organization person. And as a deliverable after this event, we're going to send that out to all the attendees and it's really sort of a workflow of how you go through.
I started at the chemical purchasing function and ended all the way to the loading dock when the materials, the waste materials leaving.
And I thought that might be something that you folks may be able to use to give you a process to follow and to go through. Turns out that the way that I take notes maybe isn't the best for everyone else so I’ve asked my marketing department to help me clean that up and make it a little more obvious to you. So, I really do hope that you enjoy the document and you find it useful in your own places of business.
Finally, we're going to talk about what these company goals are and how they have to be brought in to my favorite slogan, the operating fabric of the organization, to really drive effectiveness.
And as I understand, for I know many of the participants today are from manufacturing firms, and as I understand, the major four goals are always to increase the brand reputation, lower any risk to the organization, and really that's almost a subset to increasing the brand reputation is really don't decrease the brand reputation. Next, we want to increase sales which is obvious and finally, we want to manage cost.
And I throw into that, cost milling.
One of the earlier slides, I talked about some of the lack of understanding maybe, around the total cost of ownership for a waste program and you know, to really run an effective and profitable business, we really need to understand how to model all those cost and directly cost them back to a process.
What I found interesting in putting together these bullet points as I went back to another slide when I talked about the team and I found a direct correlation to the team folks that I've listed and these major company goals.
Around the brand reputation that's really the responsibility the marketing department holds. Not entirely but I would say the lion’s share of it is hold by them.
Goal number 2: lowering risk. That's your legal team and your EHS folks. Number 3, run increasing sales.
That's your sales and marketing folks. Marketing for the second time, in terms of sales, I might not bring the sales department into a waste minimization process until maybe it's done but I can tell you the next case that I ended up showing you, it was such a win for them that they ended up selling the additional service to their clients. So it further step down stream to help recycle some scrap product that was ultimately manufactured by my client.
And managing cost and modeling, that certainly the purchasing department but also the production.
They're the front line people who are generating waste on a daily basis and you know, in terms of managing my cost, they probably have the most important role in their finger is closes to the button to make it happen or not. And finally, I think this is the fifth time I've mentioned senior leadership, Senior leadership obviously has oversight over all of these bullet points and I think that again, it's very important to have them in the room.
So this case study is really, I've saved the best for last but be honest with you, this is, this actually represented about 2 years of my life figuring this one out but I was very, very pleased when I did.
Oddly enough, as I was putting this together, I found that sustainability by the way, is the number 3 most used word in business today according to the global language monitor.
The only two words that precede it are content as number 1 and social media is number 2 so it appears to me that the marketing folks are the talking the most in anyone in the organization.
But getting into this case study, this is a Polymer manufacturer, a global polymer manufacturer, who was producing, just from one production center, producing about 2200 tons of waste per year.
Now this is hazardous waste, solid waste and off-spec product waste that last bucket, what you see is green in the grass was obviously the largest one.
And they looked to us, to me specifically, for some help in reducing their volume of waste in general in any location but was obvious to them the biggest hit might be on this off-spec product.
So again, I assembled a team, got direction even from the Senior Vice President of this business unit all the way through really entry level people in my side of the equation helping to do some research on our end. And we again went through a process.
How did you start buying these chemicals? Tell me about the process that you go through.
Can we talk to some of your Engineers and get their take on it? Potentially, are there substitute chemicals that could be used which might change the characteristics of the waste and make it more favorable to a recycling option or even a reused option?
Then we go through the process again, the way the waste is being managed and we are left with this massive data file to sort through and then compare it to how the world treats things if you will.
And what we ended up coming with, we actually found a secondary, actually 2 secondary market options, where this off-spec product could be sold as a product by my customer but there is a hitch with that. They were very afraid as many manufacturing firms would be, that this off-spec product would make it onto the primary market and they would then be competing with their own product which turned out to be inferior to what they normally like to put out.
So, this is one case where the anonymity becomes very important. So what we ended up doing very quickly was we became an intermediary step or we’ve received this material and do a little bit of preprocessing to defaced it and alter the potential use for the material to a non-competitive scenario.
And in doing so, there are a couple of things.
One, we saved them $175,000 a year in cost which was obviously satisfying all the way to the top of the organization.
