Many BOMA Calgary members are now well acquainted with the challenges of implementing a food and yard waste diversion program to be compliant with the City of Calgary Food and Yard Waste Bylaw which came into effect November 1, 2017. From finding room to fit more recycling containers, educating tenants and figuring out which vendor to use for food waste diversion services it was a busy time for property managers across Calgary. Now that the dust has settled and tenants are getting into the swing of food waste diversions it’s a good time to review and see what challenges and successes BOMA Calgary members have experienced.
BOMA member Cushman and Wakefield Asset Services Inc. knew that implementing a food waste diversion program at a busy shopping centre was not going to be easy. They enlisted the support of RecycleSmart, a leading waste and recycling consulting firm, to assist with the roll out of the food waste diversion program at Marlborough Mall. RecycleSmart assisted the location managers in assessing the service requirements of the property, sourced the appropriate vendors, containers and equipment to make the program a success. RecycleSmart was responsible for delivering and staging all the collection bins for the organic waste program and then Cushman and Wakefield Asset Services Inc. location managers delivered all required equipment in a coordinated program launch.
To make success more likely tenants were provided with food waste diversion containers and compostable bags. This further reduced the barriers to success and management and tenants can easily reorder bins and compostable bags as required through the RecycleSmart online store. The investment made by Cushman and Wakefield Asset Services Inc. paid off with Marlborough Mall reaching a waste diversion rate of 49.72% in March 2018.
The Role of IOT
RecycleSmart drove efficiency at Marlborough Mall by implementing Internet of Things (IOT) technology in the waste and recycling program. IOT equipped sensors enable RecycleSmart to monitor the fullness of the compactors at Marlborough Mall in real time and dynamically dispatch based on fill levels not using predetermined schedules. This efficiency meant that instead of increasing operating costs with the implementation of the food waste diversion program Marlborough Mall was actually able to reduce overall waste/recycling expenses by 22.75% as of February 2018.
Some of the challenges that Marlborough Mall faced included a large site with 5 individual collection points for organic waste spread out across the shopping centre. Adding the organic collection bins in some areas was a challenge as space was already at a premium with existing waste and recycling containers. In order to make the program a success it required daily visual monitoring of the 5 collection points to ensure they are being used correctly and the service levels were set correctly.
Property managers looking to fully realize the benefits of an optimized food waste diversion program should not forget the importance of tenant training and education. This is in addition to ease of use including providing containers/compostable liners and ensuring that their waste and recycling program is operating as efficiently as possible to reduce the overall increase to operating costs.
Colin Bell is a Managing Partner with RecycleSmart Solutions, a Vancouver based waste and recycling consulting firm that works with businesses to create and implement smart recycling programs.