Read the key findings from the study here:
The aim of Upcycle Your Waste is to recycle residual waste flows from companies at a higher level, i.e. to reuse the material in a better way. This also includes reuse of products. Not only companies, but also public authorities can draw interesting lessons from this.
Upcycling starts with separating residual flows into fractions such as paper, plastics and so on. In order to gain a good insight into this, a large number of companies were interviewed about waste separation: what prevents them from separating, what stimulates them, and what help they need. What emerged from all those interviews was quite a surprise.
When asking about the quantities of residual flows (‘waste’), the bills were included. It turns out that quite a lot of bills are very vague in the description and that some were incorrect. First lesson: check your bills carefully and ask your waste collector questions about it…. We also learned about the prices for industrial waste; they differ considerably, up to 300 percent!
Second lesson: ask other collectors or service companies whether it can be cheaper.
Then the number of container emptyings was counted per week or month. This allowed us to estimate the amount of company waste. We asked about the loading of the containers before they were emptied: were they a quarter, half, three quarters or completely full? Often companies did not know this. Checking this, it turned out more than once that they had too many containers. Third lesson: find out how many containers you really need. A lot of containers are emptied, and the bill follows. Empty or not. Three lessons already, and we haven’t even gotten to upcycling yet.
When asked what would help companies to keep more waste streams separate, the answer most often mentioned was also quite sobering: companies that collect it, meaning waste collectors. More knowledge about which residual flows can be used is also welcome. The answer to the question of who should provide that extra help was the local government. Quite unusual, because industrial waste is arranged by collection companies and not by the government as is the case with household waste.
And the lessons for governments? Take a good look at the industrial waste in your own operational company. There is a lot to save. Organise the waste policy to proactively inform companies about the possibilities of better separating their waste flows. This not only leads to more cost savings, but also to more reuse of waste. And with that we are taking another step towards a circular world.