Why we need to rethink sustainable waste

There’s a sense amongst some facilities management professionals that there’s something rotten in the waste collection services industry. After investing considerable amounts of time and money in behaviour change campaigns designed to encourage greater uptake of recycling and more responsible waste management services, they knew that they were recycling more and sending less to landfill, but their data had not changed.

Words by Kate Harris

Was this an issue with the accuracy of the data they provided? We know there’s an increasing demand for waste collection services to find a way to demonstrate their credibility. We also know that it is becoming increasingly difficult for waste collection to keep up with all the different data requirements for the reporting needs of their clients.

With the amount of reporting required, accurate statistics and data covering all levels of the waste and recycling service is vital. The key word here, though, is ”˜accurate’ – and this is where clients are looking for service providers they can trust. Ultimately, business leaders of their sectors want accurate data; they care about where their waste goes and that the waste that’s collected from them is truly being recycled to the fullest possible extent.

We know that organisations rely on data from their waste collection services to meet sustainability and efficiency reporting requirements. They’re looking for partners within the industry who are leading the way and who are proud of the level of quality service they offer. We also know that there are plenty of waste collection service providers who are doing the right thing, and are tired of having their reputation tarnished by the minority of providers who aren’t.

So how can you assure your clients of your leadership in the waste collection services industry?

This is where the idea for a standard for waste collection services comes in. At GECA, we’re moving to create a standard to promote and advocate best practice in waste management and recycling services.  The goal is to help waste collection services provide transparent and accurate data and costs for their clients, and ultimately to reduce the impact of waste on our environment.

We are aiming to provide assurance to facilities managers that their waste is being managed at the highest of standards within environmental and ethical criteria, and have accurate and measurable impact data to communicate. It will also support all manufacturers and industries within NSW to have integrated criteria and best practice guidelines to work with and adhere to.

A standard will enable capturing of data and accurate, streamlined reporting. It is designed to help reduce the need to duplicate reporting into other schemes by integrating with them, with metrics and criteria identified in working with the Green Building Council of Australia, City of Sydney’s Better Building Partnership, the Facilities Management Association, NABERS and the NSW EPA.

The standard will be designed to integrate with NABERS and their waste management tool. If waste collection services are going to collate all that data and go through an audit of their processes to ensure that it’s accurate, then it will be useful to streamline that exact data into the NABERS waste tool.

Ultimately, we want to promote leaders in the industry and celebrate best practice. It is time for us to know that we are truly closing the loop and moving towards sustainable consumption and production. The demand for certified sustainable waste management services is here, and we are here to help.

Join Kate Harris in her panel discussion: ”˜Do energy efficiency and sustainability still matter?’, featuring as part of the Speaker Series at Total Facilities 2017 on Thursday 30 March at 1pm.

About the author: Kate Harris, CEO of Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA)