Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hey Grinderguy, should I buy a shredder or another compactor for my landfill?

That is a great question. I can take a full day answering this question, but there are a few main things to consider before you can make an educated decision.
If you own or operate a landfill, obviously landfill space is your number one revenue generator and the more landfill space you have the more valuable your landfill is. So, is it better to buy a new landfill compactor or a use a shredder to reduce material in the landfill?
With the cost of purchasing either about the same, here are a few things to consider:
If a compactor is used correctly:
·         Material is spread thin enough
·         The Compactor makes sufficient passes over the material
·         The base material that the debris is being compacted on is solid enough
you can get the reduction you are looking for, but sometimes this doesn't happen. Why? Mostly because material comes into landfill in waves, first thing in the morning, lunchtime and the end of the day, not all loads get the same compaction. This doesn't happen everywhere, but it does at a lot of places.
So what happens with a shredder?
·         You need more support equipment
·         Without adding any other equipment the shredder can separate ferrous materials
·         You will reduce 100% of the material because everything has to go throughout the shredder and some of the material will not be buried without compaction.
So, what makes sense?
·         There is no need for a shredder if landfill space isn't an issue. 100 year landfill life is a long time.
·         No market for recycled materials- If you do not have a place for materials that are being recovered to go, why do it?
·         Limited volume, equipment or personnel- Little volume cannot justify the capital investment costs
·         MSW- If your volume is mostly MSW, the reduction and compaction difference is difficult to justify if you are not removing materials. Although, the landfill working face is much cleaner and more easily compacted.
·         Limited landfill capacity- If the last useful landfill life is in sight, start shredding.
·         Can recycle materials- If you are using an excavator to load a shredder, the operator can easily remove concrete and big steel and other materials that are easily recycled or reused on site. Even just separating clean wood that can be sent to a wood recycler is easily removed to reduce volume.
·         C&D- Construction and Demolition debris is light and bulky. Reduction of 50-75% is easy to do.
·         Add a System- Depending on your incoming materials, adding a full recycling system can reduce disposal numbers significantly.
What else can using a shredder do?
·         Wear- Using a shredder will greatly reduce undercarriage costs on bulldozers because with the material already being shredded, wrapping and large material damage is greatly reduced.
·         Demolition- Having a shredder available for demolition projects could create additional revenue
·         Disaster Recovery- If a natural disaster, hurricane or tornado for example, occurs, the shredder can be used on the cleanup or can significantly reduce the incoming volume that will reduce landfill life in a hurry with the unexpected increased volume.
·         Tires- Adding a new waste stream like tires will increase profits significantly, and the shredded tires can be used on site for roads and drainage, or sent for to a recycler for a no disposal cost or a profit
·         Mattresses- A shredder can reduce difficult to compact materials like mattresses or even carpeting so they can be disposed of properly in a landfill
·         Daily Cover Material- Some shredded material can be used as Alternative Daily Cover(ADC) for landfills that are dirt poor
The more materials that are shredded, there will be more uses found for the materials.
In some cases, the materials that are shredded or recycled from the incoming waste stream and removed,  can be reduced from incoming disposal numbers and the full price collected at the gate can be claimed by the landfill and any fees and taxes may not need to be paid because the reused materials are not being disposed of. Check with your local agencies on this. This could benefit landfill operator profits enough to pay for a shredder. In addition, recycling credits may apply also. Due your homework.
So, in conclusion, there are many questions that need answered for your specific operation before you can make an educated decision on whether to purchase another compactor or a new shredder. But either way, check your options because you may be able to collect a lot more revenue for a little investment.

Questions? Dave Whitelaw, grinderguy@askthegrinderguy.com

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