Adapting Services During COVID-19

Like many companies, “business as usual” changed significantly for Heritage with the arrival of COVID-19. Our Interactive team developed some new solutions to save customers money and efficiently provide services due to these changes.

One of our customers in the oil and gas industry had a very large upcoming project. During a more normal time, one of our account managers would have flown to the site and walked it in person to ensure a full understanding of both the scope and location of the waste needing to be removed. Due to COVID-19 this wasn’t possible, so as an alternative, one of our employees proposed a virtual tour, which was extremely well received.

This went far beyond walking the site with a smartphone.  The proposed idea included the customer sending over the technical drawings for the site that could be compared with satellite images. This in conjunction with a site contact walking to each part of the facility via live stream provided an extremely in-depth review. In addition to being able to visualize the site via the satellite images and the live stream, we were also able the see technical details such as the storage tanks, where the piping was and where we could store the waste.

As a result of this virtual visit, our team was able to provide insights for the upcoming project that would not have been possible without the combination of the technical drawing, satellite images and live stream. The customer was impressed with the efficiency of this method and suggested this process to other locations.

Site walks weren’t the only aspect of our business that we adapted during the pandemic. As more people started to work from home and everyone was traveling less, we found that our customers were not in need of our services as often due to cutbacks or decreased production. Especially with customers in industries like oil and gas, where production was being scaled back to compensate for lower demand, our services were needed on a smaller or less frequent scale. We decided to evaluate our on-site services to determine which could potentially be scaled back and save our customers money.

After reviewing and estimating potential cost savings for each site for a few of our key customers, we reached out to our site contacts to explain our idea. Our customers were overjoyed that we had taken the extra step to find them additional saving when they most needed.

As a result of scaling back services such as trash pickups (we also removed unneeded containers providing monthly rental savings), parts washer servicing, used oil/antifreeze pick up, and pit and trenching cleaning, we were able to provide significant savings, especially at the larger facilities.

Case Study – Boxed Rolls Recycling

Boxed Rolls Recycling (Painesville, OH)

By reviewing landfill data and working closely with Stew Murphy at the Avery Dennison facility in Painesville, OH, Heritage Program Manager, Matt Wilson, was able to successfully implement a recycling program that removes boxed rolls from landfill and eliminates one open top container from the facility.

After conversations with Avery Dennison and the vendor, Matt determined that procedural changes at the facility would allow for the material to be recycled instead of landfilled. With the new program, the boxed rolls are taken by the vendor who separates the cardboard boxes from the rolls. The cardboard boxes are then compacted and recycled, and the rolls are also recycled.

Matt worked closely with the site as well as the vendor to define what items could and could not be placed in the dumpster. Once determinations were made, site personnel had to be informed and on board with the new procedures if changes from landfill to recycling were to be successful. The implementation process lasted approximately six weeks, and the boxed roll material is now effectively recycled.

As a result of onboarding site personnel to the recycling changes and working with the vendor to determine logistics, an estimated 333 tons will be diverted from landfill annually, and the Avery Dennison facility is estimated to save approximately $6,783 annually.


For help streamlining recycling at your company, click here to connect with a Heritage Representative.

General Recycling – The Basics

This blog breaks down recycling basics, outlining general topics to think about when evaluating a recycling program or starting to recycle a new material. The “rules” outlined below will fluctuate slightly based on the specific services provided by each contracted recycler.

