The Trash Blog

The Landfill Free Garbage Company

Just because something is called garbage, doesn’t mean it’s useless. When a company that Sustainable Waste Solutions (SWS, who also style themselves “The Landfill Free Company”) had a contract with called a tractor trailer load of cling wrap garbage, SWS hauled it away, put it on Ebay and sold it for a chunk.

Randall and Dieter

Randall Hendricks and Dieter Scheel were kind enough to invite us down to their yard to have a look at how SWS deals with waste.

We met with Randall Hendricks and Dieter Scheel, the founder-CEO and VP of Sustainable Waste Solutionsm (SWS). They showed us around their facility in Souderton, Pennsylvania, which had a local feel.

With a single truck, they began in 2008 as a specialty waste company, primarily handling pharmaceutical waste. Now, in 2013, they have 17 trucks and are hauling municipal solid waste for businesses that range from universities to chocolate manufacturers.

What are all those things

SWS is often contracted to dispose of items that would otherwise be useful. These glass jars were going to be destroyed because they had not been kept hermetically sealed. It makes me wish I had a good use for tiny little glass jars.

What particularly interested me in SWS was their ability to recognize the value in waste. Too often, an item is designated waste by a company or industry, perhaps because of a company policy or regulation that restricts the company from using it (hygiene standards for food-packaging, or contaminant standards in the pharmaceutical industry), or because it is not something they have an immediate use for (a production line is shut down), or for many other reasons. Often, a large waste company will blindly accept the waste designation and dispose of it. That’s what they are paid for. SWS is able to see that waste doesn’t have to be wasted.

Compostables

SWS is kind of like the luxury line of garbage companies. These are their compostables containers. Not only do the containers have four wheels for better handling, they are made of a sturdier material than the average garbage tote and come with twist locks on their gasket-sealed lids to keep interested critters from investigating.

In addition to their nimble efforts to find uses for their customers’ unwanted items, SWS is hoping to brand their “Landfill Free” concept, envisioning companies paying for a landfill-free certification.

Being “landfill-free” raises an interesting conversation: if you aren’t going to bury anything in a landfill, what are you going to do with all the stuff that you can’t find a use for? The answer is to use the same trick as most people who subscribe to the idea of Zero Waste: burn it in an incinerator that recovers electricity from the waste, so you can state that you are not letting anything go to waste.

While incineration reduces the mass of your garbage, in almost every case I’ve heard about, you still end up with something that needs to be landfilled.

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This entry was written by Philip and published on October 9, 2013 at 3:15 pm. It’s filed under Advertising, Businesses, Incinerators, Landfills and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “The Landfill Free Garbage Company

  1. Uncle Chris on said:

    Excellent. . .

    So, even if our waste is incinerated, the ash may still go to the dump and we also emit gases that could damage the atmosphere.

    This seems an excellent place to begin to understand the diminishing returns associated with alternate forms of disposal.

    In a way I was kind of expecting that there might be a paragraph in here suggesting that some items are forced to be disposed because of governemnt regulation, when they might otherwise be reused or recycled. . . . .

    However, this is another thought inspiring piece.

    The Trash Blog is great!

  2. Catherine on said:

    Agree, Trash Blog is great. We need more SWS guys in the world- their creativity in the face of garbage is great. Trying to figure out little ways I can do what they do/ participate with them. Thanks for blogging to keep me thinking.

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