Whether you're a restaurant collecting hundreds of drink cans a day in your trash cans or a steel fabrication firm, you can reclaim a surprising amount of money by recycling your scrap metal. Of course, recycling useful construction and manufacturing waste also helps the environment as well as your bottom line. Improve your workplace's waste management efficiency without stressing your employees by setting up a complete scrap metal reclaiming system.
Talk to Accounting
Since you're likely to start earning money back from some of your waste instead of spending more to send it to a landfill, you'll need to balance the books to include the extra profit. Your accountant can let you know if you need the invest the scrap metal funds back into the business to keep your current tax rate. The financial department will also help you decide how to record each load you send off to the recycling firm and organize the receipts of what you earn back.
Appoint Area Leaders
Figure out which parts of your business generate lucrative forms of metal for recycling, such as stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. Give each section its own recycling leader to coordinate the collection and organization of the scrap metal produced in the area. Ask for volunteers to make sure the leaders don't mind the extra work. Consider offering a monthly reward or small stipend for taking on the responsibility.
Set Up Safe Storage
Large chunks of metal and bags full of aluminum cans pose safety hazards to your workers unless you store the scrap properly until you can deliver a load to the recycling company like Pure Metal Recycling. Start by asking your chosen recycling partner if they can provide metal storage bins for free or for a small fee. If not, try buying your own containers like:
- Roll-off metal dumpsters, which included hard plastic or rubber lids to keep stacked material from falling out.
- A locking shed with sturdy shelves to hold big pieces of metal and protect against thieves.
- Upright circular containers designed for organized batteries, cans, and other small pieces of metal.
- Collapsible wire cubes that fold up to save storage space when you're low on scrap metal to store.
Set up at least one container for each type of metal you produce. Label all the containers clearly to prevent mixing and to keep trash from getting tossed in with the metal.
Write Protocols to Prevent Contamination
While metal manufacturing companies may produce a clean stream of metal ready for recycling, most businesses end up with food, motor oil, and other waste mixed in with their valuable materials. Set up a plan for cleaning the metal and keeping it clean that doesn't distract your employees from their other responsibilities. For example, the janitorial staff can make sure to pour out any extra soda left in the cans they're sorting before putting them in the final collection container for delivery.
Reduce Metal Waste
Aside from collecting your valuable scrap and recycling it to save money, look for ways to tighten up your business practices to cut waste in the first place. Make changes like moving to cold forming or buying drinks in bulk instead of canned products to tighten up your waste stream. Reducing the amount of extra time your employees spend on recycling maximizes the return you make on each load of metal.
Don't forget about providing safety equipment to the workers who will handle the scrap metal directly. Gloves and safety glasses protect your team from the sharp edges of cooled slag and industrial-sized food can lids. You'll find your employees are more eager to take part in the recycling program when you make it safe and easy for them to do it.