General Practices 

  • Education/Vendor Requirements – An essential aspect to a recycling program is a clear understanding of what is recyclable and how a recycler needs to receive the material. This information can be provided by your Heritage PM or the servicing recycler. Not knowing what material is acceptable can derail a recycling program and come with fees.
    • Signage –The easiest ways to educate a facility on recycling materials is signage outlining what is acceptable material.
    • Toolbox Talks/Meetings – Routine meetings update involved personnel on the success of a recycling program as well as changes in acceptable items and process.
  • Purity/Labor – When perusing a program for recycling that will generate a rebate, you should evaluate how to reduce each material down to its purer form as well as what can be done onsite to reduce the amount of handling required by a service provider. Not all facilities have the capability to segregate waste and process it for handling due to operational or financial constraints, however it is important to understand that this will happen somewhere in the process.
      • Grading – Almost all recyclable material will be given a “grade” based on the type of material, contamination between materials, and other categories which determines the value of the material.
  • Understanding Capabilities and waste – Facilities vary and having a good understanding of what that material is will help in establishing a successful recycling program. If a small location has limited streams it may not be worth separating the material into separate waste streams at the site because a) you will not see any cost benefit due to low volumes or b) the site may not have the resources required to perform appropriate material segregation. This basic understanding will allow sites to evaluate between two main styles of recycling:
    • Co-mingled – A ‘turn key’ process for recycling where recyclable materials are collected in a single container and then taken to a recycling facility where the servicing company will sperate and process.
       **Co-mingled programs will vary from region to region based on the market **
    • Segregated – Almost all material will either a) become more recyclable through onsite segregation or b) see a cost benefit by being segregated onsite. Segregation is best handled at the point of collection by putting in place separate containers for material, such asseparate containers in a cafeteria for trash, plastics, paper, compost, etc. This upfront work by a site can open different avenues for the material.
       **Different materials may be accepted in different forms outlined below. This will vary from region to region and again by service provider based on their capabilities. **
    • Mail Back Options – There is a trend in the industry to provide a larger variety of options for prepaid recycling boxes that are used to collect material and then mailed to the recycler, best for sites or waste streams with low volumes or storage
  • Ease – While segregating material in pure and easily handled forms is cost efficient, a recycling program must also be implemented in an understandable way for the people involved. This may mean outlining very clearly a complex process for segregation, but it may also mean choosing to outsource that segregation to the supplier via a co-mingled container in which all like materials can be deposited. This is largely dependent on the capabilities of a facility and the commitment of a team

Waste Stream Specific

The below provides rough details on ways to handle several materials from a cost standpoint. Each of these can typically be handled via a co-mingled service as well but should be confirmed with your Heritage PM or service provider.

  • Plastic – Plastic when segregated can sometimes be taken “loose”, but from both an efficiency and cost standpoint is better handled after some sort of processing such as baling, compacting, or grinding/shredding/chipping.
  • Paper – When segregated white paper is most commonly handled in cubic yard boxes. The way that it lays down on itself allows for efficient handling of the material.
    **This does not include secure destruct 
  • Cardboard – Cardboard when segregated and sometimes be taken “loose”, but from both an efficiency and cost standpoint is better handled after some sort of processing which can be done by either baling or compacting
  • Universal – Universal waste like all recyclables can be handle in a co-mingled fashion, though it does have additional restrictions. There are certain types of batteries and bulbs for instance that must be handled in certain ways specified by legal entities as well as potential additional requirements by recyclers. As with most recyclables sorting universal waste into individual waste streams will often be more cost effective from a recycling standpoint. Universal waste can also be handled in a mail back kit.
  • Electrical – Electrical waste (E-Waste) can be recycled in a co-mingled program, though different suppliers will have restrictions on how material can be received. E-waste can largely be tied to markets due to the recoverable material in the components. Some electronics can yield a rebate and others will not, this is influenced by the amount of resources needed to recover what material is available
  • Metals – Metal recycling operates under the same circumstances as other recyclables, meaning that if you put the labor in upfront, you will see a higher return via rebate. The first step to segregating metal by-product is to separate the materials into Ferrous and Non-ferrous materials.
    • Ferrous –Ferrous metals can be graded by the composition of the material, which can impact value, but the most common and simple onsite method for segregating would be to pull your production scrap metal from your maintenance or general scrap metal.
    • Non-ferrous – The list of categories into which non-ferrous metals can be segregate is large, but should be readily available from any scrap metal vendor. We can say that the focus should be on separating your non-ferrous metals into type (ex. copper, aluminum, brass, etc.). Once bucketed into those categories another good rule would be to separate the material by whether it has contaminated on it (ex. raw copper wire vs. insulated copper wire). Lastly the material will again be graded based on thickness so a thicker gauged wire is more cost beneficial to separate that into like sizes versus combining with a smaller braided wire.

