June 25, 2015
Defining and Reporting Waste Reduction: Effective Metrics for Better Performance
Defining and Reporting Waste: Effective Metrics for Better Performance welcomed a panel of experts to share their perspective on metrics: Peter Hargreave, Director, Policy & Strategy, Ontario Waste Management Association; James Gray-Donald, Vice-President, Sustainability at Bentall Kennedy; and Bala Gnanam, Director, Sustainability and Building Technologies, Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Toronto Area.
Peter Hargreave covered how to drive accountability in end-of-life management for the IC&I sectors; and looked at best practices, challenges, and potential solutions to provide tracking and reporting materials that allow for accurate key performance indicators for national portfolios, reporting, and benchmarking. He also provided details of how his association is building measurement and auditing tools to support standardization of measurement and reporting.
James Gray-Donald spoke about Bentall Kennedy’s Eco Tracker system that tracks and reports on waste performance, and shared the company’s process for determining waste-related key performance indicators. He also provided examples of how they are centralizing their environmental measurement reporting and using procurement influences to improve the accountability of their service providers.
Bala Gnanam took on tracking and reporting on waste performance from an industry-wide perspective, how building owners and managers address waste performance as part of environmental reporting, and BOMA Toronto initiatives to support its members.
The discussion was open and unfettered, and revealed many ideas on which to move forward.
Other key points:
- Commodity prices influence how well a materials is collected and separated at the Material Recovery Facility (MRF)
- Landfill disposal fee is the most direct way to incent greater recycling.
- Currently landfill prices are cheap, driven by low fees in the United States.
- Waste is treated as a commodity so it falls under North American Free Trade Agreement rules, which creates a free border so controlling materials beyond borders is difficult.
- Standards are required:
- Clear and consistent definitions around waste and recycling.
- Clear and consistent reporting of materials collected vs. materials recycled.
- Material collectors interact with each other so they may use each other’s facilities such as a transfer station.
- There needs to be greater accountability through standardized audits.
- Tenant engagement can improve participation in source separation programs and can drive tenant costs down.
- A tool to engage tenants may be through the agreement between landlord and tenant.
- From a service provider’s standpoint: landlord/property management interaction / co-operation needs to be stronger.
- Municipal vs. commercial waste management:
- Municipalities often have specific and more stringent requirements from their service provider and they are one large client with several routes which allows for better reporting.
- Commercial and Institutions. The route will change to collect from a variety of customers and the materials managed are more diverse.
- Tenuous standardizing of what is considered diversion.
- Waste industry must become more sophisticated – customers are increasingly demanding service providers that help them reduce and divert more materials.
- Indicators for materials beyond the diversion rate metric currently used:
- 3RCertified uses capture rate and per unit year over year reduction rate in addition to diversion in order to reward (points system) and track performance. This puts a focus on reduction versus and recovery versus collection.
- Qualitative indicators (as suggested by panel) include: education, staff training, spot audits – rate of contamination – and procurement.
- General indicators prove a fluid and real-time measurements for building managers to understand their performance, as well as get a better understanding of ways to improve operations.
- Transparency is important aspect of improving material tracking and reporting; what is collected and counted as diversion rate per building, is different than what is actually recycled.
- Financial incentives are needed to ensure there are marketplace drivers to increase recycling.
Defining and Reporting Waste: Effective Metrics for Better Performance is the first in a series showcase on waste reduction for the non-residential sector. Join us in fall 2015 as we continue our Knowledge Sessions series showcase on IC&I waste reduction.
Knowledge Sessions 2015 Series Sponsor