You’re not alone! The reality for hundreds of thousands of facility managers across the U.S. is that recycling vendors are increasing prices or simply cancelling service. And the reason is clear.
The U.S. Recycling Industry is Now “Post-China”
In 2017, China announced it was permanently banning the import of nonindustrial plastic waste. Ever since, the U.S. recycling industry has been trying desperately to adjust. Sometimes it’s enough to pull your hair out.
Without a doubt, it has put intense pressure on facility managers who are responsible for handling waste at their business. One day your recycling efforts were running smoothly. The next day, recycling vendors with no Plan B hiked their prices... or cancelled service altogether… sometimes without notice.
That means, instead of going home on time to relax, connect with your family, or take a well-deserved vacation… you find yourself in meetings explaining to leadership why everything is going to the landfill. Or you are on the phone looking for replacement vendors. Or you might be training employees how to handle waste in a completely different way than you just trained them a few months ago.
Suddenly, instead of running smoothly, your recycling efforts have become a headache... costing you time and money.
Have any companies figured out a solution?
Some Businesses Had Their Own Plan B
What if I told you hundreds of U.S. companies still have waste and recycling programs that contribute to their profitability… despite China’s announcement?
It’s true. And they all have one thing in common. They all had their own Plan B.
It sounds impossible to plan ahead for a “surprise” international recycling ban, but it’s actually simple once you understand the underlying cause.
The U.S. waste and recycling industry has gone through struggles in the past… not related to Chinese imports.
While good actors make up the majority, some vendors (just trying to make a quick buck) have given the rest a bad name. Bad actors take money from unsuspecting facilities who want to do the right thing… do not provide the promised service… and then tie things up in expensive legal proceedings (or simply vanish) when they are discovered.
For decades, facility managers wise-beyond-their-years grew tired of these “snake oil salesman” and looked for ways to insulate themselves from the very real risk of being taken advantage of. That meant both taking the time to build strong partnerships with a variety of trusted vendors… and having their own Plan B.
Sometimes, Plan B meant having an alternate vendor partner on deck for when things didn't work out as planned. And sometimes, Plan B meant building fail-safes into contracts with trusted vendor partners to share potential risks.
And do you know what they found out? They could save a lot of money! Six-figures-a-year kind of money.
And they noticed—almost as an accident—that their diversion rates were growing closer and closer to zero. Was that even possible?
Profitable Zero-Waste Companies
Businesses with a Plan B for their waste and recycling programs realized something important.
Logically, having a diverse team of trusted vendor partners who shared risk-and alternates available in a pinch-positioned them perfectly to eliminate or divert almost ALL their waste from the landfill.
And reducing waste saved money! These became the first profitable zero-waste companies.
If you don't have a PhD in the concept of "zero-waste," you're not alone. It simply hasn't been around for very long!
But businesses who jumped on board early have not only weathered the post-China recycling industry... they have continued to thrive.
Today, more than 178 facilities across the U.S. have been certified to one of the three available third-party zero-waste standards:
- Zero Waste-to-Landfill® by UL
- Landfill-Free Verified® by NSF International
- TRUE Zero-Waste Certified® by USBGC
These include highly successful companies across all industries: from manufacturing food, parts, products, and machinery... to technology and communications... to warehousing and distribution... to office buildings... even farms.
Big companies:Ford, Bridgestone Americas, MillerCoors, Mars, Tesla, Hewlett Packard, REI Coop, Subaru, Smithfield Foods, and Sierra Nevada Brewing.
Medium-sized companies:Nature's Path Foods, American Licorice Company, Hy-Vee, American Packaging, West Liberty Foods, Raytheon, Cox Enterprises, and Cintas.
And even small companies:Strauss Family Creamery, Pennsuco Cement, Taylor Farms, Fetzer Vineyards, Piazza Produce, Earth Friendly Products, Coco Taps, Milo's Tea Company, Bronco Wine Company, and Chumash Casino Resort.
Hundreds of additional profitable businesses have adopted a zero-waste philosophy in their facilities (and taken zero-waste training) to realize similar benefits... yet they chose to avoid the extra cost of third-party certification.
One important thing to consider is this...
No one is saying it is easy... but because "certified" zero-waste businesses desire to maintain their (very marketable) third-party credential... they tend to have the best contract agreements in place... and the most alternate vendor options lying in wait for things like China's 2017 surprise announcement.
They have earned their PhD in zero-waste from professional experience, and therefore respond more quickly to market interruptions than competing companies. In case after case, that includes saving real time and money along their journey... and going home on time to relax and spend time with their families.
If you haven't spent 10 years learning the hard knocks of "zero-waste"-building your Plan B-can you still benefit from what these pioneers have learned?
Can you borrow from their playbook and stop losing time and money when waste and recycling vendors hike prices... or cancel service?
