Commercial Waste Management

By Rob Binns | Senior Writer

What is Commercial Waste?

Wherever you go in the world, you’ll find businesses that are good at generating waste and bad at disposing of it.

American businesses are more wasteful than most. We get through millions of tons of paper, plastics, appliances, food waste and product packaging each year – and that’s just the non-hazardous stuff…

We also tend to overlook commercial waste management costs in our business plans. But with prices predicted to skyrocket by 2025, we can’t afford to ignore the issue any longer. Invest in a dedicated commercial waste solution to benefit now, and later on down the line.

If you’re new to commercial waste management, it’s best to start with the basics. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Read on to learn more, and find a commercial waste solution that works for you.

What is Commercial Waste?

Commercial waste consists of any waste generated by a business. It covers just about everything, from food scraps and office supplies to wastewater sludge and asbestos.

Your business waste mix might be similar to that of a typical household, just on a larger scale. Or, you might generate waste that’s specific to your industry – for example, demolition debris from construction. Different types of commercial waste have different disposal requirements that you, and your waste management supplier, need to be aware of.

Office recycling bins for commercial waste

Commercial waste takes many forms, from waste paper to waste water

Benefits of Commercial Waste Management

  • Save money: Waste management services can help you recycle more, cut your disposal costs, and improve your bottom line
  • Turn knowledge into action: Professional waste management consultants can advise you about ways to do business more efficiently
  • Streamline reporting: Track your waste management activities from a single platform and turn findings into reports for easy sharing with stakeholders
  • Enhance your green credentials: Manage waste, water and energy more efficiently to boost your company image, engage employees and attract quality clients

Can I Dispose of Commercial Waste Myself?

The short answer is yes, but the honest answer is that we don’t recommend it. As you’d imagine, strict rules govern how businesses must dispose of commercial waste. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the federal agency that enforces the regulations, distinguishes between hazardous and non-hazardous waste:

  • Non-hazardous waste is anything that doesn’t pose a risk to humans or the environment. While there’s no federal rule concerning methods of transport, each state has its own standards to comply with. There are also different types of landfills for different types of non-hazardous waste.
  • Hazardous waste, broadly speaking, is anything flammable, corrosive and/or toxic. It can only be stored in a special type of landfill, and transported using a vehicle approved by the Department of Transport (DOT). This type of waste is harder and to dispose of yourself.

On top of federal regulations, different states have their own rules for commercial waste disposal. After weighing up the risks and costs of disposing of hazardous waste, most businesses opt for a third party commercial waste management solution.

Commercial Waste Management Costs

How Much Does Commercial Waste Collection Cost?

If you hire a waste management company, collection costs vary according to:

  • How you need your waste to be collected
  • The volumes of waste you produce (dimensions and weight)
  • The types of waste you produce (solid/liquid, hazardous/non-hazardous, industrial)
  • The state(s) in which your business is based
  • The number and distribution of collection locations

As a result, every business can expect to pay a different amount for commercial waste collection. The best way to get an idea for how much you’ll pay is to compare tailored quotes from different companies. Use our free comparison shopping service for help getting quotes from top commercial waste management suppliers.

How Much Does Commercial Waste Disposal Cost?

Landfill sites charge tipping fees for every ton of waste they receive. In 2017, the nationwide average tipping fee for a ton of commercial waste was $51.82, but rates varied significantly by landfill size and region. Generally speaking, smaller landfills charge more per ton, you’ll pay more to dispose of waste in states where there’s less available landfill space.

If you handle waste management in-house, you’ll have to crunch the numbers yourself. Fortunately, waste management firms like Rubicon partner with landfill sites across the country to offer their clients preferential rates. So, if you opt to outsource commercial waste management, your supplier takes care of everything for you.

What Happens if Commercial Waste Is Dealt With Incorrectly?

Illegal dumping can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the state, the amount of waste, and whether or not it’s hazardous.

As well as the threat of jail time, state governments can issue fines for waste disposal violations. Fines for minor violations start at $50 per day, increasing to $50,000 per day for the most serious breaches.

In short, the EPA and state regulators don’t mess around when it comes to improper waste disposal.

Hiring a company to manage your waste is a sensible way to reduce the regulatory burden on your business and stay on the right side of the law.

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Rob Binns
Rob Binns Senior Writer
Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, social media monitoring, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.
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