Are You Wasting Money on Condo Waste Management? Part Two

We took some time last month to dig into the details of condo waste management with special guest expert Mickey Pendergast – a Cost Reduction Expert at Schooley Mitchell, the largest independent cost reduction consulting firm in North America – to chat about what your condo board can do to lower costs and save money.

We took a high-level view of things last month, but today, we’re getting our hands dirty (waste management pun!) and digging deep into the details. 

Don’t Let These Five Great Cost Reduction Tips Go to Waste!

1. Review Those Contracts – No, Really!

This piece of advice is re-treading ground we’d covered during our last blog article on the subject of waste management cost reduction, but it bears repeating because it’s such an important part of bringing down those expenditures. 

Take some time to review your current waste management contract and really go through it with a fine-toothed comb. Look out for any red flags like auto-renew clauses that can cause your contract to be locked in for years without your explicit say-so. Get a sense of when your renewal is coming up so that you can work to leverage lower costs at a moment when the waste management company is eager to keep your business. In addition to things like base costs, even details like fuel surcharges, inflation caps, admin fees and more can be negotiated, all resulting in lowered costs (and sometimes even improved service from a waste management company that knows you’re paying attention) for you!

2. Bring in Some Bin Management

Outside of contract negotiation, another way to cut costs on waste management is through bin management across all your various services – garbage, recycling, and organics. 

“If you have the time and you’re onsite, get down there before the truck arrives on pick-up day and see how full your bins are,” Pendergast suggested. “If your bins are too full all the time, you’re likely getting hit with overage charges, so you might need to increase your pick-up frequency or add a bin or two. Conversely, if you’re finding that those bins are nearly empty each pick-up, maybe you can go from twice-weekly pick-ups to once-per-week. 

“Typically, bins should be about 75% full at time of pick-up,” Pendergast summed up for us. “Aim for that and you’ll be in a good spot.”

3. The Three R’s: Reduce Costs by Re-Examining Recycling

Going a bit deeper into the process of bin management, recycling bins in particular can be a great spot to recoup some green. 

“There can be big opportunities to cut costs around recycling,” Pendergast began, “because so often, residents just won’t break down materials. All of a sudden, you’ll find that your cardboard bin’s overflowing, even though there are only a handful of big, clunky boxes in there taking up all the space. 

“To tackle this issue, we recommend getting lids that can be locked closed, but that have a slot on the side so that boxes have to be broken down and flattened first. That way, the bin can hold three or four times as many boxes, and you’re not paying for extra bins or overages or additional pickups or anything like that. All those costs can start to balloon quite quickly – but they don’t have to if you’re on top of things and taking care of them properly.”

4. Put the Aces in Their Places – Particularly, When It Comes to Your Board

When it comes to cost expenditures – and, consequently, cost savings – the buck stops at your condo board. To this end, you want to be sure your boards making smart, savvy decisions that are always positioning you condo community for success. The rub here is that when it comes right down to it, a board’s only as impactful as its members – so you’ll want to be sure the right folks are on hand to make the right decisions. 

“It’s important to recognize that board members’ hearts are in the right place – they’re volunteering their time to try and make their community a better place, after all,” Pendergast acknowledged, “but it’s also important to acknowledge the limits of the board in terms of knowledge around everything from roofing to choosing a security system to waste management. If you’ve got that expertise, great! But if not, take the time to engage a trustworthy partner who does – either through your condo management company or by some other means.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

5. Come Together as a Condo Community

At the end of the day, any of these cost savings will only be as effective as your condo community is onboard. You can negotiate surcharges, cut costs, and bring in expert consulting advice, but if you’ve got community members who refuse to sort their refuse or can’t be bothered to get their trash inside the bin rather than beside it, you’ll continue to struggle with costs thanks to ongoing overage fees, contamination charges, and more. 

Get everyone onboard, though, and take Pendergast’s expert advice, and chances are you’ll be in for some substantial savings regarding waste management.

Thank you once again for taking the time to chat waste management cost savings with us today, Mickey Pendergast – we couldn’t be more grateful. If you’re looking for a hand in implementing some of these sorts of cost savings in your own condo community, don’t hesitate to reach out – give us a call at Catalyst Condo Manangement today!