Hey Grinder Guy: How do I process to reduce my waste stream?

I am assuming you are trying to reduce your processing, hauling or disposal costs, so I will answer accordingly. This also applies to any operation that has to dispose of a lot of other materials, like auto shredding, metal scrap or C&D.

The first thing I would do is evaluate the composition of the residue.
• Have you done a composition study?
• What is the weight of the material per yard?
• What is the majority of material in the waste stream?
• What are the other materials in the waste stream?

Next, I would ask: What is your major objective? Is to generate revenue, reduce disposal cost or eliminate 100 percent of waste?

How do you pay for disposal, by weight or by the volume? Most MSW landfills are by weight and most C&D landfills are volume.

Do you have the space or money to add more equipment?

I am assuming processing or grinding at your location is not an issue and permits are already held.

Let’s use an example of a waste stream, which you can change the name of each material to suite your current products. Take C&D material in general, which can be easily sorted and recycled.
• Dirt — Used for fill, but need to truck somewhere if you cannot get enough customers to pickup
• Metal — Magnets are readily available, easily used and are automated
• Concrete — Crush it yourself with your own or a rental crusher or ship to concrete recycler
• Drywall — Easily reduced, can be ground and screened and used on farms — but not many options
• Cardboard — Bailed or sent to cardboard recycler
• Wood — Ground and used many ways
• Plastic — Various types but easily ground and there are many different recyclers
• Other — Try to make this 10 percent or less

So what do you do?
• Dispose? — Depends on volume and cost
• Recycle? — Depends on how much equipment purchase cost for the return on product

The costs are easily figured as well as the returns, but you would need several avenues for each product just in case.

I always say when purchasing a grinder, make the size sufficient to handle 90 percent-plus of your materials. The other 5-10 percent, large stumps or large diameter logs for example, may need a much larger or additional separate piece of equipment to handle recycling and the cost of purchase versus the return is not justified. So disposal may be much easier and less costly decision.

So what do you do? — Begin a composition study.

Identify each material disposal options. Do you need to reduce weight or volume?

Are you looking to generate revenue or reduce costs?
• Identify cost of Recycling equipment

What materials can be processed with automated equipment like a magnet?

What are the returns for each product?

What is the majority of materials that can be processed and will this be sufficient?

Spend the time to find more disposal options, processed or unprocessed and decide if more people and equipment can generate enough revenue to provide a return. Just breaking even does not provide you with a rise in future costs or dip in material sale revenue.

Before you purchase any equipment, get a demonstration and find out exactly what your process recovery or reduction will be. Try to find any new specialty equipment for your waste stream. There is always a company that caters to your type of waste that may give you different ideas of processing, material sales or disposal. You need exact numbers for cost and processing as well as disposal, reduction and recovery.

You can always call the Grinder Guy for help. Good Luck.

Dave Whitelaw    The GrinderGuy     GrinderGuy@AsktheGrinderGuy.com

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