Why bill on weight?

Today’s on-board weighing systems are changing the way we think about waste management, explains Trimble’s Paul Corder.

Recent moves by the Federal Government and other stakeholders involved in Australia’s National Food Waste Strategy show that waste reduction, and food waste management in particular, is becoming an increased priority.

In reducing food waste in the supply chain, companies can help the community, while also potentially benefiting financially. The National Food Waste Strategy indicates that 2.2 million tonnes per year of food from the commercial and industrial sector is going to waste, which results in significant waste disposal charges and lost product costs to businesses.

According to Paul Corder, Weighing Director of Technology at Trimble, an increased focus on greater resource recovery comes as the public become increasingly environmentally conscious and state and local governments set waste to landfill reduction targets.

He says this agenda is pushing many businesses to evaluate their waste reduction and recycling efforts in more quantifiable ways. A barrier to these efforts is a lack of transparency around individual bin weights and customer loads in the waste collection industry. Paul sees this increased focus on environmental issues and the growing demand for transparency and traceability in the refuse industry as a good thing.

“What used to be a simple calculation where customers were charged for refuse collection based on waste volume has evolved for several reasons,” Paul explains.

“The traditional pricing model where a waste collector meets with the customer and puts together a price based on bin size, how often the bin is emptied and waste type, is a model that’s losing appeal.

“The issue is the disconnect between how waste collectors charge (fixed volume) and their costs basis (per tonne for disposal). A small miscalculation and they are losing money.”

THE CHAIN OF RESPONSIBILITY

Paul says increased governmental regulations are also are leaving many waste transporters (and customers) at risk. Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law, there are numerous persons tasked with responsibilities around the safe transportation of waste, recycled materials and other loads.

The list of those responsible includes (but is not limited to) a driver of a heavy vehicle, an employer or prime contractor of the driver, a shipper of goods for road transport and loading manager. He says overloading refuse trucks, even inadvertently, can lead to costly fines. On top of that, Paul says changes to the Chain of Responsibility laws coming in mid 2018 are putting increased pressure on waste transporters to improve their practices.

PAYING BY WEIGHT

Paul says it is in this environment that weight-based billing in the refuse industry is attracting significant attention from refuse waste transporters and Australian corporate leaders. Weight-based billing provides real-time data on the billing of waste management services for front and rear loader bins in the commercial and industrial sector.

One influential figure in weight-based billing is Trimble, which sees the industry moving in this direction and has recently had its LOADRITE on-board scale system certified ‘Legal for Trade’ for front-loading refuse trucks. Legal for Trade products meet the European directive for measuring instruments. The Australian standard for approved weighing instruments is governed by the Federal Government’s Division of the Commonwealth Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science – the National Measurement Industry (NMI).

The LOADRITE E2750 system records the weight of each bin so transporters can provide accurate weights to their customers directly. The in-cab display shows weight data calculated from the load and position sensors.

During the normal lifting cycle, the operator sees the bin payload, which helps the operator know if it has been overloaded and is potentially unsafe. The system also has an automatic mode that adds each bin to the total weight, keeping a running total of truck payload, so the operator can know when to dump without overloading the truck. There is no delay in the loading process and the payload is calculated automatically.

Alan Clarke, manager with Weighing Systems Australia P/L is a distributor of LOADRITE Weighing Systems & Preco Reversing Radar.

He says weight-based billing will continue to grow in popularity and become the industry standard over the next several years.

Alan says the company’s success in weight-based billing is aided by Trimble’s LOADRITE solutions and its years of experience, service and responsiveness.

“We’ve always tried to be ahead of the curve in terms of providing weighing products and solutions that help our customers become more profitable and operate more safely,” he says.

Alan says that more solutions and options for on-board scale systems will make weight-based billing more mainstream in the future. Furthermore, it will help improve profits by providing more accurate weights to customers directly.

The LOADRITE E2750 weighing system aims to offer accurate and reliable weighing of every bin emptied and provide traceable data on all loading activity. Paul says this helps waste collectors operate more efficiently. Not only that, after the payload is calculated the total is connected to the customer account via the truck computer. No paperwork is required by the operator and if a customer requires a ticket, the operator can print directly from the cab. Trimble also has a range of front, rear and hook lift truck scales.

TRANSPARENCY IMPROVES PROFITABILITY

These scales and new advancements are working to ensure that waste collection and disposal processes are highly productive and safe. In addition to improving safety, Paul says refuse transporters can now have much greater visibility into their customer waste services.

“They can clearly see which customers are profitable and where they may be losing money,” he says.

The E2750 automatically measures the net weight of the bin as it is emptied, and the system integrates into the machine’s route management system. Paul says measuring payload in this way helps waste collection companies improve safety because there’s no chance of overloading trucks.

In conjuction with a route management system, waste transporters also have a complete record of a customer’s activity, which means they can evaluate profitability. Optimal truck loading helps reduce trips to landfill without the risk of overload penalties.

More data and reporting options also aim to help waste transporters improve productivity and ensure refuse trucks are loaded to the optimised weight for transport. With weight-based billing, Paul says waste transporters can also quickly see individual bin weights with time and date stamps and they can track customers quickly by customer identification, number, bin size and similar metrics.

“On the other side, many commercial customers like it because they can see a complete picture of the waste they’re generating,” Paul says.

“While waste-based billing might be a small part of the equation, when it comes to reducing the amount of waste created, it’s clear that having more insight and transparency around waste collection is a win-win for waste transporters and corporate customers looking to cut costs and clean up their act.”