Breaking it down with Total Waste Solutions
At decent packaging, we strongly believe in focusing on the end of life for all our products, just as much as the fit for purpose design for our customers. Because, unfortunately, we’re in a global waste crisis. Despite everyone’s best efforts, most plastics are not recycled, landfills are full of food waste, and inconsistencies in waste management infrastructure is causing major confusion.
We’ve taken the complication out of compostable packaging by creating ‘The Full Package’. This service provides a simple solution that encourages the collection and disposal of compostable packaging and food waste correctly.
Total Waste Solution is our partner in Christchurch. Total Waste Solution is a locally owned and operated waste remover offering sustainable options for its customers. With over 15 years of local waste management experience, Total Waste Solutions offer exceptional services and are passionate about what they do.
We interviewed Director, Rob East from Total Waste Solutions to find out what an average day is for Total Waste Solutions, along with their service, business goals and what composting tips they have to share!
Hey Rob, Here's an easy question to begin with, how do you start each day?
I like to start my day off by going to the gym before work. After the gym, I arrive at work early to see each team member as they start.
As the founder of Total Waste Solutions, can you tell us what exactly it is that you do?
My parents founded the company 16 years ago as Quick Skips, providing gantry skips for the construction industry. In 2017, my wife and I took over as the second generation leadership and started diversifying into more areas. Focusing on sustainability our point of difference is having the ability to adapt our services and solutions to customise and suit customers looking for more sustainable solutions. We rebranded as Total Waste Solutions to represent the broader service we provide. We specialise in identifying innovative solutions that improve efficiencies, reduce costs and increase landfill diversion. Being a local company, we are working to make our cities greener.
What's the hardest or most challenging part of running Total Waste Solutions?
A challenging part of running Total Waste Solutions is balancing the operational challenges whilst meeting the needs of our customer requests. Ensuring we deliver on a high level of customer service and innovation we commit to.
What's the most rewarding part of Total Waste Solutions?
It’s rewarding knowing our services are helping us step closer towards a cleaner city. We are proud to be able to provide customers with innovative solutions, alternatives to landfills, training, and education being transparent with our methods and exceptional service.
What does an average day or week look like in the life of Total Waste Solutions?
There is no such thing as an average week for TWS, this is what makes our business exciting! Being a transport business there is no day that's the same. We are an agile business that meets the needs of our customers. Our mantra is “YES!”. We go out of our way to find the best solutions, systems, and services for our customers. We have partnerships with a wide range of businesses in Canterbury which enables us to provide joint venture solutions that add additional value to our customers.
What is your overall goal for this service?
Provide a commercial solution to businesses within the Canterbury region enabling them to dispose of combined organic waste and compostable packaging knowing it will be dealt with ethically. Our end goal is to work with businesses to understand their challenges and collaborate to identify services and solutions that minimise their waste and increase landfill diversion.
We think your business values align perfectly with ours which makes us excited to be working with you. What drew you to partnering up with us here at decent packaging?
Values are also important to us. We had an existing organics collection service and managed compostable packaging within our events channel so were keen to support a solution for compostable packaging within businesses, cafes, restaurants, and venues.
We will be providing our Full Package Bins to many Cafes and Restaurants across Christchurch, to help collect packaging and food scraps, but what is your process from there?
We provide a weekly or bi-weekly empty of bins from each customer via our rear-load truck. Once the route is completed we then combine compostable packaging and organics are taken to the Canterbury Landscapes composting facility in North Canterbury, where it will be converted into compost for farms and homes across the Canterbury Region.
How many cafes and businesses do Total Waste Solutions compost packaging from currently?
Currently, we work with approximately 25 cafes, as well as some other commercial providers.
Are there any big barriers to composting on the scale you do that would make it hard for other individuals or community organisations to do what you do?
The key to this is an efficient collection process to make it economically viable and ensuring the right mix of organic matter.
Have you seen much change in the public interest in composting since you started?
Yes absolutely – Customers have been wanting this solution for years however there has always been confusion around what is and isn’t compostable. Following Covid-19, there has been increased interest and demand at a consumer level, and knowing that there is an option for PLA compostable packaging to be processed and composted. Businesses are certainly showing high levels of interest.
If you could give a few tips to people trying their hand at composting food scraps and packaging at home, what would it be?
A great tip for at-home composting would be to tear up the packaging before you put it in the compost. Tearing up the packaging helps break it down faster. Online research is great. We're lucky to live in a time where we have so many resources online to educate us. Remember to keep the composting process simple and ensure you have the correct tools and processes in place to achieve great results.
What does the future look like for Total Waste Solutions, and composting/waste in general?
We are pleased to see the growth within our sustainable solutions and will continue innovating and educating to help minimise waste and find alternatives to landfills and saving businesses money.
Any parting words of wisdom or advice for eco-conscious people and communities?
Keep it lean to keep it Green, ensure you understand the full product cycle, and follow the waste hierarchy where possible – refuse, reuse, recycle, regenerate.