Two, we reduced their total waste on their sustainability report by 1500 tons annually because this is a manufacturing product, it had never gone through an initial life cycle, we came to the conclusion that we were not recycling but we were in fact minimizing the waste or reducing, as the first R in the 3 R's, the waste and generating a revenue stream for them.
So obviously, this was a massive win that everybody was pleased with.
And the action item here is a few things in driving execution of report. So the first thing we want to do is we want to keep it simple.
We talked about how the production people have their finger on the button for the effectiveness of a program and cost-savings and the more cumbersome we make things for them, the more likely it is that the program is going to fail.
We need to assign a value to it. Really, again, particularly for those production people, it is hard to continue to do things and to change if you don't see the value that you're providing the organization.
What we helped with our client with the previous slide is we put together some numbers for them on a monthly basis that they can share.
We also got some samples of the product that's manufactured on the secondary market for, from their off-spec material, and we helped them put together a plaque and do a little presentation to their folks to tangibly show them, you know, "Hey, all of your efforts are doing this."
We made sure that the way that they were handling the waste from their production process to and from the loading dock was of no change to them. So really all they had to do, what those production folks had to do, was just follow what they've been doing for actually decades.
Again, number 6, engagement from the top down, this can't just be a do as I say, not as I do. It certainly can't be someone sitting in an ivory tower who is sending out a congratulatory email of recorder.
I think if Senior leadership can make time for it, if they can get down on to the floor, production floor, and almost shake hands a little bit and talk to people who are involved in you know, the last example, a $175,000 a year savings, I think that means a lot to these folks and it helps to keep the execution at a high level for a long period of time.
And then finally, this kind of goes back to assigning values. It is important to report on the effectiveness of a program. What have you seen for a reduction? Maybe identifying areas that the program can be tweaked and you might be able to add even more value.
But it's great to assume that a program has been effective unless you’re collecting data reporting it, obviously don't know and therefore, the words you use to describe that program maybe, could be entirely inaccurate.
You want to be careful with that.
So, in summary, please let's remember we got to have a team. No man is capable of doing this on their own. It certainly, I think we all know the weight that we carry on trying to get this done. Let's look into several areas, I talk about the example where we helped to engineer a step in a process to keep two segregate chemicals segregated still but there may be other opportunities to repackage waste in a different way; to add or to substitute chemistry on the front end, to change the properties on the backend, maybe making the material less hazardous or even recyclable or reusable.
And then company goals in the fabric.
Frankly, I find that if you are not meeting two or even three company goals with an initiative, the likelihood of continued success is going to be significantly reduced. Whereas, if you are hitting those 2 to 3 goals, you have several different departments engaged in that initiative, and therefore, you know, there's more people pulling for the success of that obviously.
So the take away, again, let's apply a system, I'm going to send now the worksheet once my people have cleaned it up for you and that's a good place to start in terms of how to collect the data. Interpreting the data would be left to your organization because again, each one of these scenarios is going to be unique but if we apply the system, we should see consistent, consistent success and I certainly have in my career in doing this.
Just a couple of quick parting words and then we'll end up getting into the questions. The first is around continuous improvement.
If you are a manufacturer and you are on this call, there is a high likelihood that your company belongs to a continuous improvement philosophy whether it’s, even ISO or Six sigma or Lean or something to that nature, you've agreed that you're going to be looking into waste minimization. That's a big facet of continuous improvement.
Also, it is a very competitive world in manufacturing. A lot of the startup companies that we see in the Boston-Cambridge area have little competition because they are breaking on to new industry but manufacturing in general, and I would venture that many people on this call work in industries where there are 2 or 3 or maybe even more very competitive options for the same product.
That being said, if there is any place that you could cut cost, if there is any place that you can generate some more buzz or potentially additional revenue, obviously these are areas that we’re exploring as businesses and this waste minimization is certainly one of the areas.
And finally, you want to build value but not only in your brand and in your company but in yourself. The more this initiatives that you can go through, and you can be successful on, I think you're going to find that obviously, your company, if saved them several hundred thousand dollars a year, they are going to find you pretty valuable. But also, you’re going to also find that, you know, maybe out in the open job market if there are success stories that you can discuss, you might find that you’re competitive there, you're valuable there too.
