Recycling and waste disposal has become a major industry. It is no longer simply a matter of collection and dumping into landfill. Today waste is treated as a valuable resource and the output from the sorting plant is baled and shipped out to various approved destinations.
And as in the case of all businesses, it is the ability to manage operational costs that is the key to a profitable and sustainable future. For J&B Recycling of Hartlepool the fuel bill for running its fleet of refuse collection vehicles was a major factor in delivering a competitive service.
“We were able to obtain a discounted price for diesel by using fuel cards but it wasn’t until we installed our own storage tank, that we realised the full benefits of purchasing at bulk prices,” explains Transport and Logistics manager, Victor Ross.
“Purchasing in bulk allowed us to negotiate a far better price. The depot pump is also saving time as it is more convenient for the drivers than having to queue at busy filling stations.”
[quote]Purchasing in bulk allowed us to negotiate a far better price. The depot pump is also saving time as it is more convenient for the drivers than having to queue at busy filling stations.[/quote]
“The most important advantage however is the control it gives us. The storage tank was supplied as a complete package, incorporating a Merridale diesel dispenser monitoring unit and management reporting software. The installation was integrated with the existing gas-oil tank, enabling us to monitor both road diesel and the gas-oil used for the workshop plant and materials handling machines.
Previously J&B relied on plant operators to enter details of gas-oil usage into a manual log book. These entries would then have to be reconciled against purchases and then keyed into a computer to update the cost accounting process. This was not only time consuming but it was also prone to omissions and human error.
With the Merridale system each machine has a dedicated key, which is used to access the fuel in the same way as the road going vehicles. Details of every transaction, the vehicle or machine identity and amount drawn are now recorded automatically.
“It is this visibility that enables J&B to control its costs,” says Victor Ross. “We can track which vehicle and the amount of fuel drawn and assign the fuel costs incurred against specific contracts.”
“Fuel usage is now closely monitored and analysed to provide different reporting requirements. We are using around 7,000 litres of fuel a week and by purchasing this at bulk prices we have achieved a saving of around 2p a litre. Over year that amounts to a saving of some £7,280 more than enough to cover this investment.
“On top of that we are saving the equivalent of about a day a month in administration costs for checking the card account invoices and updating the computer records.
“All this information is now recorded automatically and the record will state how much fuel has been used by any particular vehicle.
Victor continues, “The system has also been set to prevent mistakenly cross fuelling plant with white diesel.
Currently the J&B Recycling fleet comprises thirty vehicles using white diesel, including company cars. Ten keys have been allocated for plant using gas-oil. The diesel tank was supplied by Neil Vessey who recommended the Merridale pump and FuelFX software for management reports.
J&B Recycling services have a wide reach in the north east of England. As well as collections, the company operates two Material Recycling Facilities (MRF), processing domestic recyclable waste from as far away as the Borders and Fife. The company also serves a number of local authorities including Redcar Council, Stockton Council and Hartlepool Council.
J&B also runs three Household Waste Recycling Centres for local councils. All these operations are highly regulated and local authorities insist on strict codes of practice. Licenses are required for recycling and carrying waste. All commercial vehicles also require an operator’s licence. These include skips and a roll on/offs which are used for internal work as well as customer requirements.
In the MRF all the waste materials are sorted into relevant components, paper, glass, plastic, metal – all of which are then recycled.
The company also provides a commercial waste management service catering for all sizes of business from SMEs to large corporations. A lot of this material previously went to landfill or incineration. But increasingly this is no longer an economic solution as landfill costs have escalated.
Victor Ross concludes by saying: “Everything we do today involves a cost in some form or another. Ultimately this has concentrated minds and pushed people into doing the right thing.”