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The 10 biggest problems facing the waste / recycling industry — and how to solve them

What are the major issues you’re facing? Is it finding and keeping good people? Excessive downtime? Or too many workplace injuries? For every problem there’s a solution. And only a strategic partner with strong waste/recycling experience, can help address these 10 industry pain points.

1. Poorly trained/managed employees

This is a common issue. Most recycling operations are affected sooner or later by poorly trained, under-motivated work staff. The fact is, many of these people have never been properly managed, and don’t understand the expectations or even the basics of their job. That’s why a reputable labor team supplier should always clearly explain job expectations and then actually manage workers. Employees are going to be happy because that’s what they really want, so that they can do a good job, and keep their job.

2. Employee retention

You know the feeling—you come in to work wondering how many employees won’t show up that day—and how that will ultimately affect your productivity. You feel like you’re always playing “catch-up.” To hold on to good people you need to go back to #1—training and managing employees the right way from day one. They also need hope, and that’s why it benefits you to promote from within.

3. Excessive downtime

This can definitely sap your productivity—and employee morale. That’s why each employee should be accountable for their time. They should be ready to go to work, not just punching their timecard, when the machinery is first turned on. Simple procedural changes such as minimizing lengthy phone calls, long lunch breaks and unexplained absences can give you back hours of productive time that were previously lost.

4. Overcoming language/cultural issues

Different cultures speaking multiple languages—that’s the reality of today’s world. Smart workforce suppliers often actively recruit people from throughout the world. They may need to may need to have operations managers who can speak their language. However, this extra effort ultimately pays off with hard working employees.

5. Recruiting employees in areas with low unemployment

With today’s national unemployment rate hovering around 5%, it’s a real challenge to fill all of your available openings. Labor team leaders often do much of the hiring at the actual worksite, not a storefront. This allows prospects to see the setup firsthand and find out if it’s right for them. Another smart solution: recruiting backup pools to fill available openings as soon as they become available.

6. Lack of industry expertise

Nothing beats specific hands-on waste/recycling industry experience. It begins with the equipment. Operations managers need to know how machinery works and how to keep it running. Sometimes a quick fix is all it takes. People skills are equally important. A strong operations manager has to have the respect of the workforce and deal effectively with people with personal and work-related challenges.

7. Poor or nonexistent processes

This is another big industry issue. Without consistent processes, your operation is going to be an under-performer. Look for workforce providers that offer process-driven expertise which streamlines the hiring, on-boarding, training, development and performance measurement of each employee. This lets you focus on the “big picture” issues that will drive your success.

8. Proper employee placement

It sounds simple, but just having employees at the right spot on the line can make a major difference in your productivity. A seasoned manager will observe the speed of the conveyer belt, quality of the recyclables, and the number of available people. There are many variables involved, and operations managers with specific waste/recycling industry experience are best equipped to maximize employee performance.

9. Overcoming poor-quality recyclables

Recyclable quality depends largely on geographic location. For example, Seattle and the rest of the Pacific Northwest is ecologically conscious and the quality of their recyclable materials is generally very high. The quality elsewhere in the country can vary greatly. These days you’ll see just about everything moving down the line, including the kitchen sink. Some of these items (especially garden hoses) can actually get wrapped around equipment and cause real damage. Having knowledgeable onsite operations managers and well trained employees will help you maintain productivity even when the quality of recyclables is low.

10. Improving safety performance

There are significant safety challenges facing the waste/recycling industry. They include chemical exposure, combustible dust explosions, machine guarding hazards, and exposure to powerful equipment with moving parts. Industry leaders always offer a proactive safety approach which begins with an intensive safety compliance audit at every plant and extends to rigorous safety training for all employees to get safety levels up where they need to be.

Looking for strong solutions to your own waste/recycling problems? Contact Leadpoint at (800) 552-3136.

36 Responses to “The 10 biggest problems facing the waste / recycling industry — and how to solve them”

  • KOD BOB says:

    THANK YOU ALL FOR SAVING THE WORLD

  • Dorothy says:

    Thank you very much. This info helped.

  • Alexa says:

    We need to recycle more or the world will end! ergo these people need to be thanked and givin’ raises.

  • Vernadith says:

    Thank you so much this info helped.

