Waste collection is undergoing rapid change and is leading to a change in organization. It alone represents up to 60% of the cost of waste disposal. In view of the environmental and financial challenges, optimizing waste collection to reduce costs is becoming a necessity (using compartmentalized bins, adapting collection frequency to needs, etc.).
Waste collection: a high cost
Collection costs are becoming increasingly high and include all stages from the generation of waste (purchase of raw materials, energy, packaging that becomes waste, labor time, etc.) to its management (transport, treatment costs, sorting, handling, storage, administrative management, etc.).
1 ton of regular waste costs about €125, of which €49 is for collection and pre-collection.
To calculate the cost of a collection, many elements must be taken into account: the means of transport, the workforce (the team that manages the collection), the environmental footprint, the time lost (traffic jams, longer time on narrower streets, collecting waste that overflows from the garbage cans, etc.). The cost is higher in door-to-door than in voluntary drop-off points, there are fewer points but each point has a larger amount of waste.
Many decrees to be respected
For more than 4 years, producers and holders of waste (companies, businesses, administrations…) have been obliged to sort at source the 5 waste streams which are: paper/cardboard, metal, plastic, glass and wood. The European Union’s circular economy package, adopted in 2018, requires EU countries to implement source separation of bio-waste by December 31, 2023 at the latest.
These decrees impose an obligation to organize the collection of all waste streams. The more containers there are to be emptied, the more specific the waste treatment will be, the higher the costs will be. In addition, trips for empty or nearly empty containers are useless and represent a cost that could be avoided.
Reduce costs by improving collection systems and optimizing routes
Waste management is one of the essential elements of a local activity. It has an impact on quality of life, health and the environment but can be very costly. The widespread use of sorting at source and the gradual installation of voluntary drop-off points have enabled local authorities to improve waste management, particularly from an economic standpoint by reducing the number of vehicle trips. Indeed, shared collection is tending to be developed because these systems are always accessible, adapted to urban constraints, and lend themselves to a more thorough sorting gesture to facilitate the sorting activity and thus reduce its cost.
However, despite these facilities, the quality of service and financial balance are not always satisfactory: on average, the collection points are only 50% full at the time of the collection round.
Another solution to reduce costs? Eliminate unnecessary travel… You have to go to the RIGHT place, at the RIGHT time! To do this, you can organize your collections according to the needs of the field. A container is empty? No need to travel to this point. Conversely, if the container is full, you must add this point on the collection path. The use of compartmentalized containers also allows an optimization of the tour. If the waste is at the same place and can be picked up by a single truck, the costs remain lower.