Leaving money on the Trashpile

I find it fascinating in this era of belt-tightening and corporate reduction that so many of our prospects overlook the one “double profit-center” that works for them without any extra expenditure.  Companies make a big deal about reducing their spend on toner and power and paper and data downloading and the cafeteria.  Some companies go as far as to hire third party vendors to help them reduce all these costs.  However, it is the rare executive who looks at his dumpsters and questions the value of their contents.

The examples are legion, but I will focus on an easy one; used oil products.  Three years ago end user companies were paying tankers to haul off their excess brown and yellow grease as well as their used motor and machine oil.  The going rate was roughly $75.00/month/commodity, so a company with 10 stations would be dropping $750.00/month to be rid of their “problem.”  If these companies ever evaluated the situation they would realize that the people picking up the grease and oil were running all receivable businesses.  They were getting paid to pick up the liquids then turning around and selling the untreated liquid for a profit.

As the DIY’ers in the grease world started to convert their vehicles or home heating systems to grease or used oil, the market changed.  No longer was a fee involved, in fact,  these people were doing it for free and in some cases, paying a small amount back to the corporation in order to take the discarded fluids. This drastically changed the model and the bidding war was underway.  Today, yellow grease sells for about $1.03/lb. with the brown grease being tossed in for free if you want the business of yellow grease.  There is an over-demand for the yellow grease in three markets:

1.) Manufacturing biodiesel

2.) Manufacturing cosmetics

3.) Spraying the grease on the dry food in feedlots to fatten the cattle

Motor and machine oils are wanted to power heating systems, and companies such as NAPA Auto Parts are outfitting the garages where they are the preferred vendor, with heaters that run the used oil, thus saving their purveyors thousands of dollars in heating bills.  A handful of companies are realizing the value of their spent fluids and beginning to understand that they can become more self-sustaining just by converting some of their systems to the alternative fuels they are discarding today.

Tires, wood, metals, oils, shrink wrap, and compost are among the many disposables that have intrinsic value where a seller’s market really does exist.  Our competitors all hope you will not see those markets but it is the opinion at Lincoln Waste that exposing, opening and sharing the proceeds from the sale of these products is not only the ethical from a business standpoint but necessary from a green initiative perspective.

2 thoughts on “Leaving money on the Trashpile

  1. Marc, you are so right, so many options go un-noticed. Thank you for bringing this article to us. I know that you do not just think about recycling and reuse you have made it part of your life. I’m inspired by your example.