It’s no secret that digital tools are sweeping through different industries and have been for some time now. Seemingly, every day there is a new digital solution changing the way we live our lives and making our daily routine much easier. Our smart devices and constant connections give us total accessibility to new programs, education, and a never-ending flow of information.
Waste360 caught up with Ryan Buhay, account executive, ReCollect Systems, to discuss digital tools booming in the waste industry as well as what attendees can expect from the WasteExpo panel titled, 'Adding Value, Recycling Right: Digital Tools for Community Engagement."
The waste industry is no stranger to digital tools. The billion-dollar industry is constantly finding new ways to innovate how businesses and consumers can achieve a more sustainable lifestyle and circular economy through digital programs. These digital tools, for example, are helping educate residents proper recycling practices and cutting down on contaminates, helping collectors achieve a higher rate of waste diversion, and lower a business’s carbon footprint.
Even as new technologies are booming in the waste industry, Buhay, doesn’t believe we’ve seen the true explosion of digital tools.
“I don’t think the explosion has even hit yet,” Buhay said. “I think the wave is building and I think in the next couple of years we’re going to see an explosion.”
Although the explosion of digital tools in the waste industry is still on the horizon, a big hurdle some of these systems need to deal with is education and how digital tools can make a positive impact. End users need to be able to quickly identify answers to their questions and digital tools allows them to have that information at their fingertips, even quicker and more direct than a Google search may be.
“Our Waste Wizard [search engine] is a great example of that. Type in the item you’re looking to get rid of, whether it’s a curbside item, HHW, bulky item, you’re going to get that fast answer. And I think part of this, and why it’s popular now, is that, doing a digital strategy like that removes a lot of the barriers to information” Buhay said. “If someone’s Googling something and they can’t find the answer quickly and easily, that usually leads to wishcycling. So, if we can get in front of that question with a mobile app, have that answer in the hands of the customer, resident, end user, whoever, the higher chance they’re going to make the right choice.”
Education is just one hurdle for digital tools, the next big leap comes from trust and being able to build trust with users, something that Buhay says digital communication is all about.
“Every interaction with a resident, customer, end user, is an opportunity to increase or decrease trust in the organization. And I think that’s really prevalent now with a lot of recycling. … With our panel, we’re really going to speak to that part of it, the building trust, which is kind of the top piece of ReCollect, and then it’s going to filter down to our customer, Texas Disposal, and how they use our tools to build that trust.”
Buhay has been speaking on panels at WasteExpo for several years now and noted how, year over year, more and more people would attend sessions regarding digital tools.
“First time being [at WasteExpo] I believe was 2018 and the room was about one-fourth to maybe one-third full of people interested in digital solutions. And then, every year after that, I also presented, and year over year there’s more and more interest and last year we had a packed house” Buhay said.
If growing attendance from past panels indicates anything, it’s that there’s an ever-increasing interest in digital tools and how digital solutions can make waste management more effective. Buhay is back for WasteExpo 2023 as a speaker for the Adding Value, Recycling Right: Digital Tools for Community Engagement panel, and says attendees can learn about the beauty of digital communications and what that can mean for businesses and customers.
“Digital communications are about, yes, saving money. But I think even more important is about building trust and empowering people to make the right choice.”
Ryan Buhay is just one speaker for the Adding Value, Recycling Right: Digital Tools for Community Engagement where he will share more insight into digital tools. The panel will be taking place at WasteExpo 2023 on May 2 in New Orleans, La.