For help streamlining recycling at your company, click here to connect with a Heritage Representative.

National Safety Month Spotlight – Safety Director Jim Mangas

Photo of Heritage Safety Director Jim Mangas

Jim Mangas, CSP (Certified Safety Professional)  
  BS – Occupational Health & Safety
   MS – Occupational Health & Safety

June is National Safety Month, and one of the topics of focus this year is Building a Safety Culture.  “Safe and Compliant or Not at All” is one of our core values here at Heritage, and part of upholding that value means having not only an experienced leader at the head of our safety operations, but someone with a passion for it. In March of this year, Jim Mangas joined the Heritage team as our new Director of Safety. He came to Heritage with nearly 20 years of safety leadership – including direct relevant experience in manufacturing and chemical environments.  He leads with vision, focus and a positive attitude – and has a proven track record for establishing and executing safety programs and processes across organizations. We interviewed him to get his perspective on building a safety culture, and what that means in our industry and at Heritage.


How did you get started in health & safety? Why did you choose this path?

My first few years out of high school I was a firefighter/paramedic. I started doing some safety work on the side and it sparked my interest, so I went into the field full time. I like safety because we get the chance to prevent something bad from happening. As a firefighter/paramedic we were mostly reacting to something that happened. Safety professionals get the opportunity to get ahead of the incidents and make a difference.


What is the biggest challenge(s) you have faced as a safety leader/director during your career?

I feel like my biggest challenge has been getting company leaders to move beyond compliance, that the OSHA standard is not enough in many cases. Unfortunately, many feel that doing the minimum is enough.  I am sure many safety professionals have heard the same line that I have for many years “We only have to meet the OSHA Standard”. I read a quote somewhere that says, “the minimum is one small step above inadequate”. That is exactly how I feel. We must continually find better, safer ways to work. Safety has to evolve with the workplace. To do this, companies should be looking at industry best practices and benchmarking others that are doing safety right


How can businesses make safety more ingrained in their culture?

Safety must be a core value, the highest regarded value. It is the highest held value because it’s about people. Safety is not a value that is just talked about but one that we live out. It must be the way you do everything in your business. Everyone from the CEO to the janitor must act upon this value.


Why did you decide to join Heritage?

Growing up in Indiana, Heritage is a well-known company, family owned, and they have a great reputation. Not only are they a safe company, but they lead the way in safety.  I wanted to work for a company that gives back to the community, and Heritage does that in many ways.


What does Heritage’s core value of “Safe and Compliant or Not at All” mean to you?

I love this, it was one of the first things I read on the website before I interviewed for the role. This means that if our workers get into a situation that is not safe or not compliant, they have the power to stop. We will not start the job or finish the job until we are certain it can be done safely. Every Heritage employee, visitor and contractor has that power. This means we are living out the value and that is exactly what we want.


What initiatives are you most excited about implementing or advancing at Heritage?

Heritage has a great Health & Safety Process. Our culture is very safety driven. For me, that means the foundational safety principles are in place and working well. I will be focusing on continuous improvement looking for better ways to do safety. We will be implementing a Serious Injury & Fatality Prevention (SIF) Process. We want workers to be able to identify SIF potential in their routine, everyday tasks so we can stop it before anything happens. With SIF, you can’t take the business as usual approach, it takes a paradigm shift to make the needed impact.


