Why Collecting Data about our Rubbish is not a Waste of Time

3 14, 2018

It is becoming common practice for local governments to collect waste and recycling data for the purpose of reporting against national waste minimisation initiatives. As long as the data being collected is comprehensive, consistent and reliable it can become a crucial tool in the battle against reducing the amount of waste that is sent to our landfills each year.

Alongside the need to collect this information for reporting and analysis purposes there are several other rationales and flow on benefits from the collection of robust waste data. 

  1. Benchmarking: It allows councils, the private and community sectors, and Government to benchmark their performance to identify areas of success. This enables progress to be assessed against specific waste minimisation objectives and targets.
  2. Troubleshooting: Together with identifying areas of success, the collection of accurate waste data can also identify potential problem areas. If this monitoring is not in place potential liabilities can be overlooked such as stockpiling of waste at recycling depots or incorrect payments and charges.
  3. Planning: By understanding current performance across the sector it is possible to identify the best way to streamline systems and processes to be the most effective. These types of insights are essential in planning successful waste minimisation strategies and shaping future policies.
  4. Justification: Good data is also extremely helpful for supporting any relevant business cases and for justifying funding for a new recycling scheme or project.
  5. Help prevents levy avoidance activities: Unfortunately, there are some waste handling and recycling centres that partake in levy avoidance activities.  For example, some operators will stockpile materials onsite to avoid levy payments at the landfill. To combat this issue some regulators are turning to the collection of waste data and information to monitor the amounts and types of waste facilities are holding on to. The capturing of this information supports greater transparency and provides regulators with the means to monitor waste levels across facilities.  Essentially, this enables regulators to control excessive stockpiling and encourage the circulation of materials through the waste management process.
  6. Learning more about our waste:  The monitoring of our waste enables regulators to be more informed of the types of waste going to landfill so they can then look at ways to target specific waste streams in efforts to reduce their environmental impact.

Real world examples of waste data collection in action

FINNZ has worked with both NZ and Australian waste regulators to implement systems that enable them to monitor and track the waste within their state more closely.

In NZ, we developed an Online Waste Levy system for the Ministry for the Environment. We provided the tools, processes and operational framework necessary for the successful delivery of the Waste Levy all within a very tight timeframe.

We have also worked with Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science (formerly the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection) to implement a waste data system which now enables the efficient capture and interrogation of information about resource recovery and waste generation, treatment, and disposal across the state.

Our latest project has been in NSW where the Waste and Resource Reporting Portal (WARRP) has provided the NSW EPA with greater visibility on the types of waste that are being stockpiled and areas where reuse and recovery efforts need to be focused. 

Read our case study to find out more how waste data is being managed across NSW.

Click here to read the case study


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