And that brings us into the Q & A portion. I do have looks like a couple of questions here that I can get us started with. We have 15 or 20 minutes left to answering questions. Again, as Sasha mentioned, whatever questions we're unable to get to, please feel secure in the fact that we are going to answer those questions and send them out to the entire group.
Sasha Laferte: Yeah, so if you guys want to ask questions feel free to ask them in your questions pane on the right side of your screen. Just type it in and press enter and I can field them over to Bryan. So, looks like we have one question coming in. Someone wants to know how have you been successful in finding purchased outlets for waste?
Brian: Yeah, that's a pretty good question. It's definitely not the easiest thing to do but obviously worth the endeavor. You know, the first step, once we identify all the characteristics of the waste, I talked a few times about the process, I, sorry about that my slider a little too quick off the gun. The first thing you do once you have that date is you do some research. You get to the internet, you get to networking associations, you understand, you know, in understanding the properties of that waste, you might find an area that it's being used either identically or similarly and you can kind of tweak it from there.
Again, I network personally.
I network once I come an opportunity, I network with him, our list of clients to see what they're doing and find other companies and similar industries to see you know, do they have any ideas and success stories that they want to share with me and I may be able to either use them directly for my current client or I may be able to adopt that policy a little bit and make it work, make it fit. And then, I usually go back to researching it.
I want to stress that there's often a lot of times spend in research around this purchase and sales in the secondary market but whenever it pays out, it certainly pays out.
Sasha: Okay, thank you. Just to let everybody know, it looks like some people are raising their hands in the chat pane. Instead of raising your hands, if you just want to type in on the questions tab and just press enter, I can filled the questions from there.
So, we have another question coming in. It says, "In a sterile Mfg. environment, our company uses a lot of presaturated spore cleanse wipes. They are collected as waste and end up costing quite a bit of money for disposal. How can we minimize cost in these cleaning wipes?"
Brian: So that's, the way I might look at that, again, apply the system for identifying not only why are we using these wipes versus another one. There may be a very clean, simple answer but certainly begs the question.
All the way through what are the properties of that wipe afterwards? Is it a cotton-based fabric? Is it maybe a nonwoven plastic? How are we disposing of it today?
Some people are comfortable with landfill. I think if you're on this call, you're probably not. So, is maybe waste minimization or waste to energy an option for you? If not, if there isn't a value on the secondary market either as a material or as a product for wipes and again, spend as much time as you can on Google and networking with your peers.
Sasha: Okay. We have someone who wants to know where we offer this service.
Brian: That's a good question. In theory, globally. In reality, it really depends on that service Triumvirate. I don't want to make this a huge commercial but Triumvirate is based on the east coast. We do operate certainly in these consultative roles nationally and if you'd like some help, please, I think my contact information was under the first slides. Reach out to me and I can help you or give you some direction of who could.
Sasha: Okay, awesome. Next question, someone says, “Our largest waste stream is MEK rags. Have you had success minimizing this waste?”
Brian: Yeah, that's an interesting question. Possibly. I believe we actually had worked on something and found the solution. What's more interesting about rags is the EPA recently just, some you may or may not know, the EPA recently came down on the wandering community for taking rags that are soaked with what would be a hazardous waste and washing them.
Turns out that they were, the EPI identified that as treating waste. So that has become sort of a hotter subject. I was talking to somebody else about that this morning. That's another area where that may be a potential waste reduction. Again, for the details of that, it might be harder to discuss it at the moment but I certainly would be willing to make a phone call later.
Sasha: Alright, awesome. Next question, someone wants to know it you find that your efforts ever inform future design teams i.e. analysis of by-products is used to help RND to design out the amount and type of by-products.
Brian: I do and I, I'll be honest, I always come in too late at least for generation one of a product but that definitely is always my intention. Wanting bringing these design engineers because they are the people that might have the most influence at the onset for what waste is generated.
What we have, one of the first case studies that I talked about where we changed the process and dropped the waste volume price by or cost by 80%, that came, in part, by actually adding the feature to their product that this company hadn’t individually considered before that. It helped them both to reduce the waste obviously but also for efficacy of their product so it was a really good collaboration. I wish I had come up with it but it wasn't me. It was one of my engineering folks working with their engineering folks but yeah, I think that's always the goal.
