3 Types of Commercial Waste Audits

Financially, environmentally, and even from a public relations standpoint, getting an accurate commercial facility waste audit is the key to improving diversion efforts and achieving sustainability goals. You need a baseline to work from because the more waste produced by your building, the bigger the problem is. Conducting a waste audit can help you identify opportunities to cut back waste, improve diversion and sustainability measures, and save money. Use a commercial waste audit to get a baseline on your garbage output, so you can put together more effective sustainability and diversion initiatives.  

Benchmark Commercial Waste Audits

A benchmark waste audit is a baseline auditing process that helps a facility identify opportunities to cut waste. This is the easiest and least time-consuming audit. During the process, you will identify the waste streams within your facility and make surface-level changes that reduce waste. This could include employee education on how and when to recycle. If you work with a waste maintenance company, they can recommend changes to your service levels to ensure that you’re paying for the right level of service for your business. The goal is to identify ways to streamline your waste and save money on waste pick-up. 

For example, we frequently perform these initial waste audits for companies and make recommendations that right-size service levels. Benchmark waste audits aren’t meant to be a deep dive into your business processes. If you’d like to cut waste but aren’t in a position to make dramatic changes to the way your business works, a benchmark waste audit is a good starting point. If you decide to go deeper into your commercial garbage down the road, you can always conduct a deeper dive later. 

Forensic Waste Audits

During a forensic waste audit, all of your facility’s waste is sorted, separated, weighed and analyzed. It’s a good idea to hire waste experts for this process, because it can be time consuming and overwhelming for an in-house team to try and do this themselves. Look for an experienced commercial waste company that knows what to look for and how to divert the different types of recyclables being thrown away at your facility. For example, we dig into the actual volume and types of waste produced by your business, then we make recommendations that allow you to divert waste from the landfill and into recycling centers. This includes metals, pallets, food waste, and other materials. 

Your facility could be missing out on opportunities to divert waste, and if so, this audit will uncover those issues. This is a deep dive into your business waste, and we can make much more granular recommendations based on the findings. It’s also a key way to identify diversion opportunities to improve sustainability efforts. 

Comprehensive Waste Audit 

How often do you dive deep into your waste charges and expenses? A comprehensive waste audit goes beyond the physical trash and digs into your service cost history and all the associated waste fees and expenses being charged to your company. As an independent waste service provider, we can examine your expenses and typically identify several areas where we can streamline your costs. We also have relationships with many nationwide haulers, and in many cases we can renegotiate service levels and fees on your behalf to get you more cost-effective services … even if you’re in a contract. 

For example, we’ve been able to use the latest camera and fullness measuring technologies to fine-tune our customers’ service levels and help them save up to 30% on their commercial waste bill. Once we’ve conducted a waste audit, we are able to put together a custom package for each facility.  

If you’re about to embark on a commercial waste audit, start by determining which type of waste audit is right for you. Depending on the size of your facility and the amount of garbage produced, your staff may or may not be equipped to manage an effective waste audit. We’ve helped hundreds of commercial facilities right-size their service after conducting a waste analysis. And we do this with no binding contracts or hidden fees. 

Give us a call and we can determine the right type of waste audit for your facility. We’ll find the right solutions to save you time and money on commercial trash service

Which industrial compactor is right for you?

There are different compactors for different types of waste and businesses, so which industrial compactor is right for your facility? Whether you’re a new facility manager evaluating your waste stream for the first time, or you’re looking at compactors for a new location or different kinds of waste, here’s what you need to know to choose the right industrial compactor.

Self-Contained Compactors

Self-contained compactors are designed to hold wet waste, which makes them useful for locations disposing of food. Managing a restaurant or a university or office building that provides food service? A self-contained compactor is a good option. These compactors are used by grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, stadiums, universities and other businesses that produce wet waste.  

How Does a Self-Contained Compactor Work?

A self-contained compactor may be attached to a building with an opening that allows wet waste to be loaded from the inside. These compactors may also be placed fully inside, or they can be left outside the building, depending on the needs of the business. Wet waste is loaded into the compactor, then a ram compacts the waste until it is pushed inside the container and crushed to a size that’s about 75% smaller than before.

The compactor is fused to the container that holds the waste to prevent leakage. When the container fills up, the container (with compactor attached) is loaded onto a truck. The truck takes the compactor to a landfill where the waste is dumped. Then the entire unit is returned to the business where it begins the process over again. 

What Are the Advantages of a Self-Contained Compactor? 

Self-contained commercial compactors are designed to be liquid-tight to prevent leaks that could compromise the health and safety of your employees. Additionally, there are fewer odors with self-contained compactors, which is especially important if it’s located indoors. Rodents and insects can’t access your trash while it sits in its container, and many self-contained compactors also come with a self-cleaning flushing feature for convenience. 

Vertical Compactors

A vertical compactor, also known as a front-loaded compactor, can be easily emptied using a front-loading truck. They’re perfect for small spaces and buildings that have limited space for a compactor. Vertical compactors hold materials like plastic, cardboard, paper and even some wet materials. Their tall size makes them a good option for apartment buildings and facilities with a narrow trash enclosure.