  • Colin S says:

    We need to build faith in the process, recycling of plastics specifically. Most of us have no clue what happens to the plastic bags we put in the recycle box at grocery stores. We need more bottle bills for #1-5, plastics, we would pay a small deposit on each container, bag etc. The #5 plastics are not even accepted where I have lived in the South.

  • Balu Bhanudas Awile says:

    Important points. Thanks !

  • Richard Alan Dumakowski says:

    Yes i believe we need to recycle more than ever now before its to late

  • Julie Cline says:

    Very interesting information, all of them definitely sound smart and logical. Would love to work for this company sounds like a good place to work I am a team player and very motivated like to keep busy and perform at my best at all times, Safety First.

  • KOD BOB, Dorothy, Alexa, Kevin, Vernadith, Colin, Balu, Richard, and Julie. I am sorry but I don’t agree with any of you. Read this article and you’ll see why:

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/more-recycling-wont-solve-plastic-pollution/

    Just type it into your search bar because it won’t let me make it a link.

  • Betty says:

    Thanks mate

  • Jose Gilberto arevalo says:

    Is important to know about recycling so we can do properly

  • Jose Gilberto arevalo says:

    People dont take seriously recycling

  • Mapula Phaleng says:

    I am really impressed with the whole process or recycling, you are really doing a good job!
    Keep it up !

  • Michael J Hawkins says:

    I am a very hard worker and i will do my job with pride

  • Michael J Hawkins says:

    Thank u

    • Leadpoint Moderator says:

      Michael, we would welcome the opportunity to talk to you and try to put you to work. We ask you to please call or email our recruiters. We have also provided your email to the recruiting team. Contact our recruiting team at 855-801-1741 or email us at recruiting@leadpointusa.com. Thank you!

  • Dumpster Bin says:

    I just read a great article you posted on your blog! I really enjoyed it. You have some really interesting thoughts and insights into the waste/recycling industry. Your post was professional, informative, and well-written – I especially liked how you mentioned that “most recycling operations are affected sooner or later by poorly trained, under-motivated workers.”

  • john says:

    Very helpful thankyou

  • Raïssa Kamarayika says:

    This is very impressive!!you’re doing a good job!keep on doing so.

  • I didn’t realize that the recycling industry lacks professional manpower to operate equipment and deal with the workforce to create efficiency. Because of this, industrial companies acquiring the services should not take them for granted. f I am doing business in this industry, I would appreciate how the system works to make resources more stainable and increase business profitability as well.

  • Arjaul Hoque says:

    Thanks

  • Edward S. says:

    Thanks for posting an awesome article. I came across it the other day and now I can’t stop thinking about how important safety is in my industry.
    In fact, as a manufacturer of safety equipment we have been committed to providing our customers with a comprehensive approach towards meeting their compliance obligations. This includes an intensive initial audit at every plant followed by rigorous training for all employees to maintain a high level of awareness and safe practices on site. Don’t let your competitors get ahead with higher levels of compliance just because they have better access to information on what’s required!
    I’d love to chat with you more about how you manage your workforce in regards to safety performance…

  • Jeff Carbine says:

    I like it when you mentioned that most recycling operations are affected sooner or later by poorly trained, under-motivated work staff. Our business office has been keeping trash from replaced equipment for years. Now it’s time to dispose of them properly. I will be contacting garbage removal services soon.

  • It was interesting to hear that under-motivated and under-trained workers influence most recycling operations at some point. It was a pleasure to read your content. I eagerly await your next post!

  • Thanks for the information.

  • Siddharth says:

    This is literally a very good thing It helped me in all directions.

  • I agreed when you stated that recyclable quality relies greatly on geographic surroundings. My friend mentioned that their work needs plastic processing solutions to ensure they don’t damage the environment. I think depending on a recycling company is the best option they should take to achieve their goals.

  • Terry says:

    Lets all hope one day our earth would have no more waste

  • Tim cook says:

    Thanks for sharing these challenges during waste management industry. These information very helpful to grow customer services with collaboration
    of cloud technology software solution.
    !!!world 2022!!! https://bit.ly/3za3zvX

  • Shellie L Hubbard says:

    I look forward to employment with a team devoted to preforming and remaining knowledgeable to be the best we can be in safety performance and efficancy improving overall for every one. I have 15 years in hands on.

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