If you have a small business, you may well be familiar with the problem: every now and again you need to get rid of some bulky waste but it’s not always that straightforward. The most common solution is to hire a skip, but skips can be expensive and they have to be big enough to take the junk you need to get rid of.
That’s where a company called AnyJunk comes in. AnyJunk is pioneering a solution to this problem – providing an on-demand man-with-van collection service for rubbish that’s too big for your bin.
AnyJunk was founded by Jason Mohr, an investment banker who quit the City with the aim of revolutionising junk removal. Starting from a single truck, which Jason worked on for the first six months, AnyJunk now has a nationwide network of over 400 trucks and undertakes more than 1,800 clearances per week.
But rather than operating its own fleet, AnyJunk actually uses technology to leverage underused capacity of local man-with-van waste clearance businesses. The AnyJunk digital platform matches people who need junk cleared to the nearest available man-with-van team, connecting them via a mobile app as they undertake the collection.
This model means they can provide a faster response at a lower cost and with greener credentials than traditional skip services. And rather than adding trucks and congestion to the roads, they are helping local businesses (their waste removal partners) use their existing fleet more effectively.
Leaner and greener
The environmental difference that AnyJunk is making is due to the business model that they’ve set up. The traditional skip model requires a skip to be delivered to where the rubbish is, and then removed a few days later. What AnyJunk do instead, is to send the closest man-with-van to pick up the rubbish once it’s ready to be taken away.
By doing this, AnyJunk reduces the distances involved and avoids using unnecessarily large vehicles, thereby creating less pollution. Its technology-enabled approach also allows AnyJunk to provide better tracking and a complete audit trail.
‘We operate on a single-visit concept, which saves a round trip and creates less of a carbon footprint,’ says Mohr. ‘Because we run a virtual, ‘Uber style’ network fleet, it means we have access to a lot more vehicles – about 400 – and the distance to collection is much shorter than it would be if we were just running our own fleet of say 30 or 40 vehicles. That’s where we are adding value, by using the spare capacity of existing resources that are already out there to bring down costs and make things greener.’
AnyJunk states that 93% of the rubbish it collects is diverted from landfill and reused or recycled instead. However, Mohr is quick to point out that this figure is pretty standard across the industry.
‘In terms of diversion from landfill, we are no better than anyone else – but our reporting systems are better,’ Mohr explains. ‘No one in the industry seems capable of writing down the amount they’ve collected, and where they’ve taken it to, and then comparing those two figures. So people like the fact that when they put waste through us they’ve got a nice cradle-to-grave audit trail: they know what got picked up whom and when; what registration number and where it was specifically delivered too; and what proportion was recycled and diverted from landfill.’
Waste of space
AnyJunk’s fleet model helps with other problems too, such as the problem of miscalculating skip capacity. ‘Skips are really inefficient. They take up loads of space and other people sneakily dump their own rubbish in them,’ Mohr says. ‘Plus, a skip is invariably the wrong size – either too small or too big.’
What kind of junk
Most people don’t think about national solutions for man-and-van, so that’s why the normal operators are very local and small scale. What AnyJunk does is connect these local services to provide a solution available to anyone, anywhere. ‘AnyJunk’s model fits best where you have variable amount at a random location for a fixed period of time,’ says Mohr. ‘When you talk about waste for businesses, you are normally talking about wheelie bin waste, where someone comes and picks it up on a weekly basis, just like they do with domestic houses. But what we like is where companies are creating a disproportionate amount of bulky waste in disparate locations for a short period of time.’
AnyJunk does a lot of work for the home-improvement brands, such as Wickes, Ikea and B&Q – as well as smaller installers. When they sell a kitchen and bathroom for example, they will use AnyJunk to get rid of the old kitchen and bathroom from the home.
‘We are like a skip on wheels, with the labour, that has a variable amount of waste.’
Hiscox is running a pilot project with AnyJunk, to help deliver more sustainable claims settlements. This service should reduce both carbon and costs associated with claims clear-ups, and improve customer experience by reducing the disruption associated with arranging waste removal.
‘There are many cases where the insurance industry find our service useful,’ Mohr says. ‘Where there has been burst pipe or a fire, there is the initial damage to the contents, like furniture in rooms that might have to be binned. Then there’s the packaging waste that accrues when a new ceiling or kitchen is put in – and we take it away. It’s normally a skip or two loads, but it might be three or four – and that’s where we sit, in this niche.’
Mohr says that AnyJunk prides itself on the flexibility of its service. ‘We can respond anywhere in the country next day guaranteed. We are aiming soon to be able to pick up within the M25 within two hours, and also offer the same with skips with our sister company.’
Usability is also really important, Mohr says. ‘Our clients get to “track the truck”, they receive texts telling them it’s on its way. And they get mugshots of the guys coming to collect and little photos of before and after. It’s just using technology, but applying it to the waste sector, which people aren’t used to, because waste has always seemed prehistoric.’
To find out more about Hiscox’s ClimateWise commitment, visit https://www.hiscoxgroup.com/responsibility/environment