How Does a Vertical Compactor Work?

To load a vertical compactor, place appropriate waste into the compactor through the front doors. When the container appears full, use the compactor to press down the garbage to reduce its volume. 

What Are the Advantages of a Vertical Compactor?

Vertical compactors are relatively small. This makes them ideal for retail locations and businesses with limited space. Their small footprint combines the usefulness of decreased garbage volume with the functionality of a larger stationary compactor. 

Stationary Compactors

A stationary compactor is a large trash compactor that compresses dry materials like plastic and cardboard. These compactors are typically used in high-volume waste settings like hospitals, department stores, restaurants and warehouses – however, these compactors are only used to compact the dry materials produced by these businesses. Wet materials should be crushed in self-contained compactors. 

How Does a Stationary Compactor Work?

Stationary compactors are bolted to the ground, making them a permanent addition to a facility. The compactor crushes waste into a receiver box, then the container or trailer is hauled to a landfill to be emptied. 

What Are the Advantages of Stationary Compactors?

A stationary compactor is larger than a vertical compactor, so it can hold more waste. This type of compactor is the best choice for businesses that produce large quantities of waste every day such as warehouses and large retail locations. We’ve installed stationary compactors at many warehouse locations to help them cut down on their waste volume and right-size the number of weekly pickups they require. Stationary compactors can cut down on the cost of managing large waste volumes.

Not sure if you need a standard stationary compactor or a vertical compactor? We can help you evaluate your waste flow to find the right solution.   If you’re still not sure which compactor, or combination of compactors, is best for your business, give us a call to schedule a waste evaluation. We’ll find the right industrial compactor solution, whether you manage one location or one hundred.

Top 5 Benefits of Dumpster Camera Technology

There are three major problems our customers tell us keep them up at night: how to cut waste costs, how to hold haulers accountable when service requirements aren’t met, and how to implement new sustainability goals, whether they’re issued from municipalities or their own corporate headquarters. In 2020, we implemented Compology camera technology in all our dumpsters to address these issues. Here are the top five benefits of using dumpster camera technology.

Reduce waste spending

Companies that use dumpster cameras report saving as much as 30% compared to pre-camera service levels. This reduction primarily comes from cutting down on unnecessary pickups and saving on recycling contamination fees. Dumpster camera technology helps us determine the real waste volume a client is producing (rather than just a guesstimation). From there, we can right-size their service level and keep them from overspending on pickups.

Compology dumpster camera technology is also able to detect more than six common types of contamination with 98% accuracy. Customers can more easily identify and remediate recycling contamination before they’re charged hefty fees.

Reduce pickups

It’s no surprise to anyone reading this, but 2020 brought huge shifts to commercial waste service levels. Businesses may have been closed during the shutdown, but their waste contracts were still in effect. During unexpected business disruptions—whether it’s a global pandemic or a natural disaster—dumpster camera technology can remove some of the guesswork from waste volume estimates.

One of our customers saw their waste output drop by nearly half during the height of the pandemic. Yet they were still paying for near-empty pickups. Camera technology enabled us to get a closer look at their actual waste volume and adjust their service schedule. Not only do customers save money, but fewer pickups means less time on the road for trucks. This leads to a smaller carbon footprint.

Support Zero Waste

Companies and municipalities around the globe are committing to Zero Waste goals. Microsoft, for example, set the ambitious goal of diverting 90% of their waste away from landfills and incineration and producing 100% recyclable devices and packaging by 2030. They’ve also committed to building infrastructure to recycle everything from electronics to food waste.

What does that mean for property owners and managers? More waste awareness. Dumpster cameras help cut down on unnecessary pickups and truck travel, but it goes beyond that carbon footprint. With camera tech, you can analyze the types of waste produced and identify new recycling opportunities. You can also prevent recycling contamination in existing waste streams.

Reduce contamination

Compology dumpster cameras are up to 98% accurate at identifying the six most common contamination categories. And their proprietary artificial intelligence system is constantly learning to help improve contamination identification.

In the past, you had to manually check the recycling bin and hope everyone was following the recycling rules. Needless to say, contamination is a major problem at most facilities. Dumpster camera technology removes the guesswork, so your recycling ends up recycled and not diverted to a landfill because of contamination. Not to mention saving the associated fees.  

Verify your waste service

On the subject of manual verification, how do you know whether a garbage pickup happened when no one is on site? For many of our customers, the shutdown meant no one was on site for days or weeks at a time. Trash was piling up for some of these businesses either because scheduled pickups weren’t being made or because there was a huge increase in waste production (for example, take-out restaurants and apartment buildings).

When no one is available to confirm scheduled service, dumpster camera technology can track when (or if) a pickup occurs. This information can hold haulers accountable. The data can also support billing or service disputes. Over time, Compology’s AI system can learn the facility’s service schedule and dumpster volume so it can alert managers to potential overflow situations.

