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A medium-sized city in southern Ontario needed a reliable vendor to manage the end-of-life recycling of household electronic waste generated by residents. The city operates three transfer stations that accept household WEEE (waste electronics and electrical equipment) from residents at no cost. There is no curbside pickup program for electronics in this municipality and the city collected 1.5 million pounds of e-waste from its transfer stations in 2018.
The Need for a Solution
The client was dissatisfied with the service received from their incumbent electronics recycling provider for two reasons: drop-off hours at the vendor’s facility were not sufficiently flexible and there were problems with the consistent payment of recycling rebates.
The three municipal transfer stations were busy enough that even a few hours delay in dropping off bins with their vendor caused an overflow.
Additionally, the municipality needed a processor who would allow them to use the trucks from the municipal transportation network and who was able to receive drop offs outside of normal receiving hours. To avoid the heavy traffic of the Greater Toronto Area where the municipality is located, the drivers preferred to deliver around 6 AM or, occasionally, after 5 PM.
The municipality needed a recycling partner that was flexible, responsive and reliable.
Choosing the Vendor
Since the previous vendor was unable to accommodate last minute changes in schedule, did not have flexible facility hours and did not always have the manpower to offload a delivery immediately, it was crucial that this issue be avoided when selecting a new vendor.
As part of the process, the representatives from the municipality visited a short list of candidate facilities, one of which was Quantum. Quantum answered questions and detailed their industry credentials including R2 and OES (Ontario Electronic Stewardship) certifications. As a final step, the municipality did a trial run with Quantum on a non-contracted basis. Quantum’s willingness to work on a handshake agreement and overall flexibility throughout this process is what, in part, led the municipality to sign a multi-year contract several months later.
In order to provide the best possible service, Quantum needed to fully understand the run rate at each municipally-run transfer station. After determining the frequency and volume of donations at each of the sites, Quantum connected the respective logistics teams to ensure processes and expectations were clear.
Once the logistics piece was solved and the delivery schedule set, Quantum assisted with the OES onboarding procedures (registration on MTS and other procedures) and approval of the municipal sites. Quantum walked the customer through the account setup and registration process and ensured full compliance along the way.
The Solution in Action
At the transfer station, municipal employees consolidated e-waste into 40-yard roll offs and shipped them to Quantum for processing. Quantum has full capability to receive the municipality’s material no matter the size or format of the delivery. This included LTL (less than trailer load), FTL (full trailer load) or 40-yard roll offs. They also offered inside dumping rather than outside in a yard, a situation that was preferable in the winter months.
This enabled the municipality to arrive and depart within 20 minutes, a huge improvement from their previous vendor.
The municipality preferred to use their transportation assets and wanted a set schedule because they knew their volume flow. They chose a delivery schedule of Tuesdays and Thursdays at a time when their trucks were available. From the floor where the mixed material was dumped, Quantum employees sorted it by type and sent it on to the processing areas. The material was on its way to be recycled within 24 hours of receipt.
Since the municipality had encountered payment problems with their previous vendor, Quantum knew they had to deliver on their promise of timely payment. Quantum’s credibility with the customer grew with each passing Friday when funds would arrive in the municipal account on time and as promised. Quantum provided clear, detailed statements that showed the customer exactly how their rebate was determined.
The municipality has been very happy with the service provided by Quantum. Previously, the municipality was able to deliver only one container at a time. Quantum promised and delivered operational efficiencies with flexible, non-traditional drop-off hours and the ability to accept two collection bins at the same time. The customer is happy because their trucks are reliably back and ready for redeployment on delivery days. They now make half the number of trips compared to their previous contract. This has reduced overtime and has contributed to more efficient hourly usage of their vehicles.
Clayton Miller, Vice-President Business Development for Quantum Lifecycle Partners, notes that accepting double the number of loads from the municipality was not part of the municipality’s original ask but rather an additional benefit.
He says this is why onboarding tours are so important. It was during the tour of Quantum’s facility that the municipal team noticed the size of the dump pit and asked if they could deliver the containers tandem.
In advance of significant upcoming changes to provincial waste legislation with the passage of the Circular Economy Act, Miller notes that beginning in July 2020, there will be a new funding structure in place and the OES will dissolve. Quantum will use the intervening time to work out the best solution for the municipality going forward. Miller suggests that other municipalities ask their processors about will happen to their e-waste following the windup. “Because post-June 2020, you could potentially find yourself without service.”
The Quantum sales team has decades of collective experience helping municipalities solve their e-waste problems. Contact Quantum today to explore your best options for electronics recycling. With the pending new legislation set to take effect in July 2020, there’s never been a better time to make sure that your processor can deliver what you’ll need for the future.