How Banks Inadvertently Enable Janitors to Illegally Transport and Dump Waste
In an effort to reduce costs, some banks have been cutting dangerous corners — getting rid of their dumpsters. What might seem like a benign practice to forgo waste services is a ticking time bomb of fees and liability. Administrative departments at banks that hire unlicensed parties like janitors to handle waste transportation and disposal open the entire bank up to unfavorable circumstances. Some of the consequences include fines, pollution/unintended illegal dumping, bad PR, embarrassing trash mishaps, unintentional security breaches, and local tax avoidance. These are just some of the repercussions of turning a blind eye to poor waste practices.
It’s not enough to have front-of-house procedures for managing waste. It’s also a financial institution’s responsibility to manage how waste is transported once it’s ready to leave the facility. Whether it’s shredded documents, e-waste, solid waste, or recyclables, waste should never be left to a janitorial crew. Despite this service offering by janitorial companies, it’s a risky line item to bundle into cleaning services. Janitorial handling of garbage offsite opens financial institutions up to significant risk. Here’s how your financial institutions can rise above poor waste practices and follow local, state, and federal ordinances to properly dispose of all waste.
1. Stop janitorial waste transportation
Janitorial services are essential to maintaining a clean and functional facility. In addition to the cleaning services, many janitorial services offer waste removal. A tempting bundled service might seem like a very convenient idea when first analyzing a janitorial contract. However, many pitfalls can ensue down the line by adding a waste removal service to your janitorial contract.
First, states have different limits on how much waste can legally be transported in a vehicle that is not equipped to safely contain waste and all of its residues. Having a contract with janitors to perform these services isn’t an answer as contracting to have someone perform otherwise questionable or illegal practices exposes your organization.
Without proper precautions and transparency of how waste is handled or where it is taken, it’s a dangerous proposition for a financial intuition to entrust this highly regulated service. Having good waste practices includes hiring licensed haulers for all waste removal and transportation at your locations.
2. Stay up-to-date on local taxes and avoid becoming an illegal transfer station
While it may be tempting to consolidate waste from multiple locations, those locations may be from different tax or franchise localities, so having a central dumpster for multiple bank branches raises red flags for local tax avoidance. Equally as important, this practice could also create an illegal transfer station as waste is being transferred and consolidated into central dumpsters. It brings everyone involved under scrutiny, and additionally, it may cause your bank to be in breach of their hauling contract at the locations that actually have dumpsters at because those haulers are likely, unknowingly receiving waste from multiple locations. If your janitorial staff is tasked with hauling waste in this manner, this unlicensed hauling and transfer is likely an illegal waste management practice.
3. Eliminate unintended illegal dumping by janitors
Illegal dumping is the act of taking trash generated in one location and disposing of it at another location without the proper license or legal permission. For financial institution waste, this can be when:
- Janitors who are unlicensed toss waste in another company’s bin
- Janitors discard waste in abandoned buildings
- Janitors toss the waste in empty parking lots
Illegal dumping is a widespread problem that opens financial institutions up to embarrassing violations and fines. A red flag for spotting financial institutions at risk for unlawful dumping practices is the lack of an onsite garbage bin. The best way to prevent your financial institution from unknowingly getting caught up in an illegal dumping scandal is to ensure properly licensed hauling of waste from each location to a designated waste, recycling, and e-waste facility.
Frequently, janitorial staff cut corners to save time and money. If your janitorial staff has many stops, they may quickly run out of space in their vehicle to dispose of waste in the way you may have intended.
4. Prevent potential fines associated with illegal dumping
While we often think of illegal dumping as a hazardous waste issue, financial institutions that don’t correctly handle waste are at risk for their own set of fines if back-end waste practices are not entirely legal. Dumping penalties can escalate up to $50,000 depending on what state the occurrence happened. Jail time is also a risk, as some states consider the act a misdemeanor or a felony.
5. Avoid bad PR when the trash is misplaced
For maintenance companies that offer trash removal, the primary goal is getting the trash out of the facility. Without a proper dumpster to dispose of waste, janitorial staff vehicles can become overloaded with garbage as they service many clients or locations. As a result, they have been known to toss the trash in places it doesn’t belong. The sites where bank waste is notoriously found include neighboring companies’ dumpsters, parking lots, and abandoned buildings — all of which are considered illegal dumping.
It can be terrible PR when bank trash ends up in various local business dumpsters. Small businesses are the lifeblood of many banks, and if they find financial institutions are dumping waste illegally, it can be off-putting for new business accounts.
6. Prevent unintended security breaches
While bank staff is trained to follow strict protocol on customer documents and proper waste disposal, inevitably accidents happen. Tellers become distracted; loan officers forget to drop a sensitive document in the shred bin. Unintended security breaches occur all of the time, and for this reason, janitorial transport of waste becomes a threat. Read more on security breaches here.
100% compliance for bank waste management
National Waste Associates (NWA) specializes in waste management consulting and works with top vendors across the country to handle bank waste properly. Our extensive network of licensed waste and recycling professionals handle specialized waste hauling programs, document shredding, and e-waste disposal. We ensure safe, legal waste practices and keep the banks we work with 100% compliant with local, state, and federal waste practices. Find out how we handled a sensitive project for a major national bank here. Let our team of experts support your administrative staff in perfecting waste management practices and protocols for your financial institute.
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