Tracking waste in the cloud: Aussie startup’s innovative data platform helps organisations reduce their carbon footprint and save on costs

Tracking waste in the cloud: Aussie startup’s innovative data platform helps organisations reduce their carbon footprint and save on costs

After 20 years in Australia’s waste management industry, Chad Holland had become frustrated with the rudimentary methods that the industry was using to measure and report on waste produced in buildings.

Chad Holland, Co-Founder of Gurru

“Companies were generally assuming the weights of the bins they were picking up, and a lot of guesswork comes into that,” he says.

But with organisations increasingly turning their attention to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprints, Holland noticed commercial building owners wanted more accuracy and granularity in their waste reporting data. Then in 2018, the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) introduced a new ‘Waste Rating’ methodology for commercial office buildings that included a data quality assessment.

Holland and his business partner, Robert Gurr, identified an opportunity to make waste reporting easier and more transparent for organisations. In late 2020, Bintracker was born from their startup business, Gurru.

Bintracker is a revolutionary software solution that uses scanning technology to track and report on waste streams within buildings. Unique QR codes are placed on bins or bags for cleaners to scan using Bintracker’s mobile app. This identifies and records the waste stream, as well as the source or tenant. Scanned bins and bags are weighed using integrated digital scales before being emptied, and the data is captured and sent to the app in real time. Reports are then created to show a site’s waste and recycling habits by day, source and composition.

“So, if you produced a total of 20 tonnes per month, you can see how much of it was waste, how much of it was organics recycling and how much of it was cardboard recycling – and whether you’re getting the best benefit out of your waste compactor versus your bins,” explains Holland.

Bintracker also offers a Supplier Waste Reporting feature that enables organisations to validate, report on and optimise data from their waste removal service providers in a consistent, comparable format.

Application of Bintracker's dashboard
Bintracker uses scanning technology to track and report on waste streams within buildings, using PowerBI to apply a dashboard of insights.

“For instance, we’ll have a client that may have 20 office buildings and we’ll have a system installed for those, but then they might also have another 20 shopping centres, which can be a bit problematic – you can’t really put onsite systems there,” says Holland.

“So, we get raw data from their waste suppliers and check that it’s accurate in terms of weights, pricing, everything. We normalise it and put it in the platform for clients to compare. This means they can work out whether they are paying the right price for their waste collection and disposal, which buildings are performing better than others, and what learnings they can apply to other buildings.”

Gurr adds that understanding the accurate weight of each bin empowers customers to negotiate with waste suppliers, while also enabling those with lighter bins to generate savings.

Kicking compliance and sustainability goals

By providing detailed and reliable data on the source, volume and composition of waste, Bintracker helps organisations achieve their compliance goals and simplifies the NABERS waste accreditation process. Holland says it can also support efforts to become more environmentally friendly.

“We’re trying to highlight the composition of what’s driving their waste and recycling right now, and what emissions go along with that, which tenants or sources are the biggest drivers of that versus the smallest, and what these trends look like over time,” he says.

“By tracking this data in detail, right down to the tenant or area of a building, we can then work with building managers to improve behaviours through tenant engagement, which can reduce contamination and improve recycling rates.

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