I think, you know, true reduction is better than recycling or reuse. That is why it's the first R. It, you know, the one thing I'll say is at oftentimes, it seems where it seems intuitive that that would be an early discussion oftentimes, it isn't and that's something to consider.
A good, real quick example that I often give is, some of you have decent research labs probably know this story but a researcher needs say a bottle of acetone. Let's say he needs a liter but he finds that he can buy 4 liters for a cheaper price on a per liter basis. And he assumes that he's going to use the other 3 liters at some point and that point never comes and then there's a disposal cost for the 3 liters and that disposal cost coupled with the purchase cost of the material ends up becoming more expensive on a per unit or in totality than if you just bought the 1 liter and use the 1 liter and there was no waste afterwards. So, that's sort of obvious. Again, if you have a research wing to your company, you know that story very well but that's, you know, sort of the beginning of how I evaluated minimization program.
Sasha: Alright. Looks like we have a couple more questions in the queue but we have a little bit more time so if anybody has a question, feel free to type it in and we definitely have time for it. The next question is, "Is there an active waste exchange in the Greater Boston area?"
Brian: Yeah, there are for certain types of waste. There are companies that will take laboratory sized bottles and even up to drums. There are certainly colleges and universities that will. I know of a company that brings some material to, actually, to schools in Africa but it becomes a question of liability and that's always sort of a slippery slope. So what I found is the exchange is best done through an intermediary group who can take assignment of the material and then find an outlet for it.
That waste, these situations become a little trickier than more unique waste gets. I talked about a bottle of acetone. I’ll stick with that for a moment because it's extremely common. It's a lot easier to find someone who's interested in acetone than it is someone to be interested in a mixed solvent salt 4 liter bottle from a 00:44:50 in a laboratory.
Sasha: Alright, thank you. Next question, someone says, "I'm a semi-conductor manufacturer and my biggest waste stream is D001 flammable liquids. We might be able to find different chemical products but they still contain flammable, organic components. This is simply the nature of our business. What comments would you have in that regard?"
Brian: Yeah, that's a good question. There's certainly a market for flammable solvents where people might be able to help recycling that either. In a, obscuring your name through this interview here, step that I talked about or directly that's actually one of the, I find one of the easier options. It may not be a true reduction on a sustainability report if your company has one but it could be a recycling and certainly a maybe legitimate cost savings effort. So that's something you’re unfamiliar with then I can send you a quick note of the email or after the presentation.
Sasha: Great, thank you. The next question, "How do I get my senior level managers engage in waste minimization?"
Brian: Yeah, that can be a tricky one and it’s countered in two because you would think that senior level managers are very interested in not only promoting their brand but lowering their cost. Almost in a way, seems like what drives them daily. But some, especially some older manufacturing industries may not be hip to it. I guess, if I couldn't use a better term.
What I think, you know, some steps you might follow is number 1, look and follow the company culture. You know, again, these companies are probably… These people are already interested in reducing the waste but you know, does your company have an idea box? Maybe in your cafeteria where you could drop an idea. I'd be careful of the chain of command. I'm a former military person so that's a term that I use often but you know, are you just below the senior management level? Then great. Are you not? Well, how does that next step above you feel about you sort of jumping the chain and going right to the 00:47:26?
Obviously that's just a political note that you might take caution in. I think if you get to, whether through it's the idea box or direct conversation or whatever, I think when you have the conversation, you want to be concise and you want to show value. I don't think you want to spend time on grandiose ideas that haven't been vetted yet. I think it's probably going to be viewed as your responsibility to develop this plan at least to about 80% with it. A good feeling of what the ROI would be if there is an investment and what the likelihood of effectiveness is.
And then, you know, one of the, I guess the last note that I'll give you is, you know, maybe ask once you get to that conversation, ask directly for help. If you think that you need their help and they can provide you help to help you reach these goals, maybe don't be afraid to ask. It may not be intuitive to who you are talking to, that you are asking for help without the direct question.
Sasha: Alright, if we don't have any other, oh, looks like we just got another one. Alright, just so everybody knows, we only have one other question left, so if you have a question feel free to ask and if you don't, we'll close out the Q & A session.
So, last question as of now, "Building on the question of waste solvent recycling options, could you expand and how to this impact cradle to grave chemical waste management?"
