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For good measure

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Waste data can be a key tool to reaching environmental, social and governance goals. Trimble’s Paul Corder talks with WMR.

Waste export bans, carbon emission targets and a move to a circular economy have forced Australians to take more responsibility for their waste. 

Sustainable development strategies and environmental and social governance (ESG) are now as important in the boardroom as the bottom line.

However, with zero waste targets and pledges to reduce environmental impact comes accountability. Consumers want to know that measurable action is being taken and businesses are not just ticking the boxes for social responsibility.

Paul Corder, Waste Sector Product Manager at Trimble, says waste producers such as supermarket chains and restaurants are looking for hard facts on how their waste minimisation regimes are working.

“Not only are they looking at the environmental impact, but they are very aware of the perception of the community,” Paul says. “If they are seen to be environmentally wasteful, it can have a direct impact on their brand.”

Foodwise Australia estimates that 20 to 40 per cent of Australian produce doesn’t make it to a supermarket shelf for cosmetic reasons. About five per cent of all food in the restaurant business is binned because of spoilage and food waste is about three per cent of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Paul says if people understand what their waste output is, they have an opportunity to change their habits and reduce their waste. He says supermarkets and restaurants are turning to waste haulers to provide accurate, granular data that allows them to take action financially and for ESG purposes.

“The landscape is changing to haulers not being someone who just takes away waste but to being someone who provides much more value,” he says.

TrimbleTrimble’s LOADRITE refuse truck scales collect accurate waste data automatically, without interaction from the driver. The scales can be integrated with any management system and are trade approved and certified to meet Australian Government standards.

The scales weigh full bins as they are picked up and empty bins as they are put down for each customer. Weights are then provided to the hauler’s database. 

“If you want to track how much waste reduction you’ve made, simply counting the number of bins you put out is not good enough,” Paul says. “Weight is a reliable measurement of how much material you are actually throwing out.

“The LOADRITE refuse truck scales record the exact weight, the customer, waste producer, time, date and location the waste was picked up. Customers can see the patterns of how they’re producing waste, which is really important.”

He says while some haulers might perceive waste minimisation as a threat to their business, the data collected presents an opportunity as a non-discounting point-of-difference for both existing and new customers.

“It can be a significant competitive advantage,” Paul says. “If you can provide more value for less material being moved then it’s not a threat for your business, it’s an opportunity because your costs go down and your competitive advantage goes up.”

That competitive advantage extends to ESG. Paul says having the ability to provide auditable information about where waste is collected from, how much there was and where it went is the next stage for ESG reporting.

“We’ve all heard the challenges of recycling in the past few years. People want to know where their waste is going, especially that it’s not going to end up in landfill.

“From an ESG view it’s no longer acceptable to say my waste has been picked up, it’s not my responsibility. As a producer of waste, you should be asking for tracking. How do I know that I’m receiving the service I’m paying for? Where did it get tipped?  These are all important parts of the waste stewardship journey.

“Those haulers who can do that are likely to win business over those that cannot.”

Major truck body manufacturers can provide LOADRITE refuse truck scales as a factory-fit option, but the scales can also be retrofitted. 

Trimble has distributors and service centres in major cities across Australia. Remote service is also provided. 

For more information, visit: www.trimble.com/waste 

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