Applying a different measure

05 Mar 2020 by Tom Swinbourne

In this series of blog posts that follow the Reconomy and TwinFM roundtables, four topics have been introduced and discussed. In the first post we looked at the change in consumer demands for waste management, highlighting just how environmentally ‘savvy’ consumers are becoming. The second moved onto discuss how waste management’s efficiency can be enhanced through education and technology, to help meet those changing demands of environmentally ‘savvy’ consumers. Up next, we are looking at the different measures in place that can provide the much-needed insight to effectively equip teams to make more informed decisions about their waste management providers.

One of the biggest challenges for businesses is procuring the right waste management provider. There are many factors to consider when choosing, although the biggest driver for businesses tends to be cost – and more specifically, price per bin. As the first blog post pointed out, consumers are expecting more of businesses than just disposing of their waste as cheaply as possible. With that in mind, businesses need to be giving more consideration to sustainability and the long-term costs rather than immediate prices.

Evaluating Current Metrics

Reconomy’s Head of Sustainability, Nathan Gray, mentioned in the round table just how important it is to understand what current waste metrics are representing. Although it sounds obvious, it’s a crucial point to consider for businesses striving towards achieving environmental objectives. If current waste metrics cannot be evaluated, can progress really be tracked?

When it comes to procuring the right waste management provider, reporting is crucial. In the third roundtable session, it was highlighted just how much it can influence costs in the long term. Three measures that are very popular among businesses were mentioned, these being:

• Cost

• Recycling Rates

•Tonnage of waste

These measures tend to transfer into three business objectives, these are:

• To reduce the amount of waste being produced

• To increase the recycling rate

•To reduce costs

For a business to monitor their environmental efforts, these three targets should always be considered, although cost reduction also seems to take centre stage.

Chris Cox, Head of New Business at Reconomy, mentioned how important the cost factor is when it comes to the tender process. A business will typically approach waste management companies and need assistance with environmental objectives; however, they commonly decide over one thing, and that is cost. So, then it becomes a ‘race to the bottom’ of the tender process, with an argument to say that all sustainability objectives are pushed to the back of the priority list.

As examined in the roundtable, procuring based on a cost-driven decision may not be the best way to reduce costs in the long-term. There is an argument to say initially increasing costs may eventually lead to future cost reduction, especially when that investment is in technology.

Improve Efficiency with Technology

As technology systems and platforms develop, efficiency across industry and business develops. In the roundtable, everyone agreed that technology assists with reporting. Although the point was made that the right data needed to be available for this to be effective and the right tools used to intelligently understand and interpret the data. There are already tools available that can assist businesses, one being the Reconomy portal, with reporting:

• Cost

• Recycling Rates

•Tonnage of waste

In addition to reporting, technology can enable wider efficiency gains. A recent innovation in the market is the fully automated Smethwick facility, which features Bollegraaf machinery, Lindner shredding equipment and Pellenc optical sorters. This technology aids the segregation of film, automating the process and sorting materials into different polymer types and colours to increase recycling.

So, technology not only aids the reporting side, it can assist with all factors of waste management. And as the industry evolves further and innovations continue to be explored, it’s now up to businesses and consumers to assist that growth by doing the right thing.

To watch the discussion from the 3rd TwinFM roundtable, visit here