Brian: Yeah, that's a great question. Generally, I haven't really seen any examples to the opposite. A hazardous waste solvent, a D001 is still a hazardous waste solvent right up to the point of recycling. After a material has been recycled, gone through a process and a product is generated out of it, that is the grave, in that cradle to grave scenario.
So, the question is around which risk mitigation obviously and I think it's, frankly, no more risky than traditional disposal and in fact even less risky in that there's an entity on the buying end of this product that's generated from the recycling process who's then taking over liability and risk. And also you know, in theory that the sales wing of the recycler who’s selling say this is a 00:50:03 on the back-end.
But again, you know, I don’t want to make this too muddy but the more people you involve who are taking on a piece of risk, the lower the risk is for every individual involve in the transaction. So, you know, do you recycle the solvent yourself? That’s probably the riskiest opportunity for your company because there’s no one else sharing in that risk. Do you go through, you know, 5 different layers of vendors to help you recycle it? Probably not because that usually becomes more costly.
Find the sweet spot that’s comfortable for your organization but for cradle to grave, again, just to summarize, that grave ends at the recycling process. So, in theory, there’s no ash coming out of an incinerator that you’re still liable for. So in theory, it’s less risky than traditional disposal methods.
Sasha: Great, thanks. Next question is, “We are a small cabinet manufacturing company. We mostly deal with paper waste and haz waste such as paint thinner. Can you suggest ways to cut cost even though we are very small company under 10 employees? As well as recycling methods.”
Brian: Sure. The first thing I would say especially to smaller companies is maybe explore the option of having sort of, one waste vendor. Generally, smaller companies who generate smaller waste end up paying more on a per pound basis for those waste products than a larger company and that’s just really simple economics.
Nobody is really the bad guy in that scenario but what, you know, if you could couple either the solid waste, the paper waste and the hazardous waste, the solvent, underneath of one vendor, you know, that’s both buying and generally they’ll give you a better price. If there are other services that you might use in the waste or environmental world and they can help you with that, you know, the more you can do the better.
A lot of times, people are afraid to sole source and they are afraid that they’re going to be taken advantage of but I think there is a tipping point when you’re a smaller company that it really makes sense to look at that option if not pursue it, you know, vivaciously.
Sasha: Alright, great. I think that’s all we have, oh, we have one more coming in. So, someone wants to know, “Is adjusting the pH of a waste stream considered treatment?”
Brian: That’s a great question and it depends on where you are and how you do it. The state of Massachusetts, where I sit at the moment, allows for primary neutralization in containers so at the end of the process, you may neutralize your waste and that, well, technically it is treatment. Legally, it doesn’t require a permit. Other states may allow a similar reaction but some states, I certainly know, don’t, based on my experience.
So what you want to do is get with the state agency either directly or through a partner who can maybe ask anonymously or maybe even knows of whether it’s permissible and they can help you design a plan to do so safely.
Sasha: Okay. So, we’re going to take one more question and any other question and then any other question that needs to be asked we will send the answers after the seminar in email form so still feel free to ask. One more question, “So, we end up with a lot of partially used paint cans from our facilities. Any other options for recycling this waste?”
Brian: Yeah, good question. Are they flammable, oil, alkyd-based paints or are they latex water-based paint. There has been quite a movement in recycling paint over I’ll say the last 5 years and in fact some states, I believe Connecticut is one of them and maybe Texas is another, where it’s become a universal waste and you’re able to recycle that material. It’s also, I don’t want to say, may be required to be recycling in a couple other states but I got to double-check that. So, paint waste is a great way to reduce waste. Maybe it’s not reducing it in the physical world but in the environmental world, it’s a recycling which is somewhat of a reduction.
Sasha: Alright, thank you. So, I think we’re going to close out our webinar now. I just want to thank everybody for attending. We’ll send you an email with a copy of the presentation along with the recording later today. The email will also have a link to a survey asking you to rate this webinar. If you could fill it out, that would be great. It helps our team here at Triumvirate in working to improve future webinars.
We have several upcoming webinars including one on best preventative maintenance practices at your facility. You can find these webinars on our events page at www.triumvirate.com /training/events. I’ll send you that link in the email as well. Thanks again for attending. We hope to see you next time. Bye!