WillScot Mobile Mini, a modular space and storage solution company offering mobile offices, portable storage units, and more, operates over 240 facilities across North America. This breadth of service results in a considerable generation of construction and demolition waste. As a pioneer in the circular economy — with a refurbish, repurpose, and reuse business model — they are committed to pursuing efforts that increase the diversion of waste from the landfill by optimizing waste collection, increasing recycling, and prioritizing upstream reduction.
However, their lack of insight into site-level and company-wide data posed a challenge to their efforts to develop a waste management program.
Gathering that information would only be the first hurdle to overcome. They would also need to establish which actions and processes would bolster the greatest impact, which vendor relationships they would need to revisit or establish, and how to operationalize new best practices with employees across each branch.
To help them measure and manage their efforts, they partnered with ENGIE Impact to conduct waste characterization studies and develop a holistic waste diversion plan for their organization.
ENGIE Impact began developing a waste diversion program for WillScot Mobile Mini at the beginning of 2023. Waste characterization studies would yield data and insight on the categorical breakdown of what materials were ending up in the trash, and it was critical to select sites that demonstrated a range of operations — ensuring a representative sample of waste generated across all sites by volume and type. A total of nine facilities across six states were selected. Waste samples from each site were collected, sorted, and analyzed into categories — collectively totaling more than 10,000 pounds and including cabling, pallets, wood, plastic, carpet, metal, cardboard, and more.
Recommendations were made according to the waste hierarchy to ensure the best use for materials was selected for diversion or donation, providing site leaders with insights on how to better train staff on handling such materials more responsibly. Focusing upstream on materials management, opportunities were identified to reduce packaging or transition to recyclable options, and to adjust product purchasing for reusable or refillable alternatives to single use. By working with current and new suppliers they explored solutions for take-back programs and bulk purchasing to reduce the environmental impact stemming from transportation and waste.
ENGIE Impact also identified new local vendors that would be best equipped to partner with for waste disposal, as well as vendors that could provide the take-back programs or reusable material options to enhance the diversion aspirations of the program.
Through the waste characterizations and waste diversion program rollout across the initial sites, WillScot Mobile Mini was able to implement in-kind donation programs, product purchasing improvements, and more in order to:
WillScot Mobile Mini plans to expand the implementation of the program across their sites in 2024.
Let’s work together to gain data driven insights into your waste strategy.