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RWM – Waste Data Opportunities

RWM logoThe Resource Waste Management (RWM) event, which took place in September, is a unique event covering all aspects of waste management. The event not only provided a platform for networking and showcasing management tools but also hosted expert talks and panel discussions on elements such as the circular economy, technology options and opportunities for progress in waste management.

Following the publication of the  RWM Ambassador’s Report on the future needs of waste data, SiteSmart’s Stuart Blofeld went along this year to take part in a panel discussion chaired by Dr Adam Read, Practice Director of Resource Efficiency & Waste Management at Ricardo Energy and Environment, on the use of data in waste management. Joining him was Jacob Hayler, Cheif Executive at Environmental Services Association, Stuart Hayward-Higham, Technical Development Director at Suez, and Paul Jennings, Director at Constructing Excellence in Wales. In what turned out to be the second most attended event at the RWM event, Stu provided insight into the construction industry’s current and future role in waste data utilisation.

So, what important aspects were raised?

While the report shows many sectors to be falling behind with regards to waste data collection and management, the construction industry leads the way as data input has largely become standard procedure.

Through management tools such as SmartWaste and information hubs like SiteSmart, the construction industry has been able to standardise waste data collection throughout businesses and supply chains. In doing so data is collected in a uniform language, making the sharing of information more accessible, the management of waste processes more efficient and the identification of performance improvement focuses clearer.

That being said, the construction industry still has far to go with maximising waste data usage…

Missed Opportunities…

As Stuart so rightly pointed out, it is all very well that the construction industry excels in waste data collection, management and analysis, but this can all be undermined if changes and improvements to the way waste is actually managed onsite, based on the data collected, are not made. Whilst the construction sector has focused very successfully on the diversion of waste from landfill, it is how it addresses the management and reduction in waste created onsite that can really make all the difference.

Energy hierarchy Currently clients using management tools are not using them far enough up the waste hierarchy. There is a huge opportunity for organisations and project managers to utilise the data produced through waste management tools to improve reuse and recycling rates on site, therefore reducing the amount of waste being taken off-site altogether.

To achieve this, and not just in the construction industry alone, SmartWaste, and similar tools, can help through the provision of open shared data platforms. The production of quarterly benchmarks enables SmartWaste users to analyse their waste data in comparison to the wider industry while also highlighting the missed opportunity of onsite material reuse.

The 2017 addition of the DataHub to SiteSmart looks to further this unlocking of shared data; leading the way in maximising data usage and highlighting the areas that require a nation-wide focus.

In flagging up such opportunities for future steps in waste management Stuart emphasises just how much BRE have to offer to this RWM waste group.