Since implementing dumpster camera technology, we’ve seen promising results with right-sizing our customers’ service levels. To learn more, or to find out how to get ZTERS dumpsters at your facilities, give us a call

New dumpster camera technology for better waste management

What if smart technology could help you know when your dumpster is full? Better yet, what if that technology could help you optimize your pickup schedule so you’re not paying to empty air from your dumpsters? Think about how many times you’ve been charged for a half-empty pickup—or perhaps worse, you’ve had an overflow of garbage mid-week because your facility produced more garbage than you expected. Adding dumpster camera technology helps you find exactly the right service schedule for your facilities.

Testing new dumpster tech

A few months ago, we started testing camera systems on our commercial waste dumpsters. We monitored how accurately they measure waste volume (they’re pretty accurate!), and we tested whether they actually helped our customers adjust their pickup schedule to be more efficient.

Here’s what we found. After installing Compology camera systems in our dumpsters at several locations, we were able to monitor how much waste was generated in a week and we helped our customers fine-tune their service schedule based on output.

Right sizing with dumpster cameras

The real test was how the system would work during the massive changes brought on by the COVID-19 shutdowns. As we expected, the locations with dumpster camera technology were able to quickly and easily adjust their service schedules in a matter of days, not months.

No one had to physically go out and check dumpsters multiple times a day. No one had to drive out to closed locations to check on waste volume. The cameras not only gave us a view into the dumpster for monitoring and security purposes, they also calculated an estimated waste output without anyone having to guestimate the math to figure out how much waste was being produced. It removed the guesswork from deciding how much to increase or decrease trash pickups.

Having the right number of pickups means no wasted effort, and no burden of unnecessary pickup costs.

Time and cost savings

And we discovered other benefits. We were able to conduct service verification, so we knew whether the dumpsters had been emptied without having to physically visit the location. We could also monitor recycling bins and notify our customers if there were bags of regular trash or other contaminants thrown in with the recycling.

You probably know contamination is a major cause of waste fees when they end up in your recycling bin. In some cases, a hauler won’t even pick up your recycling if they see a lot of regular trash bags or other waste in your bin. Rather than getting charged contamination fees or missing pickups entirely, we were able to monitor the situation and help owners and managers fix the problem before they got charged.

One final bonus we noticed is we helped reduce truck traffic rolling through our customers’ parking lot. By right sizing their waste pickups we prevented unnecessary truck trips. That means fewer alley way blockages and traffic jams around the facility as massive trucks maneuver around the building.

After putting camera technology to the test, we’re proud to offer this service to our customers.

Having cameras on your dumpsters helps you right size your waste pickup schedule, it helps you calculate your actual waste output, and it saves you from unnecessary contamination fees and truck traffic.  

Give us a call to find out how we’re adding Compology dumpster camera technology to our customers’ service plans. Find out how we can help you save with a smart camera system.

How to right-size commercial waste due to COVID-19

How are you managing commercial waste during the shutdown? Whether your state has declared a full shutdown or not, commercial facilities from strip malls to multifamily housing units have contacted us to help them right-size commercial waste due to COVID-19. We’ve heard from companies at all points on the spectrum, and here are the top ways we’ve been helping people adjust.

Commercial waste reductions

From empty office buildings to shuttered shopping malls, we’ve heard from our brick-and-mortar facility managers and property owners that waste has understandably dropped significantly. Retailers and restaurants may still be offering online sales and pick-up service, but for the most part waste output has been noticeably reduced.

We’ve been having video and voice calls with commercial property owners figure out how much their waste has been reduced and to find the right pickup schedule to meet their needs for the foreseeable future.

This means fewer pickups and, in some cases, even a pause in service. For property owners who may not have people on the ground watching their dumpsters right now, we recently started using Compology camera systems in several of our dumpsters. The technology allows owners to gauge waste levels and also keep an eye on unattended dumpsters to watch for unauthorized dumping.

Whether you have an existing contract or not, we can help you evaluate your current waste output and come up with a COVID-19 waste plan that works for you.

Increasing waste volumes

On the opposite end of the spectrum, where has everyone gone? Home. And what are they doing? Many are ordering products online. This leaves our multifamily property owners and online retailers with increased waste production. Overflowing dumpsters at apartment buildings are not uncommon right now.

In one commercial warehouse case, we have Wayfair locations reporting a sizeable increase in waste generated since the shutdown! We’re helping these customers find solutions such as increasing the number of pickups, adding technology like cameras to monitor volume and, in some cases, adding additional dumpsters.

Recycling centers are down in some areas, and you may have noticed recycling pickup is suspended in some municipalities. In these areas, we’re working with property owners and facility managers to find solutions that work in the short-term.

We’re also helping them plan for the long-term by developing continuity plans they can implement when the shutdowns end.

Whichever end of the spectrum you find yourself, we’re here to help you right-size your commercial waste during COVID-19. We may not be able to meet in person, but we can schedule video calls and help you evaluate your current waste needs.

Our team has been working remotely to make sure existing and new customers find the right waste solutions for their facilities right now. We can help you right-size commercial waste due to COVID-19, and also help with a plan of action when shutdowns end.

Give us a call today to talk about right-sizing your waste. We can help you with locations nationwide, no matter how many facilities you own or manage.