Overcoming Common C-store Waste Management Challenges

For busy convenience store operators, developing and executing an effective waste management strategy can be overwhelming. Whether you’re running a few convenience stores or have locations nationwide, you have a great deal of responsibility to keep your operations running smoothly.

While it may not always fall at the top of the priority list, waste management is a critical component of your business. Juggling working with multiple vendors to negotiate contracts, coordinate pickups and manage the paperwork that comes along with it can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Add to that any challenges that arise along the way — from missed pickups to trash overflow — and you’ve got a true mess on your hands.

Working with a managed waste service provider can save you time, money and stress by identifying waste needs, boosting efficiencies and using the latest technology to help you have a clear snapshot of your waste management program, no matter how many locations you have.

Here are some of the most common waste challenges and how working with a managed waste service provider can help you get a better handle on your waste management program:

Missed or infrequent pickups leading to trash overflow

Garbage and recycling materials can pile up quickly, resulting in dangerous and unsightly conditions for customers and employees. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common is missed or infrequent hauler pickups.

For example, perhaps your hauler comes every Thursday to pick up your trash, but for one reason or another didn’t show up this week. Or maybe you only have pickups scheduled on a biweekly basis and you’re experiencing consistent trash overflow issues. This then adds extra time into your busy day to call and work out next steps with your trash vendor(s).

A managed waste service provider can help tackle this challenge by taking care of it directly. Working for you, the provider will touch base with the waste hauler to ensure the issue is corrected in a timely manner.

Equipment is not sufficient for waste needs

Trash overflow doesn’t just occur because of missed or infrequent pickups. Another major reason for overflow is not having the proper equipment for the amount of waste your store is producing. On the flip side, maybe your challenge is you’re spending more money on equipment that’s larger than you need.  

Every business produces waste, but not all waste is created equal. Most convenience stores produce significant amounts of recyclables and organic waste, yet many only budget for trash collection. This one-size-fits-all strategy is bad for the environment and could be hurting your bottom line.

For example, if your store has an overflow of pallets that have piled up over time, there are vendors that offer pallet recycling programs. These programs aim to dispose of pallets so they’re 100 percent recyclable, ensuring nails are extracted and wood is fully salvaged into reusable resources, such as mulch or biofuel for heating.

Adjusting your waste management services to match the amount and type of waste your store is producing will help you better understand your waste streams and the proper equipment needed. When you right-size correctly, you’ll only pay for the services you need.

Dealing with too many vendors

Convenience is the name of the game, especially when it comes to waste management. With so many day-to-day operational duties begging for your attention, managing a variety of waste management vendor services can make your head spin. If you own multiple convenience stores, you may have to coordinate with several haulers at the same time, leading to increased labor and paperwork.

Working with a managed waste service provider can consolidate your services into one single point of contact. Consolidating your services means one vendor, one monthly invoice, and one point of contact. The provider manages all key aspects of your waste program so that you can spend more time focusing on your store.

Not understanding waste streams

The key to a streamlined waste management strategy begins with an audit of your current services and amount of waste production. This will help you better understand what kind of and how much waste you’re producing and what the proper method of disposing such waste would be. The next step is a tracking system that will consistently deliver reporting and analytics about your waste program.

Reporting and analytics take the hassle out of your waste management program by making it smarter and more efficient. Waste management software simplifies and consolidates the process, allowing you to monitor and track things like container fullness, scheduled hauls, pickup and return status, activity logs and much more.

With a customized waste and recycling solution in place, you can better understand your waste spend, ongoing program statistics and service insights. This will help you ensure that your program is more efficient and cost effective for every store you own.

Michael Hess is founder, president and CEO of Waste Harmonics.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News