Last month, Compology — whose mission it is to “move the world’s raw materials, finished goods, and waste with the smallest footprint possible” — announced a new partnership with RealPage, the leading provider of software and data analytics to the global real estate sector.
Through this partnership, multifamily property owners and managers can meter their waste and recycling to save money and drive waste diversion goals. Waste360 wanted to learn more, so we followed up with Compology CEO Jason Gates.
Read on for his take on the partnership and opportunity.
Could you please describe how this new waste-metering solution works?
First, we install a camera inside each dumpster at a multifamily property or cluster of properties — and the cameras take a photo three times a day and at every service event. Compology’s AI-powered waste metering technology processes the images to determine fullness levels, identify contamination, track GPS location, and report on activity. This data feeds into the RealPage Waste Management Solution, which also reports cost, scheduling, and pickup metrics to provide portfolio-wide visibility into waste operations and vendor services. Companies can then start to receive benefits in terms of improved cost savings and ROI on waste spend, and improved diversion reporting.
How does Compology’s technology enhance the services RealPage is able to provide to its clients?
RealPage, like all other property owners and managers, already uses sensors to meter water, electricity, and gas. It was a natural extension for us to partner so they can remotely meter waste and recycling activity as well.
You’ve noted that the system can reduce costs by 30-40 percent; how do you arrive at that figure?
Compology has more than 200 customers across 43 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. Over the last eight years, we've processed over 60 million data points for dumpsters at retail and corporate clients, which give us a really good understanding of what customers can expect when they implement this solution.
Given that cost-reduction estimate, how soon could this system pay for itself?
Companies that implement waste-metering technology typically see ROI within three-to-four months; some sooner than others based on how aggressively they change service levels and mitigate fines.
Additionally, some companies are more focused on becoming more sustainable and see a reduction in contamination by 60-80 percent within a few months of implementation.
Compology estimates that most dumpsters are being emptied at 46 percent capacity. How would this system improve efficiency? Can you realistically approach 100 percent?
Absolutely; by using fullness at collection data, customers can right-size service to match container size and frequency of service to their actual needs. We recommend clients strive for at least 80 percent fullness at every pickup to maximize efficiency while steering clear of overages. We automatically look for service level adjustments so we’re continuously highlighting optimization opportunities.
With COVID-19, how can this system provide help to businesses coping with new challenges?
Property owners and facilities managers now have the ability to remotely monitor all of their waste activity across all locations without having to send anyone out to do it — the embodiment of social distancing, staying safe and “working from anywhere.”
During the height of the pandemic, commercial waste volumes plummeted while multifamily and residential volumes increased. Managing your waste operations remotely means companies can continuously right-size their service levels based on their actual needs at any time. This will be especially important as workers return to work, manufacturers scale up to full productivity, and retailers and restaurants open to full capacity nationwide.
How quickly can the data be provided to operators?
Every company manages their relationship with haulers differently. Some provide daily or weekly reports to their haulers to align on service schedules and contamination. Some have quarterly or yearly reviews on expectations versus actual performance. Some share data each time they right-size their service levels. Some package and deliver data and dumpster images to resolve billing issues, or dispute missed services and overage and contamination fines.
How detailed is the information about the waste metering, in terms of weight, materials, recyclability, etc.
Companies can see current and historical fullness levels for any dumpster, any location, or in aggregate at any time. This helps them set rightsizing and efficiency goals to track against, over time.
They can see the same for contamination activity, including which material types are contaminating each stream by container, location and in aggregate to improve diversion rates.
Until now, companies have mostly been reporting waste and diversion based on 100 percent dumpster fullness. But as our data shows, that can be highly inaccurate since most dumpsters are serviced at an average of 46 percent fullness. Now companies can use actual fullness levels and pair material weights based on EPA standards to accurately report on diversion for annual sustainability and CSR reports.
Can companies do whatever they choose with the data that's collected?
Most companies tackle two primary objectives leveraging Compology data. Primarily, they tackle cost savings by:
- Verifying service events
- Rightsizing service levels
- Reducing overage and contamination fines
Secondarily, they strive to meet and exceed sustainability and Zero Waste goals by:
- Cleaning up their streams
- Reducing carbon emissions
- Improving transparency and compliance
Is this system better suited for certain types or sizes of businesses?
Our technology works best for companies that have front- or rear-load trash and recycling service. The more containers, and the more spread out those containers are, the more effective the system is at driving savings and sustainability impact.
For example, it’s already making an impact across a portfolio of Fortune 1000 clients with substantial real estate footprints including Nordstrom, Capital One and ADT Security, as well as residential and commercial property management companies like Cortland, Colliers, Avision Young, CBRE Group, JLL and more.
Anything else we should know?
Compology is always looking to partner with forward-thinking organizations with a collaborative mindset to bring value-driving solutions to the markets we serve. And we send a massive thanks to RealPage for being a great partner.