Waste tracking: How to track project waste accurately and efficiently
What kind of waste are you producing and managing?
Waste is a byproduct of almost every process on Earth, and managing all of that waste in an efficient and effective manner can be difficult - even for the most complex and sophisticated systems and organisms.
We have a lot of waste in the world, and many different types of waste. General waste requires an incredible amount of coordination and effort from private companies, governments and regulators, while hazardous waste, electronic waste, food waste, medical waste and other waste sources require their own dedicated efforts and resources.
As a company who services the heavy industries (construction, mining, oil and gas, manufacturing etc.), we are going to focus this article on waste tracking on projects - and how that can be improved and streamlined.
These industrial projects, which involve building bridges, houses, managing pipelines and more, usually involve incredibly large amounts of waste which are produced and compiled quickly through different stages of production such as demolition or building.
While crucial to the overall success of a company, waste tracking often plays second fiddle to actual production - because waste is the byproduct of the value being created - not the value itself, at least for the companies working on the project.
So we are going to take a quick dive onto waste tracking and how it can be improved on your projects quite easily by using a single system for streamlining the two most important elements of tracking waste:
- Accuracy - Documenting how much waste has been moved, who it's been moved by, where it's been moved and more
- Efficiency - Documenting the movement of waste in a way which is efficient for workers in the field as well as for the company
Accurate waste tracking
Like almost all processes in construction and other heavy industries, understanding what's happening on projects requires good documentation. For general construction, documents like site diaries and progress reports are the main source of 'tracking', while for quality management, punch lists and snag lists do the same job.
For waste tracking, the same type of mechanism is required - which is often called a docket or form.
The idea behind this form is that when waste moves from one place to another, such as from site to a waste disposal area, it is tracked through a docket or form. As with all deliveries or movements of goods where multiple parties are typically involved, it's critical that the document is signed off by participating parties and 'approved'.
This is the first and most important part of the waste tracking process, because there isn't anything to track if you don't have an initial input.
Ensuring you have a standardised and reliable waste tracking template is the best way to make sure that all workers and parties are filling in all of the information you need to properly track waste from start to finish.
If you don't make this step simple and straight forward, then the entire process falls apart quickly, which brings us to managing this process efficiently.
Use and edit this waste tracking framework for yourself.
Tracking waste efficiently
The only really efficiently way to track waste is to use a single digital waste tracking tool, which usually takes the form of a waste tracking app or software.
A system like this streamlines waste tracking from the source and origin of the waste - on site or in the field - all the way to the information management system - which can then be stored, analysed, audited and more.
How does a system like this work in reality? Let's take the example of a large scale project to understand the differences between this and an old-school approach.
On a big construction projects, there could be hundreds of delivery dockets and waste tracking dockets filled out. When filled out with paper or PDFs, all of these dockets need to be filled in manually, manually signed off, walked back to the office, scanned onto a computer, sent via email, and then reconciled into some form of a database.
Using a smarter system, the process would be drastically streamlined. Workers in the field or on site open a digital docket on their phone or tablet, fill it in quickly and sign it of digitally. These records are instantly synced online where the administrator can access them instantly and convert them into their favoured format.
This way, no records get lost or delayed, and all of the tracking data is accurate, reliable and instantly useable.
You can even setup notifications so that an admin or project manager gets a notification when a waste load is received or delivered, and manage client communications through these seamless workflows to reduce disputes.
This type of system works great for project waste tracking, and it can also work well for hazardous waste for any type of company, food waste and other types of tracking too.
The future of waste tracking
The future of waste tracking is digital, like almost all workflows. In a few years time, the cost of managing waste using paper, phone calls and emails will be too high and the risk too great. Increased regulation and performance pressures will make it unfeasible to manage waste tracking in this way.
Future workflows will layer on top of the current tools and technologies being used above, and the main changes and developments will be in how the data is captured and how the system learns from what is happening.
From a data capture standpoint, smart hardware will start sending data directly into systems like the above, where weigh bridges and scales speak to these systems automatically. This will reduce human admin and also drastically reduce basic errors like wrong manual inputs.
Once the data is ingested, systems will get better and smarter at managing and learning from all of this data through machine learning, which will inform environmental managers and other workers on how to improve how waste is managed and moved moving forward.
Don't miss the current boat and fall behind the waste tracking bandwagon - get started with smart waste tracking now.
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