How Container Overfill Increases Your Waste Bill

Container overfill is an important factor to consider in any waste service right-sizing initiative. Over the last decade, it has emerged as a waste service billing issue that undermines other efforts to reduce waste and recycling costs. Container overfill often results in penalty charges when a customer exceeds their waste or recycling volume before their scheduled pick-up service.

How container overfill sneaks up on you

What a lot of customers don’t realize is how easy it is to overfill a container. For example, if you contract for one 8-yard container serviced one time per week, you’ve contracted for your weekly waste volume to fit inside that 8-yard container with the lid completely closed.

Several haulers even equip their trucks with cameras so if there are waste materials protruding out of an open container in any form or fashion, they can take a photo and impose a penalty charge.

The price for extra yardage is often 10-50 times the yardage rate for regular service, resulting in a huge revenue incentive for the hauler and a huge cost to the customer.

Why container overfill occurs

One major reason container overfill occurs is the janitorial schedule. If janitorial services do not coincide with your waste and recycling service, there may not be enough capacity left in the container for the janitorial staff. If all of the customer’s overages occur on the same day of the week, with no overfill instances on the other six days of the week, it is likely that scheduling is the culprit.

Container overfill is also frequently caused by illegal dumping. Businesses near residential areas or dark alleys are particularly susceptible to this occurrence. It’s easy for a local resident to dump a mattress or old furniture in your container that takes up a large amount of space (especially items with irregular shapes) and inevitably lead to overfill. Though this problem is seemingly out of your control, there are ways to eliminate or at least significantly reduce the impact of illegal dumping.

Service increases are not always the right solution

If a particular account experiences multiple container overfills, besides generating extra revenue, it also raises a flag to the hauler that current service levels may not be adequate for the account. The hauler then contacts the customer and advises them to increase their service.

Often times, a hauler will notify a customer of one or more overfill charges before an upcoming bill to give them the opportunity to avoid the charges if they’ll simply increase their service level right away. In other words, maybe they just need to service that 8-yard container twice per week instead of just once.

Unfortunately, the charges may have been dubious to begin with – and were most likely either avoidable or rare. The result is frequently a customer paying a higher rate for all 52 weeks of the year in order to avoid an exorbitant charge.

Curtis Hill
Curtis joined the Fine Tune team in 2011 after a decorated 20-year career in the waste disposal industry. During that time, Curtis had reached the uppermost echelons of that arena, spending 13 years as a Vice President at Waste Management. In that capacity, Curtis held responsibility for all operations and all waste streams, including hazardous waste, in a large Midwestern region, and also ran what was at the time the nation’s largest Material Recovery Facility in Minneapolis. Today, Curtis oversees all aspects of Fine Tune’s waste disposal offering.

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