75% Cost Reduction in Waste & Recycling at GrandQuartz

by | Oct 14, 2019

Customer Spotlight: 75% Cost Reduction in Waste & Recycling at GrandQuartz

Founded in 1971, GranQuartz is the largest distributor of stone fabrication tools, equipment and supplies in the United States. The company also provides quality products and services to the concrete-polishing and tile markets. These tools and services result in stone countertops, taking them from their original rock form to the finished product.  Basically, they sell and rent anything needed to finish the stone used in construction.

As you might imagine, there’s a whole lot of shipping going on, carrying a lot of heavy merchandise. And a lot of shipping requires a lot of shipping materials – primarily steel, corrugated cardboard and wood.

That leaves large-scale businesses like GranQuartz with large-scale shipping needs with a big problem. And it’s a problem that to some extent affects all of us. In the past, all those materials in use at GranQuartz’s warehouse in Norcross, Georgia would have gone to a landfill – right here in Georgia.

Enter Jesse Mainor, Norcross Distribution Manager for GranQuartz. When Mainor joined the company in January of 2018, he discovered that GranQuartz was dealing with many of the same problems his previous company had faced: lots of scrap that either had value or could be separated and they had difficulty finding a solution.

Mainor brought fresh eyes and previous experience to the problem. He knew right away that the company could save money with a waste audit.

What he saw …

Metal Scrap
Steel scrap was a big problem. Materials used in shipping into the facility were ending up in landfills. This was, as Mainor says, “…perfectly good steel.”

Corrugated cardboard
Mainor found two large open-top bins (we’ve all probably seen something like them behind big-box stores). Mainor again: “We were just dumping everything in there. Most importantly, we had a cardboard compactor we weren’t using.”

Wood pallets used for shipping:
Mainor: “We were throwing wood pallets into the trash and they also eventually ended up in landfills.”

What he did …

M-PASS’s founder Lorraine White said she was thrilled to hear from Mainor when he moved to his new job. White said, “Jesse called me and said, ‘Lorraine I know what you did for my old company’ and I’d to bring you in to do the same thing here.’”

Mainor had seen first-hand the effectiveness of a waste management audit when he worked with M-PASS at his previous job. “I think my partnerships with M-PASS are successful because they are the trash experts. Trash is not something I want to manage. They can do that job and we can save money.”

“But,” Mainor said, “In 2019 that’s not the only important thing when it comes to waste. The bottom dollar has to be the most important factor, but we need to be environmentally conscious as well. With M-PASS we get both.”

Working with M-PASS’s Lorraine White and Chris Witherspoon, GranQuartz made a number of changes. Among them, they

  • set up a scrap metal program to reduce trash
  • replaced old cardboard collection bins with one that fit their size and needs
  • implemented new recycling programs to help manage their program

The Results

Metal Scrap
They began recycling all their steel scrap. Though the steel market is one of the more variable, it is possible to make money selling the steel.

Corrugated Cardboard
Based on the quantified recommendations from M-PASS, Mainor and his team saw that they weren’t making full use of the cardboard compactor and that they didn’t really need it. Under Mainor’s leadership, cardboard compactor was taken away and a single cardboard recycling dumpster brought in.

Wood Pallets
Today, when their wood pallet dealer makes a delivery, he takes the old pallets, repairs them if necessary, and sells them back to Mainor. “Disposing of bad pallets is often a problem,” says Mainor. “This way, our dealer gets ‘free’ wood and he takes away the wood we can’t use.”

Total Trash Volume
The audit also revealed that 89% of what was in their open-top trash container – and sent to landfills – was actually recyclable and could be redirected to a recycling program.

Financial Result
Overall, the audit has produced 75% gross savings for GranQuartz.

The entire company has embraced the changes. Mainor said it was pretty easy to get the company’s executives on board with the new program once they saw how inefficient their old recycling efforts had been.

As for Mainor, he says it’s a generational thing. He’s part of the country’s millennial population and grew up environmentally conscious. And his staff? They’re not all millennials, but Mainor says they have found the transition relatively easy since the company now has the tools that facilitate a practical recycling program.

White says that M-PASS’s partnership with Mainor resulted in cutting the Norcross facility’s waste in half. “We discovered the company did not have the best equipment for their needs and that they hadn’t received a cardboard rebate in two year.” M-PASS’s proprietary multi-step waste and recycling management audit includes extensive research into a company’s waste history. Their process is important because it discovers invoice errors and rebate errors that are in violation with the established vendor contract terms and pricing.

Mainor concludes, “I really appreciate the personal relationship I’ve developed with M-PASS. And I know I can be confident in all their recommendations, because they don’t make any money if they don’t save us money.”

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