West Midlands, UK based commercial recycling and waste management company, Weir Waste , has begun implementing bin weighing and identification technology from German firm, Moba to help it get a clearer understanding of the waste it collects and to future proof its fleet of vehicles.
According to Tony Veal, financial director at Weir Waste, by being able to produce detailed reports on the nature of collections the company will not only help existing customers understand better the composition of their wastes, but also be able to attract many new customers who are crying out for this service.
“This will also help us compete harder for local authority tenders whereby there are increasing requirements for waste contractors to provide accurate on-board weighing technology,” he explained.
Over the last year, Weir said that it has been investing in a variety of new technologies as it looks, in a much more granular way, at the waste it collects.
This quest encompassed the purchase of new infra-red sorting technology which accurately identifies and then separates out various different waste streams, including, for example, different grades of plastic, which has helped to the company to move more material away from landfill and more to recycling, and energy production.
Having forensically investigated its wastes post-collection, Weir Waste explained that it was then keen to know what was coming in at the front end. To begin with, it provided its customers with new bins; one for dry waste and one for wet.
However, the company said that whilst some of its vehicles had weighing equipment on board it was very rudimentary and not very accurate. But even this, together with the experience of its operatives, told the Weir that some of the wet bins collected weighed more than the agreed contract limits. And this meant higher disposal costs which could potentially have a negative knock-on effect to all its customers.
“We knew that we needed to put in place new procedures to change the behaviour of those customers who weren’t playing by the rules so that it wouldn’t impact those customers who were. And that meant levying excess penalty charges”, explained Veal.
“We discussed these proposals with a number of our customers and the message we got back was clear; if you adopt penalty charges then you must also adopt highly accurate, weights and measures approved, on-board weighing systems too,” he added.
Pay as you throw
Over the last twelve months, the Weir said that there has been increasing interest in the pay by weight, or ‘pay as you throw’ waste collection model. It has already been formally enshrined in law in Ireland and most of Europe, since it provides a big incentive for waste producers to increase their overall recycling rates and penalises the excess filling of bins.
The waste company noted that number of local authorities, waste contractors and corporations have already publicly endorsed the pay as you throw model, including Malvern Council and the John Lewis Partnership.
Ian Lewis, general manager at MOBA, every waste contractor in the UK is looking to find new ways to reduce their operating costs, and the introduction of bin weight measurement will help them to more closely manage customers and eliminate the overloading of bins.
“This will also provide them with the opportunity to have more meaningful conversations with their commercial customers about waste services better suited to their needs or, better still, to provide practical help to reduce the amount of waste they throw,” he said.
With the requirement of bin-weighing becoming an increasingly important part of all new public and private tenders, Weir said that it realised that it needed the most comprehensive and accurate system available - and that it should be a fully compliant weights and measures approved, certified bin-weighing system.
Having searched the market for potential suppliers, Weir explained that it was the demonstration by MOBA that convinced them that it was the most suitable option for it.
“The accuracy of the MOBA system was a key selling point but what really impressed us was the simplicity of use which required no manual intervention from our operatives,” said Veal.
“This means that our collection processes could work in normal speed, but with the confidence that each bin was being accurately weighed,” he added. “We also liked the modular nature of the system, which means we can add in additional components such as bin identification which we fully intend to in the coming months.”
Weir Waste’s new fleet of five refuse collection vehicles, to add to its existing fleet of 45 vehicles, is now fitted with MOBA technology and it is now also now planning to retrofit its fleet of front-end loading vehicles with MOBA bin weighing and ID technology.
The company said that it is now able, at any point during the day, to download data from each of its vehicles that will provide detailed management information including the weight of each bin collected, its location and even Google map points.
Weir added that this data is being sought after by increasing numbers of customers who need better information on the waste they are throwing.
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