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What Your Trash Hauling Company Will Not Tell You

February 01, 2011
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In the world of support services, we are always looking for ways to reduce costs and be more efficient and effective.

Most of us affiliated with support services work in cost centers that only add expense to the facility.

One place many people overlook that could have huge cost savings and increases in efficiencies is in trash removal.

Almost one year ago, we did such a thing.

Over the last five months, we have reduced overall expenses by over 33 percent and are projected to save the health system over $60,000 over 12 months.

Every hauling company charges a pull fee each and every time they unload and dump the compactor waste or the open top waste.

This is the biggest driver of reducing trash costs: Minimize the number of pull charges and watch the monthly invoice decrease.

I have dealt with pull charges ranging from $110 to $165 per pull.

This charge is in addition to the disposal costs for each ton of trash and any rental or lease fees for the receptacle unit.

The quickest way to reduce pull charges is to maximize container capacity and to eliminate automatic pulls.

We went from an average compactor pull of 4.06 tons to an average compactor pull of 6.60 tons system wide.

The 62 percent increase of trash in the compactors eliminated 33 percent of the pull charges.

One location went from a three times per week removal to two times per week, and the other location went from a six times per week removal to three times per week.

Use The Proper Container

The second driving factor to focus on is to eliminate or minimize open top containers.

Open top containers hold significantly less tons than compactors, yet have the same pull charges.

Thus, three open top containers might have the same weight equivalent of one compactor.

If your facility uses both a compactor and an open top, remove the open top.

Chances are good that it''s being used more for convenience then need.

And, if your location only uses open tops, put it on call and manage the need for pickup by visual inspection.

One of our locations reduced costs by 45 percent by following such a procedure.

Finally, we all want to improve recycling and focus on green initiatives.

Keeping cardboard out of the regular compactor not only will do such, but should minimize your hauling costs.

Some haulers will take the bailed cardboard and pay back a small credit per ton while other haulers can provide a second compactor for such with reduced fees.

In conclusion, it is important to review your hauling bills in detail.

If your open top containers are averaging less then two tons per pull or your self-contain units are averaging less then seven tons per pull, you can become more efficient.

Maximize the tonnage in your containers and your pull charges will decrease.


David Monk is the general manager of environmental services and laundry at the Valley Baptist Health System. Monk has over 18 years'' experience in the industry and has done many things to help with cost savings and customer service in his operation.

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