Why industrial waste management services need to be updated
A study by Frost & Sullivan has revealed a distinct gap between what industrial customers want versus what the waste management industry currently provides.
A study by Frost & Sullivan on the Australian industrial waste management industry has revealed that one of the primary priorities of industrial companies is to reduce the amount of waste they are contributing to landfills (i.e. waste-to-landfill ratio).
Frost & Sullivan’s Voice of Customer reveals that while companies are increasingly proactive in better managing their waste streams to reduce their total waste output, they still look to their waste management providers to help them identify further opportunities, particularly in the area of increasing their recyclable waste ratio.
However, according to the study, while many waste management providers position themselves as promoters of a circular economy, their business models are not conducive to helping clients achieve this goal – by charging clients for the amount of waste removed from their facilities, waste management providers have little real incentive to help clients reduce that amount of waste generated.
The study shows that this apparent contradiction in the incentive structure of the waste management services industry is not lost on its clients. “Companies are not looking for waste management providers to tell them how to run their operations,” Dev Anand Dorasamy, Frost & Sullivan consultant, states. “Ideally, they would like their waste management providers to take an interest in their waste streams and actively help identify areas that can be streamlined further, as well as identify new recycling options for their waste.”
Another issue revealed by the study is the fact that companies typically rely on waste management providers’ data to monitor and track waste generation performance, however their standard practice of measurement is not always accurate, the study notes. To overcome this, companies are starting to use on-vehicle scales to accurately measure the weight of waste being removed from client facilities, according to the study.
The study has also identified a role that the government could play in reducing Australia’s industrial waste footprint. “There is an exciting initiative in the US and Europe called By-Product Synergy. Basically local governments are actively facilitating local manufacturers to share information about their material input and waste streams and helping identify potential synergies,” Dorasamy explains. “Given that Australia’s manufacturing zones typically tend to be clustered around certain areas, we believe there is strong potential for a similar initiative here.”
Study findings were based on in-depth interviews with a sample of environmental managers and directors, as well as operations managers at industrial companies across the country.