Guest Contributors National Operations

Keep Waste Removal Process Going During Severe Weather

winter waste removal, Michael Hess
Michael Hess

by Michael Hess/Founder, President and CEO, Waste Harmonics

Winter weather hits and before you know it, garbage piles up resulting in dangerous and unsightly conditions. Within hours, garbage and recycling headaches can deter you from your day. As a reliable source of food and merchandise, you need to be ready to serve the needs of your community. Though it may not always be top-of-mind, grocery chains need to not take garbage and trash collection for granted during severe weather conditions.

Typically, garbage and recycling materials get generated and hauled away. However, during the winter months, significant snowfall and freezing conditions could postpone or limit your waste and recycling removal efforts.  It is essential to plan in advance ahead of major storms.

Planning is essential

As we encounter inclement winter weather, grocery owners and operators have a large task ahead of them. From handling a variety of storm-related issues impacting employees and customers to onsite logistics, many issues arise quickly. It is imperative to connect with your waste broker in advance to determine a contingency plan.

Develop a key communication team and process for both internal and external partners to help you manage all needs before, during and after the inclement weather. Don’t forget to include your waste broker who can help you handle not only immediate waste management issues, but long-term recycling, store cleanup and more across every one of your grocery locations.

Optimize efficiency among locations

Grocery-chain operators manage very complex supply chains across their store footprint, and managing these chains successfully relies on optimal efficiency. Unfortunately, difficult conditions during the winter can take a huge toll on the typical process and production that grocers have worked so hard to establish and maintain.

Be proactive with your waste broker and you will re-establish efficiency and production quickly during and after inclement weather strikes. Know which parts of your supply chain may need the most attention, so you can provide the store with specific cleanup, certain recycling or waste pickup most effectively. This will also help your waste broker work to your best advantage and get your grocery chain back up and running faster.

Advise of unique requirements

With severe weather conditions on the rise this time of year and grocery supply chains operating at such complex levels already, the most important way to prepare, handle and clean up from the winter season is to ensure you establish and triple-check special requirements within your internal teams and external partners.

Be aware of each location’s distinct waste-removal situation, so your waste broker can quickly realize which store location needs a specific waste container to dispose of frozen foods, expel unusable perishable items or remove general goods. Additionally, contingency plans can help determine which stores will need more immediate help—ensuring your entire chain is connected and working at full capacity.

Waste Harmonics is a Rochester, New York-based company that provides customized waste and recycling management solutions for businesses across North America. Hess leads Waste Harmonics’ team of waste/recycling, technology, logistics and customer service experts who broker waste and recycling services—which deliver significant costs savings—for single- and multi-location businesses in a wide range of business categories, including retail, grocery, restaurant, travel center, logistics, distribution and shipping. Prior to founding Waste Harmonics, Hess served as VP of U.S. operations for Capital Environmental Resource Inc., a $120 million in revenue solid waste collection and disposal company with operations in the northeastern U.S. and Canada. During his tenure at Capital Environment, Hess served as an integral part in the acquisition, startup and integration of 11 solid waste companies over two and a half years. Hess acquired Waste Harmonics from Capital Environment in 2001 and has since grown the business from a solely Northeast focus to serving customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Hess holds a bachelor’s degree in management from SUNY Empire State College and serves on the Nazareth College Board of Trustees.

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