What is Investment Recovery or IR? In business terms, IR is identifying and seizing opportunities to recover spent dollars from surplus, obsolete or outdated and overstocked inventory. In layman’s terms, IR is practicing the old philosophy that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
While NPPD has always utilized opportunities for investment recovery, a milestone step was taken in 2000 when an Investment Recovery Coordinator position was authorized and tasked with identifying and utilizing opportunities to increase IR activities and returns throughout NPPD. In 2012, a second full-time investment recovery position was added to support the program. The success of investment recovery activities is evidenced by the fact that from 2003 through 2014 an average annual return of approximately $1.1 million has been realized. It is expected that this positive trend will continue.
NPPD’s IR Coordinators activities include the collection and sale of scrap metals, reuse of items within different NPPD operations and departments, and the sale and recycling of computer and office equipment. IR activities truly result in environmental, as well as financial benefits to NPPD.
Investment Recovery can also be an integral part of pollution prevention (P2). There can be opportunities for investment recovery in each of the 3Rs of pollution prevention.
- Recycle – Materials such as scrap steel, copper, and aluminum wire can be sold for recycling and represent revenue.
- Reuse – Recovered dollars can come from the sale of transformers, vehicles, computer and office equipment that may no longer be useful to NPPD, but still have useful life, and be of value to someone else.
- Reduce – carefully monitoring inventories of equipment, materials, and supplies, especially those that have a pre-determined shelf-life, and making sure excessive inventories are not maintained. This is often referred to “just-in-time” inventory.
There are “hidden” financial benefits to good IR practices. For example, how much does it cost to maintain an obsolete or surplus inventory? Costs for space, monitoring, insurance, staffing and possibly interest fees can be reduced or eliminated. If obsolete or excess materials are destined for disposal, there are costs associated with storage, handling and inspections prior to disposal. There are also costs for training staff to properly handle wastes that may be hazardous, as well as disposal and possibly permit fees, etc.
Beyond dollars, the environmental benefits of practicing IR are many. By minimizing or eliminating the amount of materials that may end up in a landfill, we protect groundwater, soil and air. At the same time, we reduce the amount of natural resources used to make new products.
Not all things can be reused or recycled, and many times proper disposal is the best option. The nature of some materials may actually create a liability if sold for reuse by others. This is particularly true for materials that may have hazardous characteristics such mercury, PCB, or asbestos containing items.