Often the first question I hear from a property manager, when they view their waste audit results, is: “So is this good or bad?”
That’s really the main question for all metrics – knowing the status quo isn’t helpful unless you have something to compare this to. Is waste diversion better than last year? Are hauling & processing totals down?
Knowing the answers can help you negotiate better deals with your hauler, for example, so there is some impetus to understand pure comparatives. But better than this, is being able to understand causes for change. If a travel agency has been replaced by a printer in your building, you would expect higher levels of paper waste. Being able to pinpoint the cause of the change helps set and achieve realistic goals.
In order to do this, you first need to take the step of benchmarking. This means identifying the differing streams of waste, from each of the different sources. We call this a comprehensive audit, and the result is a benchmark you can use to gauge performance on a monthly or quarterly basis.
We’ve seen property managers incentivize or penalize tenants based on the benchmarks. This can get everyone on board to the waste reduction program. More importantly, it allows for constant vigilance. If you review waste totals on monthly basis, you know when they are above average, or trending upwards, and can take remedial action. This always produces better results than a simple year-end review of cumulative building results.
The awareness which benchmarking brings is perhaps the most important aspect in achieving excellent waste reduction results.