Daily cover in a solid waste landfill is a capital-intensive operation.

Generally, at a minimum, three large pieces of equipment are required: a backhoe, a bulldozer and a dump truck.

What if one of those breaks down unexpectedly? And what if replacement is the only solution? Is there room in your CapEx budget to buy new equipment on short notice?

Probably not. At least, not without forcing cuts to other critical budget lines like spare parts or equipment maintenance that are just as critical to daily operation.

Public and private landfill owners alike must make brutal decisions like this every day. When needs outstrip finite resources, they must pick winners and losers.

But it doesn’t need to be that way if you take these two simple steps:

  • First, switch from topsoil daily cover to foam daily cover. We’ll cover why foam daily cover is a greener, more cost-effective option at the end of this article.
  • Second, partner with a full-service equipment provider that offers a wide array of financing options. Instead of buying it outright, our equipment can be leased monthly or even provided under a zero-cost lease with a longer term commitment.

As you’ll read below, these simple changes will put important operational and fiscal control back in your hands.

Your CapEx budget is not a suggestion

For individual solid waste collection sites, it’s practically etched in stone.

Companies and municipalities operating landfills, transfer stations and fleets of heavy equipment nationwide make their margins on volume. Understandably, decision-makers always keep a tight grip on the checkbook. They fight hard enough as it is to get the capital allowance they’re given. Going back and asking for more is a boxing match that the house usually wins.

Only in extraordinary circumstances is a corporate officer likely to agree to buy a new bulldozer or dump truck that wasn’t already on the list of planned capital expenses. And even then, there’s no guarantee that the unplanned expense won’t require the sacrifice of something else that was already planned and approved. 

But while corporate management has capital budget authority, they exercise much less control over individual sites’ regular operating expenses. In this realm, landfill managers have much more freedom to maneuver.

A flexible leasing theoretical

So, say a bulldozer on its last leg breaks down and your mechanic tells you it’s beyond repair. The short-term consequence? Your crew can’t open or close the site as quickly as you need to each day. They’re either starting earlier in the morning and staying later at night or restricting the volume of waste that can be collected each day as the site opens later and closes earlier.

The former drives costs skyward. The latter restricts daily revenue. Sometimes, both happen at once.

Long-term, you expect more of the same day after day unless corporate signs off on an unplanned capital expense. Even if they say yes, how long would it take to get an answer? Can you afford to wait?

Leasing the daily cover equipment you need — and tucking it under the operational expenses on your balance sheet — is a compelling opportunity in this case.

First of all, it’s just a better daily cover method.

Second, when providers offer equipment as part of the cost of the cover product, they own the asset and its associated maintenance costs. It’s their capital expense, not yours. And landfill general managers no longer need to worry about robbing Peter to pay Paul. Crucially, they can make this decision on their own instead of kicking it up the chain.

The challenge for government-owned landfills

If you think it’s hard squeezing an extra few hundred grand out of your board of directors, imagine shaking down your neighbors instead.

There is no rainy day fund available for government bodies bound by law to spend only what they need and not a nickel more.

If equipment breaks down and requires an urgent, unplanned expense, public owners have three options, all of them bad:

  • Rob the required cash from some other line item in the budget
  • Do nothing and muscle through it
  • Return to council chambers and hope taxpayers are feeling generous

When we joke that it takes an act of Congress for these sites to make unplanned capital equipment expenses, it’s only a little bit of an exaggeration.

State-of-the-art, all-in-one foam application equipment from Atmos is available at a zero-cost lease to reduce fiscal pressure and provide more budgetary predictability for cash-strapped, taxpayer-supported entities.

As an added benefit, foam daily cover is a faster, cheaper and greener daily cover method. Learn more below.

Other operational benefits of foam daily cover

The leasing model we propose is far from just a way to sidestep the challenges you face in emergencies.

By leasing our foam daily cover equipment instead of owning traditional operations equipment, you can permanently direct a huge chunk of your capital allocations toward items that never seemed to rise to the top of the priority list, including building renovations and expansions or upgrades to utilities or roads.

Totally apart from the greater financial control you gain when you lease Atmos’ foam daily cover system, it’s a superior cover method for a variety of reasons:

  • Foam is a lower-cost alternative to soil, especially in dirt-poor locations.
  • Soil is capital-intensive and labor-intensive to spread. It requires several pieces of company-owned heavy equipment and several hours of wear and tear on the equipment and the labor to operate them.
  • Soil must be scraped off the working face before receiving waste or the site has lost six inches of airspace forever.

In contrast, foam daily cover:

  • Requires only one operator for about one hour a day
  • Utilizes no air-space
  • Requires no scraping or clean-up

When operators choose foam daily cover from Atmos, we own and maintain all equipment. The burden is on us, not you.

Learn more about foam daily cover from Atmos Technologies here.

When you’re flexible, you’re strong

Too often, an inflexible equipment procurement model paints landfill operators into a corner.

It forces them to pick winners and losers or takes decisions out of their hands entirely. Either way, that takes the efficiency out of a landfill’s daily operations. Where efficiency goes, profit follows.

Flexible financing makes the transition to foam daily cover simple and pain-free. Working with Atmos Technologies gives landfill general managers the freedom they need to maintain operational efficiency and make the most impactful use of the capital dollars they fight so hard for.

If you’re thinking of making a change, tell us more about your site.

Want a demo? Schedule one here.