Entering waste and recycling, Reza Kashani says he did not know much about the industry. Now as Vice President of Strategy, Marketing and Communications and a member of Compology’s senior leadership team, Kashani has spearheaded efforts to bring the company’s sustainable waste-metering technology into the mainstream.
Leveraging AI, Compology measures and analyzes dumpster fill levels, content, and trends. Kashani has launched a series of partnerships that equip Fortune 500 companies and major cities with the technology to improve their environmental footprint. Specifically, he has worked with companies like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Nordstrom to outfit retail dumpsters with waste-metering technology, analyze data to reduce dumpster pickups, and cut carbon emissions.
Waste360 recently sat down with Kashani, a 2022 40-Under-40 award recipient, to discuss the future of waste metering and technology in the industry.
Waste360: Describe your role as VP Strategy, Marketing and Communications for Compology.
Kashani: My focus is on research and execution of Compology’s new strategic initiatives related to revenue streams and expanding our lines of business. I’m also responsible for establishing and overseeing marketing and communications strategy and providing executive-level communications expertise.
Waste360: How have you helped spread the word about Compology’s sustainable waste-metering technology?
Kashani: The tip of the spear is really about education on what waste metering is and the real value it brings. We’ve traditionally focused on educating our industry partners and commercial businesses on the sustainability and cost-efficiency impacts. With successes in partnership with haulers, consultants and more than 1,300 brands, including the likes of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Apple, and Google, we really believe waste metering is no longer a matter of if, but a matter of when -- or rather, how to make it accessible to everyone.
With that commercial success, and proof that waste metering drives sustainability, we’re now also focusing on an initiative to inform municipalities, states, and the federal government -- where we believe we can have an even more impactful, lasting change for better recycling, lower emissions and efficient spending when it comes to waste generation and collection.
Being recognized as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative companies for social good was a great moment to know that we’re on our way to making a significant impact on our planet.
What partnerships have you launched to equip Fortune 500 companies and major cities with sustainable waste metering technology to improve their environmental footprint?
Kashani: As the world recognizes and shifts focus to the importance and impact of waste, we’re helping many of clients collect accurate data and use that to inform reporting in their ESG reports - Apple, W.W. Grainger, ADT Security, Planet Fitness and Exelon - just to name a few.
Waste360: Describe your pilot program with the City of Miami.
Kashani: Prior to implementing Compology’s waste metering technology, the City of Miami had no way to accurately measure how much waste it was producing. As part of the initiative, Compology installed its rugged smart cameras in commercial dumpsters and recycling bins across a number of City locations, from fire and police stations to parks and beyond. Leveraging our waste metering technology, Compology then provided the city with data-driven insights to track and reduce waste, improve recycling and reduce carbon emissions from unnecessary waste to landfill, and provide service adjustment schedules to reduce unnecessary service.
Waste360: What were the goals of the program?
Kashani: The results aren’t ready to share publicly quite yet, but the program went extremely well, and the city of Miami is currently in the works to expand waste metering city wide to support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2035 and increase recycling rates by 50%.
Waste360: What advice would you give to others who work in waste and recycling?
Kashani: I came in not knowing very much about the industry and soon realized how interesting, complicated, and impactful it truly is. My advice would be to be a student -- spend time learning the waste ecosystem and truly becoming a waste and recycling expert. Knowing what’s worked, the pain points, the tailwinds, and headwinds, and what’s on the horizon will really help elevate your career while helping you navigate what to focus on next.
Waste360: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
Kashani: Helping build Compology to what it is today. Jason Gates and Ben Chehebar, Compology’s co-founders, had a vision to use technology to change the industry for the better and help make the world more sustainable. It’s been an amazing experience establishing Compology as a major player and working with a brilliant and dedicated team on technology that will help better collect and report on waste generation and drive improved recycling and lower emissions.
Waste360: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Kashani: What I’ve learned in the past 5 years at Compology is that working on something that can have positive, lasting impact makes the effort and everyday grind worth it, so in 5 years, hopefully, I’m still with Compology, in a world where waste metering is fully established as standard practice in North
America, and working to drive adoption globally.
Waste360: What do you like to do during your personal time?
Kashani: I like to spend time with my family and friends, especially when I get to fly back home to Texas to spend time with my nephew and niece. And, I’m a big basketball fan, so I enjoy catching any NBA game when I have the free time.