How image-based container sensors can help municipalities control costs and improve waste & recycling services in franchise systems

Municipalities make tough decisions on the best ways to provide efficient, quality, and sustainable services for the betterment of their communities. When it comes to waste management and recycling services, many municipalities take control by choosing franchise or contract structures instead of open market systems. With control, municipalities can adopt and enforce ordinances to increase and streamline recycling, make provisions for the development and operation of necessary infrastructure, mandate service provisions, and reduce the impact of trucks on streets and air quality. On the downside, the rigidity of franchise systems can leave them unable to respond to dynamic waste generator behavior and changing business climates. As a result, generators may misuse recycling and waste container services and ignore restrictions in order to keep their costs low. However, with more information about what is happening “at the curb”, constantly and automatically gathered through image-based container sensors, franchised municipalities can confidently work with their haulers, municipal leadership, and ratepayers to meet demands for cost control and right-sized service.

Growing Pains

Franchised service structures aspire to increase recycling rates and hauler transparency, but do experience growing pains when new programs or objectives are established, new mandates are imposed, and hauling providers are changed or established (as is the case when municipalities convert to franchise structures). Since franchise structures provide for a certain level of exclusivity, removing the ability of consumers to choose their own provider and dictate their own rates, municipalities must be accountable to look for new opportunities to manage costs and deliver quality service, while still meeting their recycling and service objectives.

Until now, municipalities have had no choice but to rely heavily on manual and costly spot checks for measurement and oversight, and contracts that use set schedule pickups and associated rates. Limited container fullness and content data from spot checks does little to help policy enforcement or guide service improvement. Without the ability to monitor activity at each container, municipalities will likely struggle to measure progress, adjust and enforce ordinances, make improvements to service and stay accountable to customers struggling with higher than expected service rates.

The Key to Success: More Information

Image-based container sensors can help reduce franchise rigidity, improving responsiveness to generator behavior and cost consciousness, and also help track environmental objectives simply by providing service level visibility and oversight and enforcement capabilities. By capturing abundant, accurate and up-to-date container data like the location, fullness and contents of a container, along with who is using it and when they were last serviced, Compology’s sensors can be instrumental in improving franchise services and also educating generators on recycling habits.

Yes, franchise systems may be complex, but with newly available sensors collecting container data and providing content visibility, municipalities can meet their goals of Zero Waste, ordinance enforcement and controlled pricing and right-sized service for businesses and apartments.

Actual Compology sensor images providing a first-hand look at the contents of any container.
Web-based access to container location, fullness and container content data.
Written By

Donald Gambelin - Vice President of Business Development - Compology

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