How can residential companies improve their waste management for the environment & residents?

by Alexander Bonde

The residential sector faces significant challenges concerning shaping their practices toward a more green and sustainable profile. A key area of concern is that of waste management. With a current system that leads to increased costs, overflowing bins, and noise complaints, more progressive innovative solutions are needed.

With increasing consumption habits and production, the amount of waste each year is growing rapidly. In 2016, this figure rose to 2.01 billion tonnes of waste. This poses a challenge for waste collection in all sectors.

One of the most significant industries that have a huge impact on the well-being and health of citizens is housing.

Residential property managers have to come up with new ways of handling waste that is efficient and sustainable, taking into consideration both the interests of their tenants and the environment.

With new policy initiatives such as the EU Green Deal and the UN SDGs, there is more pressure than ever on real estate to present sustainable solutions. However, evidence shows that practitioners are struggling to actively make operational changes.

Creating a Green Profile 

Creating a greener profile is a top priority for residential companies and to do so, many are beginning to transform their business models. For instance, goal #11 of the UN SDGs stresses the importance of maintaining cities and communities, in particular, air quality and municipal waste management.

While the construction of new residential complexes has embraced a new sustainable view, with green renovations and energy optimization, improving waste management has proved to be a more difficult undertaking.

How can housing companies step up to improve their activities keeping the residents and the environment at the forefront? Waste collection trucks can be a major source of CO2 pollution, producing on average 2.8kg CO2/liter - getting around this can be tricky. 

Inspiring community recycling

Another main issue for residential companies is that tenants are unwilling or uneducated in how to sort waste correctly, often resulting in overflowing bins. This can lead to negative complaints from residents as well as internally within the company.

In many cases, recycling containers are contaminated with non-recyclable materials due to residents not sorting waste correctly. Changing or influencing resident behaviour can be complicated, however, nudging can be used as a way to encourage the correct sorting of waste. Nudging can be an effective way of using positive reinforcement to influence behaviour and change habits

An example of this could be brightening the color of the recycling containers can help to encourage usage. In Copenhagen in 2011, colorful footprints were painted on the ground to lead people to bins as a way to reduce littering. This initiative was successful and reduced littered wrappers in the surrounding area by 46%.

By getting creative, residential companies can utilize nudging techniques to improve the likelihood of residents correctly sorting waste and recycling. This will also contribute to supporting any recycling goals or KPIs set out by the organization.

By positively influencing citizen habits and behaviours, an overall more successful recycling program is possible.

Inefficiencies lead to dissatisfaction 

The issue of overflowing bins often leads to employees taking matters into their own hands and dealing with the mess. This is done to avoid the attraction of pests and overall uncleanliness.

To overcompensate for the issue of overflowing bins, waste is collected too often which incurs unnecessary costs. Static scheduled routes are an inefficient system that over time can be detrimental to profitability. 

Excess costs can lead to rent being increased, which can cause further conflict with tenants. 

As well as a financial impact, residents constantly being awoken by the noise of beeping garbage trucks can produce complaints and overall frustration. Residential companies strive to foster long-lasting positive relationships with their customers and this issue can threaten that.

In some residential areas, arson and vandalism of containers can occur and can become highly disruptive in the community. While this issue can be hard to avoid, early detection of this would be a valuable tool for residential property managers.

IoT smart technology provides a solution

A partnership with WasteHero can offer residential companies an integrated solution to some of these essential waste management issues. Our service provides smart bin sensors that allow for dynamic route development which can drastically cut costs on waste management.

The WasteHero optical sensor can detect fill levels to ensure that bins are collected, only when necessary. This modern solution reduces the chance of overflowing bins and noise pollution, in turn, satisfying residents. 

This makes it possible for residential companies to avoid spending time on negative communication and complaint handling. The sensor not only monitors fill levels but also temperature which can help detect vandalism and arson, allowing residential firms to be proactive and react to the issues before they get out of hand.

Along with the sensor, the waste monitoring platform gives you a comprehensive overview of the containers and waste generation patterns. The sensor aggregates data and the platform presents detailed analytics which can allow for constant improvement.

WasteHero’s services can improve the green profile of residential companies since it can reduce the amount of CO2 due to fewer collections.

A sustainable orientation has been proven to create a sense of a wider purpose which leads to more satisfied tenants and positively engaged employees

WasteHero collaborated with Boligselskabet Sjælland in working towards their goal of becoming more sustainable and more environmentally friendly while simultaneously improving conditions for residents.

See here to learn how we identified potential areas for optimisation regarding their waste management. 

View Case Study

Are you ready to save money and improve conditions for your residents? Contact a WasteHero expert today!

  • WasteHero
  • Smart Waste Management
  • Business Case

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