Michael Hess


There’s a lot of buzz about the Internet of Things and its impact on everything from the way we travel and do our shopping to the way distributors keep track of inventory. In the waste management industry, technology can increase operational efficiency, cut costs and enhance customer satisfaction by ensuring your waste program is performing at peak productivity.

But where do you start? Whether you’re a facility manager, purchasing or sourcing, developing and executing an effective waste management strategy can be overwhelming. That’s where implementing an intelligent waste monitoring system can optimize your efforts, saving you time and money.

Get a Baseline

Conducting an in-depth analysis and evaluating the performance of your current waste and recycling program will allow you to:

  • Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your program as it currently stands.
  • Analyze the size of your equipment to determine if it’s sufficient to handle your waste and recycling needs.
  • Review your vendor partnerships and contract agreements.
  • Look for trends in your business’ waste consumption habits. Is there any seasonality you can plan for?

Monitor. Measure. Repeat.

With a baseline established, an effective waste management program requires consistent performance analysis, which can help keep track of your waste spend and identify opportunities for cost savings and efficiencies. While smart waste technology captures this data, it’s important to consistently monitor and interpret the analytics. There are often two approaches:

  • Monitor the waste spend dashboard yourself and make necessary adjustments directly with vendors.
  • Work with a managed waste service provider to tackle all waste-related activities on your behalf, sharing opportunities for waste program adjustments and keeping an eye on equipment health. It also allows you to divert attention back to other critical areas of your business.

With a handle on your waste production habits and a monitoring strategy in place, you’re set up to launch a smart waste management program. Below are three ways smart waste technology is changing the game for waste management.

#1: Accessible Data and Insights

Many waste monitoring solutions today offer a real-time glimpse into your waste program via a cloud-based dashboard. By logging on, you can view key data, including equipment fullness status, pickup and return status, pickup history, upcoming scheduled hauls and activity logs. Detailed reports and insights show a variety of key data buckets that will help keep you informed.

#2: Opportunities to Optimize and Right-Size

A real-time glimpse into your waste program offers the opportunity to uncover any obvious inefficiencies. Keeping a close eye on your data will allow you to identify trends and make any pertinent updates or improvements over time. For example, having historical data for your waste program will help you prepare your waste needs ahead of time for peak spikes in business or seasonality changes.

By evaluating elements such as fullness status and tonnage monitoring, you can better understand if there are any rightsizing opportunities at your locations. Smart waste technology can help you determine whether you’re maximizing the tonnage of your equipment to better control the frequency of hauls, ultimately improving your bottom line.

#3: Prioritize Equipment Health and Avoid Downtime

The reality of having any type of equipment is that there are going to be instances when problems will need to be addressed or machines will need to be serviced. Waste monitoring technology helps you reduce downtime by allowing you to monitor equipment controls to make sure everything is functioning properly.

The technology can show a variety of key indicators specific to the equipment’s overall operating performance. Depending on the problem at hand, oftentimes a technician can remotely patch in to solve the issue. And if support is needed, the system can flag a technician to stop out to fix the issue in a timely manner.

Smarter Solution to Waste Management

Investing in a smart waste management program will set your business up for success, informing your strategy with robust data, analytics and service insights every step of the way. You’ll be armed with powerful information to streamline, reduce costs and resolve any issues that may arise, freeing up your time to focus on your business and customers.

Michael Hess is founder and chief executive officer of Waste Harmonics, a Rochester, New York-based company that provides customized waste and recycling management solutions for businesses across North America. Michael leads Waste Harmonics’ team of waste/recycling, technology, logistics and customer service experts who manage waste and recycling services—which deliver significant costs savings—for single- and multi-location businesses in a wide range of categories, including retail, grocery, restaurant, travel center, logistics, distribution and shipping.

Prior to founding Waste Harmonics, Hess served as vice president of U.S. operations for Capital Environmental Resource Inc., a $120-million-in-revenue solid waste collection and disposal company with operations in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada. During his tenure at Capital Environment, Hess served as an integral part in the acquisition, startup and integration of 11 solid-waste companies for more than two and a half years. Michael acquired Waste Harmonics from Capital Environment in 2001 and has since grown the business from a solely Northeastern U.S. focus to serving customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, call 585-924-9640, email [email protected] or visit wasteharmonics.com.