Sustainability | 08.26.21

How Technology Can Help Businesses Achieve Their Sustainability Goals

by Jason Gates

Sustainability | 08.26.21

How Technology Can Help Businesses Achieve Their Sustainability Goals

by Jason Gates

How Technology Can Help Businesses Achieve Their Sustainability Goals

This article originally appeared on the B The Change blog by B Lab.

Roughly 10 years ago, I was project managing construction sites and found myself frustrated with the inefficiencies and environmental impact of waste disposal and collection – the wrong waste types going in the wrong containers and those containers being overserviced, causing contamination and an unnecessary number of garbage truck visits to our work sites. At the same time, my now co-founder and life-long friend, Ben, was working with the application of sensor technology for data collection. 

A conversation over my frustrations led us to realize that just as there was a real opportunity for impactful industry change: collecting accurate waste data at the source so companies could take actionable steps to reduce their footprint while reducing inefficient spending. We realized that just as corporations relied on business intelligence data, waste intelligence data would give them the information to drive their environmental strategies and maximize their profits.

A sustainability solution that makes financial sense

At Compology, our focus is to make sustainable and economical waste management the norm. Using smart cameras and AI, waste metering at the dumpster level delivers more resource efficient collection, but also helps inform proper disposal to divert more waste from landfills, increase recycling rates and reduce truck miles traveled; all of which lower a business’s carbon footprint. This allows businesses to do good while doing well.

With B-Corp Certification, Compology joins a network of socially-responsible businesses dedicated to using corporate practices to build sustainable solutions while maintaining a  commitment to doing right by their employees and communities.

As corporate environmental responsibility has evolved from a fringe movement to standard business practice — with 63% of Americans hoping that businesses take the lead to fight climate change — we’re honored to be a part of B Corp’s network of socially-responsible businesses dedicated to using corporate practices to build sustainable solutions. We’re excited to enable other companies to meet the impressive sustainability goals outlined by B Labs by helping them harness and utilize the data they need to reduce waste, cap carbon emissions, and save money.  

As part of B Corp Labs mission to use business as a force for both corporate and social good, below are three ways businesses and government can implement sustainable corporate practices that save money.  

1) Reduce Your Carbon Footprint (and Save Money!) By Adjusting Waste Service Schedules

Did you know that, on average, waste dumpsters are serviced at 51% fullness? This results in unnecessary garbage truck miles traveled as well as paying for more than your actual service needs. 

Companies can leverage waste metering to identify their waste levels and rightsize their service schedule based on their actual needs. This not only reduces carbon emissions as a result of fewer garbage truck miles traveled, but also saves businesses money through efficient service scheduling. On average, waste-metering helps businesses reduce their spending on waste collection by 30%.

2) Recycle the Right Way

Recycling is a critical component of sustainability, but it only works when we do it right. Despite the power of recycling, most recyclable waste ends up in landfills. In the United States, 75% of our waste is recyclable, but only a third actually gets recycled. Recycling contamination is a major cause of this disparity.When non-recyclable products are thrown into a recycling dumpster, they can contaminate the entire load. If a recycling dumpster is too contaminated, its contents  head for landfill instead of materials recovery facilities. This is no small issue–  roughly a quarter of all recycling truck hauls are too contaminated to go anywhere but straight to landfills.

Waste metering technology can identify contaminants at the point of disposal and provide timely, targeted alerts so action can be taken to remove contamination before it makes it into a garbage truck headed for a landfill and also to educate on proper disposal to avoid future contamination. With waste metering technology, companies can make sure that they are following through on zero-waste, low-emission commitments.

In the city of Livermore, California, the municipal government was able to reduce recycling contamination by 80%.

3) Measure– and Limit– Landfill-Bound Waste

It’s no shock that landfills represent a scourge on the environment. The unsightly trenches pollute our land and atmosphere. A recent study found that humans generate about 4.5 trillion pounds of waste each year. And that waste creates greenhouse emissions. In 2019, landfills were the third largest source of methane emissions in the United States. If companies are serious about limiting their greenhouse gas emissions, they must reduce their landfill-bound waste. 

Compology’s waste metering technology tracks how much waste a company produces. With this data, companies can evaluate whether strategies aimed at reducing waste work, target their plans accordingly, and quantify impact over time.   

In fact, after using waste metering technology, Apple Inc. reported that they were overestimating waste by nearly 50 percent. Likewise, Fortune 500 Company, W.W. Grainger, Inc. built a more sustainable supply chain by reducing its waste service by 50% while cutting carbon emissions using waste metering technology.. 

Tracking our progress

As businesses and governments continue to pledge ambitious environmental agendas and aim for sustainable solutions, waste metering technology allows them to direct their efforts effectively and track progress accurately. Data informs us of what strategies work– and what strategies don’t. It’s time to transition waste and recycling from “out of sight, out of mind” to front and center by providing full visibility through waste metering data that enables real environmental progress. 

