What Should I Look for in a Recycling Vendor / Service Provider?
Selecting a service provider
1. ASK WHERE THEIR GLASS BOTTLES GO. You'll probably need to speak with a manager on this one. In fact, you may consider insisting. Many waste haulers will be very up front with you about not recycling the glass bottles that end up in their trucks. Glass holds little economic value as a recycled material, and it's heavy and breakable enough to pose a hazard to equipment and personnel, alike. Ask and you may be surprised to find out your bottles aren't going where you think they are.
2. ASK IF THEY'RE WILLING TO SIGN OUR PLEDGE AND POUR FORMS. Several local service providers are pre-approved by #RTBD. This doesn't mean that they're the only vendors you can contract with (#RTBD is open to all vendors); it just means that those providers been willing to sign our PLEDGE, have allowed our team to inspect their glass recycling process, and are proven to divert 90% or more of the bottles they receive from local landfills.
3. BE SKEPTICAL... AND LOGICAL. If a service provider doesn't spend time educating you and your staff about your recycling program, and they don't offer periodic reports detailing your performance (weights, materials, etc.), you have every right to wonder what's going on with your recyclables. If they don't require you to separate any of your recyclables or (worse yet) allow you to put food scraps and other "wet" items together with the dry stuff, that's double the reason for wonder.
4. READ REVIEWS. As with any other service these days, reading online reviews is a great way to gauge a company's reputation and performance prior to contracting them yourself. No company is perfect - misunderstandings happen all the time in any industry - but consistency is key when trying to figure out which company is most likely to fit your needs and expectations.
5. TAKE A TOUR. When in doubt, check 'em out! Schedule a tour with prospective service providers and see their practices for yourself. You'll come away with a better understanding of your program and the recycling process itself. Plus, visiting a recycling center can be fun and enlightening, as well as a neat team-building exercise for you and your staff.
6. AVOID LONG-TERM CONTRACTS. This is more of an opinion than our previous 5 tips, but it's worth noting since we're talking about what to look for in service providers. The recycling collection industry typically works on multi-year service agreements, and "early termination" penalties are common. Negotiating shorter terms (1-2 years or less) will give your service provider a built-in incentive to make sure your program is the best it can be... without penalty to you.