The 5 most common mistakes a company makes when recycling its waste

24 October, 2018

After 20 years offering recycling services in Guatemala we have seen how easy it is for a company to fall into common mistakes that decrease its profitability, increase the time involved by its staff, put the industrial safety of your company at risk and of course damage the environment. We want to share with you this practical guide that we hope can help your company:



The most important mistake lies in the companies' ignorance of the materials they have in their yard of scrap, scrap metal, garbage dump, etc. Each company calls in a different way to the space they designate for the collection of waste and that the recycler or they themselves withdraw and this may also be one of the reasons why they do not know what materials, how much of each one they dispose of and how often . We have to be honest with the amount of energy and approach that companies give to waste, companies do not live off the sale of waste (it is not their Core Business) Therefore it is understandable that there are certain oversights in their handling. Understanding what we dispose of and making the correct separation of waste can save us time and money as well as taking care of the environment.

Here are two examples that can better show some of the errors:

  • Metals, all metals do not have the same value in the recycling market; those of greater value are always the non-ferrous ones such as copper, bronze, aluminum, some stainless steels and then, the ferrous ones commonly called scrap metal. In a waste yard it is important that they be classified, since between one material and another there may be a difference of up to 30 times in their prices per pound.
  • Chip, In many metalworking companies, unfortunately every time they work on a material, the waste of the same (chip) does not separate it from the previous one, when at the end of the day the chip of the different materials is gathered and it is intended to be sold, they are given with the surprise that the chip is contaminated and it is a titanic job to separate it. Why separate it? To give you an idea, the bronze chip is worth 22 times more than the iron in the market, if you had iron chip mixed with bronze chip, it is most likely that the price to pay is very close to iron, that is , your waste lost value.



A waste can have positive recycling value, that is, the company can earn by selling the material to be recycled or negative when the company must pay the recycler for the handling of the material. The vast majority of industrial wastes have international prices which are associated with the metal that participates most in the waste or its main raw material. For example, the price of bronze will be guided by the price of Copper, nickel-free, lead acid batteries for the value of lead, etc. Companies can check online international prices in different pages such as Kitco, LME, among others, and in this way they can know if their waste is being valued in the right way. Negotiating based on international prices is a very safe, fair and 100% auditable way for companies; Thus, in this way you can make an informed decision and know why that value is paid for the waste. Another important aspect when negotiating with recyclers is the distance at which the material is located (Company Facilities to Recycling Facilities or final disposal site). Keep in mind that the cost of transportation goes hand in hand with the fuel. Another aspect to consider is the difficulty of loading, often due to the disorder in the waste yard, the load is much slower and it is even necessary for the recycler to carry heavy machinery for loading, this for obvious reasons decreases the value of waste materials.


  • Environmental license, The first thing that a responsible company must request from its recycler is a current environmental license issued by the MARN (Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources) and for greater security the resolution of the MARN that is used to request the license.
  • Final disposition, Prior to having negotiated prices, whether the company pays for the recycling service or the recycler pays for the materials, it must know what will happen with the waste that the recycler removes, this is called the “final disposal”.
  • Batch Traceability, Serious recyclers have a batch traceability system, that is, they can know exactly at what stage the materials removed from the company are: Collection, Initial Transportation, Production and Final Transportation.
  • Recycling Certificate, At the end of the recycling work, the recycler must issue a recycling certificate, indicating the types of recycled materials and quantities. This certificate must include the environmental license of the recycler, as well as the signature of the responsible executive.
  • Recycler Facilities, there is nothing better to understand a company than to visit it, so it is very important that companies take the time to see what happens with the materials they dispose of, who handle it, what safety standards they use, do employees use EPP (Personal Protective Equipment)? Do they really do what they say? Making an inspection of your recycler's facilities can clarify very well how your company's waste is being handled.



Formal recycling companies should have a presentation that describes when they perform the service, how are their processes, what companies do they work with, etc. It is very easy for a professional recycler to share the name and position of the people who handle the waste of the material supplying companies so that at first hand they think about the service of the recycler, what are its strengths and areas of improvement. When there is a payment in between, there are several modalities that can be used: when the withdrawal of lots is periodic, many times an amount that supports the average of the collections can be paid into the company account and in this way it is created a checking account that feeds on credits and discounts for sales invoices. If the company will give credit to the recycler in any way, it is important that they request their bank information and business references.



There are recyclers who only seek to take "the meat" and leave the "bone", in colloquial terms. Many times a company can have a lot with high value materials mixed with others that have low value or even negative value, hence the importance that at the time of loading is present the staff of your company and see that from the beginning you are loading the low value material. Preferably, the last collection trip is to remove the most valuable material. It is important that the recycler describes how the work plan will be and that any change of plans is reported. Another recommendation in this regard is that the recycler must physically or electronically view all the materials to be removed in that lot because sometimes companies vary the list of materials to be previously negotiated, because they did not deregister the assets on time, or because The Head of Maintenance says that he will use some of the materials designated as waste or even because another area decided to add more materials to the list. In all these occasions the negotiation must be reviewed, higher costs of transport, personnel, etc. can originate. or on the contrary decrease them. In both scenarios it is important that both the company and the recycler are clear what they will take and what not, before the day of loading.


Source: Bruno García, General Manager of Scrapex.



es_GT en_GB