This article originally appeared on the B The Change blog by B Lab.

Roughly 10 years ago, I was project managing construction sites and found myself frustrated with the inefficiencies and environmental impact of waste disposal and collection – the wrong waste types going in the wrong containers and those containers being overserviced, causing contamination and an unnecessary number of garbage truck visits to our work sites. At the same time, my now co-founder and life-long friend, Ben, was working with the application of sensor technology for data collection. 

A conversation over my frustrations led us to realize that just as there was a real opportunity for impactful industry change: collecting accurate waste data at the source so companies could take actionable steps to reduce their footprint while reducing inefficient spending. We realized that just as corporations relied on business intelligence data, waste intelligence data would give them the information to drive their environmental strategies and maximize their profits.

A sustainability solution that makes financial sense

At Compology, our focus is to make sustainable and economical waste management the norm. Using smart cameras and AI, waste metering at the dumpster level delivers more resource efficient collection, but also helps inform proper disposal to divert more waste from landfills, increase recycling rates and reduce truck miles traveled; all of which lower a business’s carbon footprint. This allows businesses to do good while doing well.

With B-Corp Certification, Compology joins a network of socially-responsible businesses dedicated to using corporate practices to build sustainable solutions while maintaining a  commitment to doing right by their employees and communities.

As corporate environmental responsibility has evolved from a fringe movement to standard business practice — with 63% of Americans hoping that businesses take the lead to fight climate change — we’re honored to be a part of B Corp’s network of socially-responsible businesses dedicated to using corporate practices to build sustainable solutions. We’re excited to enable other companies to meet the impressive sustainability goals outlined by B Labs by helping them harness and utilize the data they need to reduce waste, cap carbon emissions, and save money.  

As part of B Corp Labs mission to use business as a force for both corporate and social good, below are three ways businesses and government can implement sustainable corporate practices that save money.  

1) Reduce Your Carbon Footprint (and Save Money!) By Adjusting Waste Service Schedules

Did you know that, on average, waste dumpsters are serviced at 51% fullness? This results in unnecessary garbage truck miles traveled as well as paying for more than your actual service needs. 

Companies can leverage waste metering to identify their waste levels and rightsize their service schedule based on their actual needs. This not only reduces carbon emissions as a result of fewer garbage truck miles traveled, but also saves businesses money through efficient service scheduling. On average, waste-metering helps businesses reduce their spending on waste collection by 30%.

2) Recycle the Right Way

Recycling is a critical component of sustainability, but it only works when we do it right. Despite the power of recycling, most recyclable waste ends up in landfills. In the United States, 75% of our waste is recyclable, but only a third actually gets recycled. Recycling contamination is a major cause of this disparity.When non-recyclable products are thrown into a recycling dumpster, they can contaminate the entire load. If a recycling dumpster is too contaminated, its contents  head for landfill instead of materials recovery facilities. This is no small issue–  roughly a quarter of all recycling truck hauls are too contaminated to go anywhere but straight to landfills.

Waste metering technology can identify contaminants at the point of disposal and provide timely, targeted alerts so action can be taken to remove contamination before it makes it into a garbage truck headed for a landfill and also to educate on proper disposal to avoid future contamination. With waste metering technology, companies can make sure that they are following through on zero-waste, low-emission commitments.

In the city of Livermore, California, the municipal government was able to reduce recycling contamination by 80%.

3) Measure– and Limit– Landfill-Bound Waste

It’s no shock that landfills represent a scourge on the environment. The unsightly trenches pollute our land and atmosphere. A recent study found that humans generate about 4.5 trillion pounds of waste each year. And that waste creates greenhouse emissions. In 2019, landfills were the third largest source of methane emissions in the United States. If companies are serious about limiting their greenhouse gas emissions, they must reduce their landfill-bound waste. 

Compology’s waste metering technology tracks how much waste a company produces. With this data, companies can evaluate whether strategies aimed at reducing waste work, target their plans accordingly, and quantify impact over time.   

In fact, after using waste metering technology, Apple Inc. reported that they were overestimating waste by nearly 50 percent. Likewise, Fortune 500 Company, W.W. Grainger, Inc. built a more sustainable supply chain by reducing its waste service by 50% while cutting carbon emissions using waste metering technology.. 

Tracking our progress

As businesses and governments continue to pledge ambitious environmental agendas and aim for sustainable solutions, waste metering technology allows them to direct their efforts effectively and track progress accurately. Data informs us of what strategies work– and what strategies don’t. It’s time to transition waste and recycling from “out of sight, out of mind” to front and center by providing full visibility through waste metering data that enables real environmental progress. 

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