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Many businesses choose their own waste hauler for the trash they generate.  Oftentimes the hauler will take care of both waste and recycling. While some local areas require or limit the hauler that businesses choose, business owners who are able should choose a responsible and appropriate hauler that meets each of their needs.

Hazardous waste may require you to select a separate waste hauler that specializes in this area.

Getting Started

Begin by talking to other businesses about their waste hauler. Talk to other businesses similar to yours in size and scope.

Consider conducting a waste sort or some kind of analysis of the waste you generate.  The more information you have about the volume and type of waste and recyclables generated, the better decision you can make. Waste haulers can also make a more specific contract quote with this kind of detail.

Shop around for haulers.  Get quotes and details from several companies.

Gathering Information from the Waste Hauler

Determine how the waste hauler handles waste overflow or other businesses that share the same waste receptacle.

Ask about scheduling during holidays or inclement weather.

If the waste hauler does pickup recycling, inquire about any rebates or fee reductions based on the type of recyclables you collect. Consider developing two separate contracts for waste and recycling, if it is beneficial to the business.

Determine the motivation of the hauler to reduce waste and extra hauling requirements.  Haulers should support more recycling and less waste generation by attempting to decrease waste pickups and increase recycling pickups. 

Verify the materials recovery facility that the waste hauler is using for recyclables.  Find out if the MRF has any contamination policies, which could increase the amount of recyclables accepted.

Ask how the hauler charges for services.  Some haulers charge by volume and weight; others charge a flat fee based on collection frequency and the types of containers provided. Make sure the hauler is very clear on how the charges are applied.

Developing a Contract

Choosing a waste hauler with a contract that meets your needs ensures responsible waste management from both parties.

As you develop or consider a contract, clarify the waste haulers policy on the following:

Pickup frequency, schedule, and provided materials

Contract length and renewal policy

Cancellation terms

Altering container needs based on fluctuating waste or recyclable volume

Container labeling and placement

Allowable price increases during contract period

Sharing of savings, revenue, or rebates from recyclables

Training provided

Data reporting on waste and recycling material

If you are using the larger containers that are hauled direclty to the disposal facility / landfill, include provisions that allow you to randomly spot check or routinely weigh the containers of trash before the hauler pulls them for emptying. This will provide a check and balance for reconciling waste weights which  can be an area of huge controversy unless it is addressed upfront.   Specifiy in writing the means by which you will be assured that your trash weights will be matched up correctly with your account. Will the dump receipts be 'time, date and weight stamped' and a copy of those receipts included in the billings? 


Continue to accept proposals from haulers until you find one that meets the needs of your business.

Make no assumptions about the hauler’s services.  Read carefully over their contract and suggest alterations for provisions that do not meet your needs or requirements.

Carefully review the renewal terms from each hauler.  Some companies immediately renew a contract unless otherwise contacted by the generator.

Avoid provisions that allow the waste hauler to increase rates during the term.

Identify or include provisions that protect the business in case of unsatisfactory performance of the hauler

Consider including minimum performance standards or requirements within the contract.

Make note of the termination conditions, in the event you sell or move the business.

Except for unusual circumstances such as the service area only having one hauler to choose from it is almost always better to be on a month to month arrangement with a hauler. This is especially true if the hauler agreement is extremely one-sided and the hauler is unwilling to make changes to the agreement that are more favorable to their customers.


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