Getting More Accurate Metrics with OTC Logs

In March, Great Forest introduced a more reliable volume to weight conversion ratio at the International Conference on Solid Waste to help office buildings calculate their waste metrics more effectively.  Now, Great Forest consultants in the D.C. region have rolled out a simple system that can add to that accuracy – Open Top Container Logs (OTCLs).

Great Forest has trained cleaning crews in more than a dozen buildings in D.C., Virginia and Maryland to use OTCLs to record how full a building’s containers are before they are picked up by the waste hauler.  Accurately measuring recycling and waste container fullness levels helps to produce better metrics, which allows us to monitor hauler reliability and reduce costs by optimizing service.  This OTCL system has been so successful that it will soon be expanded to more than 100 buildings.

This is how it works:

Great Forest trains cleaning crews in both English and Spanish, teaching them how to accurately estimate container fullness and record their observations. Logs only take a few seconds to complete, and can be submitted electronically. This allows for an unprecedented level of efficiency and accuracy.

In the OTC logs, cleaners write down if each container they check is at capacity or say, just 50% full, based on our simple measurement guidelines. If a container is consistently only 50% full, we adjust metrics based on that value, and reduce hauler service levels to save money for our clients. If the container is consistently piled-high, we adjust the metrics and increase hauler service to prevent overflow and costly double-pulls.

The OTCL system was developed and improved by Great Forest waste and recycling experts over time. In the early stages, we would drive out to the different buildings to check the containers on pick-up day, but that was not very efficient.  We then thought about using electronic rangefinders, cameras, or scales on the dump trucks. In the end, after a lot of experimenting, we realized that this simple method of utilizing the onsite cleaning crew to record container fullness worked the best.  Cleaning crews are also excited about the system as it is an easy way for them to add value to the services they provide.

Related: Going back to basics leads to better waste management

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