To learn more about National Safety Month, visit:

To learn about some of our safety initiatives, check out some of our other blog posts on the topic:


Heritage Marks 10 Years as a SmartWay® Transport Partner

Today marks 10 years that Heritage has been a part of the SmartWay® Transport Partnership, an innovative collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the transportation industry. Since we joined the partnership in 2010, we’ve won two Excellence awards, which go to the top two percent of SmartWay Partners who have made significant contributions to reducing the impact of transportation on air quality.

Heritage serves customers all over North America, and participating in the SmartWay program for the past decade has played a major role in reducing our total carbon footprint.

Participation in the program means making smart decisions on equipment, routing, and driver behavior.  The process of data tracking creates a framework for measuring and encouraging year-over-year improvements. To be eligible to display EPA SmartWay decals, a tractor or trailer must each comply with strict program guidelines:

List of improvements made under the smartway program


By moving away from 2014 and 2015 model year tractors, Heritage saw an average of $6,730 in fuel cost savings per tractor. We also went to the Thermo King Envidia APU (auxiliary power unit). This APU allows our drivers to enjoy comforts of home while out on the road without having to keep our tractors idling during breaks. Along with investing in fuel saving technology, we’ve also focused on safety. We’ve added cameras, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning systems on the tractors to keep our drivers and all people on the roads safer.

Having an extensive transportation network enables us to safely treat and dispose of waste in the best way possible, regardless of where it is generated. But we recognize that transportation has an impact on the environment too, and by participating in EPA’s SmartWay program, we’re reducing our carbon footprint and making our transportation activities more sustainable.

For information about the SmartWay Transport Partnership visit

Heritage SmartWay Transoprt Partner 10 year certificate

Learn more about our Transportation and Hazardous Waste Services 

Earth Day Pollinator Project in Benton, AR

Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, our Benton, Arkansas facility started making plans for Earth Day and for continued employee engagement throughout the summer.  One part of the plan was to start an employee garden to grow fresh herbs and vegetables.  For the garden to be productive, the team considered bringing in a couple of beehives and planting wildflowers.

While we must postpone the employee garden until next year, our maintenance personnel (following facility social distancing guidelines) moved forward with as much of the project as possible.  Before Earth Day, they were able to sow 2 acres of wildflowers.  Additionally, they planted 50 live oak and 50 poplar seedlings!  And now this week the bees have arrived.  Two of our employees will serve as on-site beekeepers.  We will check back in later this summer to check on our wildflower fields and look at all pollinators, including the bees, butterflies and birds.



Donating Critical PPE & Supplies to Local Businesses

When so many critical facilities are experiencing a shortage of necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitation supplies, several Heritage locations have stepped up to share.

An employee from our Interactive team shared that a local Indianapolis-area hospital where his wife works had a PPE shortage; “I received word last night that they are currently running very short on gowns to be used in the areas where they are caring for confirmed cases and are reaching the point of beginning to plan for carrying out their duties with limited or recycled PPE,” he said.

With the help of our Supply Chain Director, we were able to purchase and donate 1,050 protective suits to use in place of medical gowns for hospital personnel to the hospital.

In Benton, Arkansas, our team donated single use aprons, nitrile gloves, N95 masks and alcohol wipes to the  University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).  In the words of VP Ryan Dossey, “The doctors and nurses on the front line deserve the best support that we as a community have to offer and donating PPE to keep them safe in this fight is of utmost importance in these trying times.”

In East Liverpool, an assisted-living facility near our incinerator was reaching out to local businesses and organizations for help sourcing hand sanitizer, a vital resource in this coronavirus environment. Its supplies were running low, retail stocks were depleted, and its pending orders were uncertain.

After reviewing their inventory, our facility was able to assist by donating several boxes of hand sanitizer. Chris Pherson, President of Heritage Thermal, presented the donation, distanced appropriately, to the facility, which is in neighboring Beaver County, Pa.

We can get through this challenging time by working together and supporting our local communities – if you or your company has a surplus of supplies, please consider donating to local businesses who need it.