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February 6, 2020
After concrete is poured at a construction site, the chutes of ready mix concrete trucks and hoppers of concrete pump trucks must be washed out to remove the remaining concrete before it hardens. It’s important that companies properly dispose of their washout in the most environmentally friendly way. Ready mix concrete companies are familiar with the process and the resulting term “haul-back washout,” but they might not be familiar with how much it’s really costing them on an annual basis.
The cost of handling haul-back waste is probably higher than one might think. Stockpile Reports’ own Todd Cope, former district manager for an international ready mixed concrete company, broke down the cost of hauling one 26-ton dump truck load of waste to the landfill at $200/ton, once a week, over the course of a year.
Here’s the math:
$200/ton x 26 tons = $5,200 per load per week
$5,600 x 52 weeks (in a year) = $270,400 per year in dumping fees
Not only are there dumping fees associated with haul-back washout waste, but there are also freight costs that must be accounted for. Assuming $20/ton in freight costs, you can anticipate an additional $27,040 in expense per year, bringing the total to $297,440.
$20/ton x 1,352 tons = $27,040 per year in freight fees
$270,400 + $27,040 = $297,440 per year (dumping + freight fees)
It should come as no surprise that there are administrative and operations expenses associated with managing the haul-back washout waste. From maintaining equipment to allocating labor time, the average plant spends approximately $100,000 annually on management and maintenance costs associated with haul-back washout waste.
The average ready mix plant is spending nearly half of a million dollars on waste when all of the costs are added up. This staggering cost directly impacts the company’s bottom line.
The actual costs of haul-back waste might be different for your company. It’s important to understand the process of measuring the impact of the issue. Generating concrete metrics will drive informed decisions on mitigation.
The first step in quantifying the actual cost of waste for your company is to measure the amount of waste material stockpiled at your ready mix concrete yards. Most companies do not account for the waste piles because they aren’t a line item on their physical inventory. However, measuring these piles along with your aggregates during the monthly inventory count will give you powerful insights on the size of the issue.
Once your team measures the true amount of waste on hand, you can gauge the actual impact on your financials and determine if this is an issue worth mitigation. You will also know the scope of effort it will take to dispose of the waste material. However, waste disposal isn’t your only option.
The goal is to start looking at the waste material as a product versus waste. Knowing how much waste you have stockpiled on the ground allows your team to make better decisions on how to best manage the financial burden of washout waste.
Depending on your local environmental laws and the Ph levels in your cement fines, you might have other options outside of waste disposal. You can mix recycled cement fines into new fill material which can be sold back to the consumer. Another alternative is to process the waste material into precast ecology blocks.
Many companies do not have the option to reuse the waste material. Their best option is to charge a fee to reclaim the excess haul-back material. A ready mix company is able to offset the total costs of managing the waste with this tactic. A fee also incentivizes the customer to order closer to the exact tons of ready mix needed for a project.
Our team is made up of industry experts with real experience. It’s our job to provide you with the data-driven insights needed to make better, more strategic business decisions. Whether it’s helping you reduce your overall inventory costs or providing you with the tools and resources to save you time and money, we’ll be there. Get started with Stockpile Reports today.
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