Oxford City Council has been using vehicle weighing for over six years, to collect and evaluate weight data from its commercial waste collection service, and to help educate local businesses about recycling and save them money.
The authority, via its wholly-owned subsidiary Oxford Direct Services Ltd (ODSL), now has over 30 waste and recycling collection vehicles installed with either bin or underbody weighing equipment.
‘We use weighing,’ said Owain Pearce, transport manager at ODSL, ‘primarily to help us run our commercial collection service although we also equip our domestic vehicles with bin weighing so that they can be used on trade rounds. We can keep track of what our business customers are disposing and monitor their recycling performance.’
The weighing equipment used by ODSL has been designed, manufactured and installed in the UK by Vehicle Weighing Solutions Ltd (VWS). The council uses the VWS ENVIROWEIGH dynamic bin weighing system, which can be used for all types of waste and recycling operations, and all wheeled bin collections.
Highly accurate to within 0.5% (or less than 1k), the ENVIROWEIGH bin weigher is weights and measures approved and can therefore be used for Pay-by-Weight services. As well as pinpointing poor recycling habits and highlighting ‘heavy throwers’, the bin weighing system also records inaccessible and missed bins, manages contaminated or damaged bins and cuts down fraudulent collections.
ENVIROWEIGH integrates with most business systems and IT infrastructures and can be used with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) bin tags or micro-chips to record individual bin data.
The weight data from each collection is sent automatically to the council’s BARTEC waste management software system, where it can be used to report on recycling rates and interrogated to help manage rounds more efficiently. The council has been working with local businesses to understand waste stream quantities and devise more effective collection schemes that increase recycling, cut costs and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.
Ashley Buttress, waste strategy and commercial waste contract manager at ODSL, explained: ‘We weigh each bin and use the information as an educational tool. We approach customers on an individual basis, provide them with a waste audit and then amend their collections where possible to reduce their costs and recycle more.’
‘For example,’ Ashley continued, ‘we may suggest they sort the heaviest waste streams, such as glass and food, and have those collected separately. We work to the reduce, reuse and recycle waste hierarchy. Sometimes there are issues such as businesses not having enough room for multiple bins. In these cases, we try to create a solution such as increasing the number of lifts each week.’
In the future ODSL plans to use the weighing equipment and data to fully automate the recuperation of additional costs.
Trevor Evans, operations director at VWS, said: ‘The relationship between VWS and Oxford City Council has been established over the last six years and we are proud to provide them with a number of weighing systems across their mixed fleet of vehicles.’