Evolving attitudes about the environment, combined with increasing government regulations, are making waste management and recycling a higher priority than ever before across Australia. However, while environmentally-friendly consumer programs are helping households reduce waste and increase their recycling efforts, regulatory changes can put waste haulers at risk. For both parties, a lack of transparency around individual bin weights and customer loads create barriers to success – but innovations in technology are helping waste haulers overcome those barriers.
“What used to be a simple calculation, where customers were charged for refuse collection based on waste volume, has evolved for several reasons,” said Paul Corder, Weighing Director of Technology at Trimble, who sees the increased focus on environmental issues and the growing demand for transparency and traceability as a good thing.
“The traditional pricing model where a waste hauler 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 favour,” he said. “When that hauler heads to the weighbridge and disposal, they pay by weight. The issue is the disconnect between how haulers charge - fixed volume - and their costs basis, which is calculated per tonne for disposal. With just a small miscalculation, they lose money.”
Weight-based billing and certified for trade
Overloading refuse trucks, even inadvertently, can lead to expensive fines, and modifications to the Changes to the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws coming in 2018 are putting increased pressure on waste haulers to improve safe hauling. It is in this environment that weight-based billing in the refuse industry is attracting significant attention from refuse waste haulers and Australian corporate leaders.
Trimble, a leading provider of technology for waste management, sees the industry moving in this direction and has recently had its LOADRITE on-board scale system certified ‘Legal for Trade’ (LFT) for front-loading refuse trucks. The LOADRITE E2750 system records the weight of each bin so haulers can provide accurate weights to 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. The system also has an automatic mode that adds each bin to the total weight, keeping a running total of total truck payload, so the operator can know when to return without overloading the truck. There is no delay in the loading process and the payload is calculated automatically.
“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,” said Alan Clarke, manager at Weighing Systems Australia P/L is a distributor of LOADRITE Weighing Systems. Clarke believes that weight-based billing will continue to grow in popularity and become the industry standard over the next several years.
“More solutions and options for on-board scale systems will make weight-based billing a reality and more mainstream,” he said. “We want to help waste haulers find more ways to operate more efficiently and improve profits. By giving haulers the ability to provide extremely accurate weights to customers directly, we are delivering on our promise and helping them meet their business goals.”
The LOADRITE E2750 weighing system offers accurate and reliable weighing of every bin emptied and provides traceable data on all loading activity. Many believe this move is significant because it can help 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, which are currently not certified ‘Legal for Trade’ (LFT).
More transparency for haulers improves profitability
These scales and new advancements are helping ensure that waste collection and disposal processes are highly productive and safe. In addition to improving safety, Corder believes refuse haulers 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. More data and reporting options also help haulers improve productivity and ensure refuse trucks are loaded to the optimized weight for transport. Haulers can also quickly see individual bin weights with time and date stamps, and they can track customers quickly by customer I.D., number, bin size and similar metrics.
“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,” Corder said. “Measuring payload in this way helps waste collection companies improve safety dramatically because there’s no chance of overloading trucks or getting fined. Haulers also have a complete record of that customer’s activity, which means they can evaluate profitability. Optimal truck loading helps reduce trips to the landfill, without the risk of overload penalties. On the other side, many commercial customers like it because they can see a complete picture of the waste they’re generating.”
ROI for all
Many believe that by focusing on reducing food waste in the supply chain, companies can help the community, while also benefiting financially. In fact, a recent study by the World Resources Institute (WRI) reports that for every dollar invested in food loss and waste reduction, there is a greater than a 14-fold financial return on investment. 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 haulers, their customers, and for the environment.
July 2018 Editorial: Inside Waste is the official publication of the Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA). Often referred to as the waste industry bible and with an independently audited circulation (5,652) our distribution is guaranteed. Inside Waste is Australia's leading waste industry publication.
Published bi-monthly, including a WMAA News page, it reaches all WMAA members, all local governments, waste contractors and consultants, equipment and technology suppliers and state and federal government.