WastePlan: Reducing waste management costs

Submitted by: Jonathan Ramayia, Monday, March 11, 2013

“By doing waste management properly, it will save you money”, says Bertie Lourens, Managing Director of WastePlan, a national waste management company with operations in Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria, who are specialists in managing commercial and industrial waste.  WastePlan offers a holistic system where waste is firstly, managed onsite to reduce the amount of waste entering the waste stream and ending up in the landfill and secondly, where useful waste is then removed from the site and sold to buyers.

A WastePlan recycling facility where unwanted waste is collected and then sold to willing buyers (Source: WastePlan)

“Because of our footprint and place in the industry, we have the muscle to negotiate returns on behalf of our clients. We physically do the job of managing waste for the client. We do collection of recyclable material and take them to our factories for them to be sold to buyers from our extensive network”. Over the years WastePlan has worked on building a network of buyers, both locally and internationally. Lourens explains that the process of building the network is continuous, because the more buyers that are added to the network, the greater the chance of being able to sell the useful waste material on behalf of their client.

Much of the useful waste generated from WastePlan’s clients includes cardboard, plastic, cans and glass. “These typical recyclables are sold or reworked into new products which are sold locally or to China and India”, explains Lourens. In terms of the less obvious waste that is generated like food type waste, liquid waste, and compostable organic matter Lourens says that this is a more complex process, “we handle the re-use or disposal on a case-by-case basis. But again, … as experts we should be able to handle this on behalf of the client. Some production facilities produce hazardous waste and we are also able to take responsibility of this waste stream on their behalf”.

Waste Audit

WastePlan offers a free waste audit to prospective clients who wish to procure their services, “we send a person from our team to meet the potential client’s operations representative, who then shows us how they generate their waste and how it leaves their site“, says Lourens.  Once Waste Plan has this information they analyse current waste disposal to determine if it is legally compliant and financially efficient and use this information to make a proposal regarding future waste management for the client.    Once the contract is in place WastePlan begins the tasks of deploying their staff members to site to “clean up the work space” and do onsite cleaning and sorting.

Successful Case Studies

One of WastePlan’s most successful clients is in the food and beverage industry located in Cape Town. Previously the company was spending up to R50, 000 per month on waste removal and management at one of their food factories.  After waste plan implemented their waste management system, the company reduced their waste costs to zero and in addition to that started earning revenue between R20, 000 – R30, 000 per month from re-sale of useful waste.

Another WastePlan client, a distribution centre of a Gauteng retailer, had net waste management costs of R30, 000 a month.  After a WastePlan intervention a net income of between R10, 000 and R20, 000 per month was achieved including the fee charged by WastePlan.  

 “A net income is not possible for everyone and usually the larger companies are able to turn a profit”, cautions Lourens.

Some of the main industries that can benefit from improved waste management services are: manufacturing plants, food factories, hospitals, wine farms, distribution centres, shopping malls, office blocks, hotels and restaurants.  Large events can also benefit from waste management services. 

Electronic monitoring and documentation of waste

WastePlan goes a step further in managing waste by documenting their clients’ entire waste streams in a manner that complies with the SABS’ Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCPP) as well as the ISO 140001 standards. “Integrated reporting is becoming the norm. Companies are required to report on waste as a broader series of other reporting areas including on the environment, people and profit. Waste reporting has been coming for quite some time”, explains Lourens.

A useful tool employed by WastePlan that allows a seamless and automated reporting system for waste is the electronic waste system where waste is weighed and recorded on a daily basis. The information is then fed into WastePlan’s web-based reporting platform that allows each client to log in to their secure profile. Users are then able to download information on their various waste streams as well as their water and energy consumption stats, all on one platform.  

Contributing to waste reduction in South Africa

South Africa generates 108 million tonnes of waste annually, of which 98 million tonnes end up in municipal landfills. Landfills are the source of toxic pollution and methane gas which has been identified as one of the six prevalent gases responsible for global warming.    “We want to establish a recycling culture in business so companies will waste less. Through our experience, we find that the best ways to manage waste is to start at the point of generation and this is what we are trying to achieve”, says Bertie Lourens, managing director of WastePlan

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Jonathan Ramayia