Professional Development Ain't Easy
I'm not suggesting you go back to school for 6 years to earn a PhD. I'm guessing the ROI on that would not be worth your time. And besides... you are already in the best classroom life has to offer-your facility!
No, I'm not even suggesting you travel to an expensive conference a few states away.
I love conferences... especially hearing from experts and networking with peer professionals. While a conference trip may sound nice... sitting in the hot tub at night or grabbing a whiskey at the bar... don't forget that you also must do the following:
- Ask your boss for almost a whole week off work (good luck)
- Pay registration ($100) and get approval for a round-trip flight ($500), 3-day rental car ($300), 3 nights in a hotel ($600), and 9 meals ($300)
- For a grand total of $1,800 and 3 days away from home and work
No, I'm suggesting you do something much easier... and free.
Free 3-Day Online Event for Facility Managers
Have you heard of virtual summits? Maybe not.
And even if you have, you may not have heard good things. As any emerging trend, early virtual summits went... well, poorly... to be kind.
They charged the same as (or more than) a traditional in-person conference event. They tried to get all their speakers live on the same day. And they appealed to a wide group of activists, academics, government officials, nonprofits... and (a tiny handful of) businesses.
Inevitably, schedules changed, and speakers were not able to present. Technology didn't always work, and experts were cut short. Content was too broad so only a small percentage of the content appealed to different people. And because of the cost, attendance was low and those that registered often had buyer's remorse.
Doesn't sound like fun! But through those hard lessons... good virtual summits have emerged.
Good virtual summits can deliver tons of valuable content directly to your desktop with only an internet connection... and without cancelled speakers, presentations cut short, or the hassle and cost of traveling to an out-of-state conference.
Good virtual summits include:
- Industry experts
- Pre-recorded high-quality video interviews (e.g. no fancy equipment necessary to stream)
- Laser-focused on one topic (e.g. saving money by reducing waste at your facility)
- A very specific target group (e.g. facility managers) accessing multiple days' worth of content
- Networking with thousands of peer professionals from the comfort of your office or home
- And... no cost to attend (really).
Again, that hotel room, hot tub, and whiskey might have been calling your name... but if you can deal without... or if there is a virus going around...
Good virtual summits (managed well) provide a huge time- and cost-savings compared to traditional live events... and you won't catch an illness from conference attendees!
You can connect with thousands of peer professionals. Compare that to a live event with attendance of a couple hundred... and you only realistically have time to talk to 20 or 30 of them (if you're an extrovert).
The Profitable Zero Waste Virtual Summit may be just what you're looking for.
Designed specifically for facility managers responsible for reducing waste at their business.
Without a doubt, that alone would be a great value proposition... even if it were only 5 or 10 experts.
But the Profitable Zero Waste Virtual Summithas over 20 leading experts sharing best practices specifically for facility managers.
Over 20 Experts Help You Build a Profitable Zero-Waste Program
The Profitable Zero Waste Virtual Summit delivers the most up-to-date tools, tips, and tricks that profitable zero-waste businesses are already using today to respond to a post-China recycling industry in the U.S.
This free online event covers:
- An analysis of the shifting post-China recycling industry in the U.S.
- Free tools for calculating ROI and selling projects to your CFO
- Multiple case studies of successful zero-waste programs in different industries
- A deep dive on waste audits, actionable data collection, and analytics
- A diverse list of vendors who can handle hard-to-recycle waste streams
- How to market your waste-reduction program (and certification) to employees and customers
- Case studies of successful municipal and nonprofit partnerships
- Examples of waste reduction through purchasing and design
- Different opportunities for best-practice sharing within and across industries
- A deep dive into the 3 zero-waste certification agencies and standards available today
So, if you want stop losing time and money when recycling vendors hike prices... or cancel service.
And, you want to learn about new innovative cost-saving waste and recycling solutions at work.
And, you might be curious about getting recognized by leadership and promoted for your performance in waste reduction.
And, you have access to the internet. No fancy equipment necessary.
And, you like the idea of going home at the end of the day to spend time with your family... or take a much-deserved vacation.
Claim your free ticket to the Profitable Zero Waste Virtual Summit today!
Adam Hammes, Host
Profitable Zero Waste Virtual Summit
P.S. If getting access to 20+ zero-waste experts over 3 days for free-with absolutely no additional travel expenses required-to help you and thousands of other facility managers avoid price hikes and cancelled service from recycling vendors does NOT interest you... then there isn't much more I can say.
A "money-back" guarantee is meaningless. IT'S FREE! So, I can only help you protect your time. Register now for your free ticket and save this event on your calendar. You will get reminder emails to attend. And... if after watching the first 30-minute expert interview you don't come away with valuable content to help you and your company... just email me, tell me why you didn't find it useful at all, and ask for a free gift that will make up for me wasting your time. I promise I'll make it worth it.