Waste industry looks to growth in 'charge by weight'

The buoyancy of the weighing systems sector has been underlined by the move by PM Group plc to seek to enter the Alternative Investment Market. This reflects the company's position as a leader in the design, manufacture and service of on-board weighing systems and associated software for the waste management and bulk haulage industries. PM Group reports rapid expansion in the waste management market and continued growth in the bulk haulage business.

Commenting on the PM Group's move to join the Alternative Investment Market, Geoff Mountain, Chief Executive said: "The use of on-board weighing is growing. We have been operating in this market for over 15 years and have consistently seen year on year growth driven by legislation and an increasing need for accuracy. In particular, the current directives aimed at waste management, reducing landfill and increasing recycling, are driving rapid growth in this area which is set to continue well into the future."

The group has also identified a continuing move towards increasing use in the UK of charge-by-weight systems. According to Mark Bottomley, Marketing Manager, of PM On Board Ltd, who have developed the Binweigh™ system, the structure of the trade side of the waste industry in the UK is already changing from charging-by -collection to charging-by-weight as a result of legislative pressure and the ever-increasing cost of waste disposal.

Household collections could go the same way, although a change in legislation might be needed and the public attitude towards charge-by-weight is likely to be different to that of trade customers, who are generally more cost-conscious.

Long-term development
PM started developing its electronic Binweigh™ system more than five years ago as it was clear that charge-by-weight for household collections would be the way forward. The system is a complete charge-by-weight management system specifically designed to meet the demands of the waste industry.

It uses load cells fitted to the bin hoist equipment and, according to PM, is compatible with most makes and can be installed in existing as well as new equipment. Bins used with the BinWeigh™ system, both the two and four-wheeled variety, are fitted with virtually indestructible electronic data tags carrying relevant customer information. The system weighs the bin's content to within an accuracy of + or - 75Ogrms for domestic two-wheelers and 1,5OOgrms for the four-wheeled trade units, storing the information on the vehicle's on-board computer. The system can also identify and monitor recycled materials, aiding customers in meeting their recycling targets.

PM's Electronics Manager, Mike Wing, says the way forward will be for an ever greater demand for more and more data and meeting individual customer's specific requirements.

One authority almost ready to introduce a charge-by-weight scheme for household collections using PM's BinWeigh™ system is Dublin based Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

According to Biffa's Technical Fleet Manager, Steve Monkton, more and more of its trade waste customers are requesting charge-by-weight in order to reduce waste disposal costs. "They want to have more control over waste and recycling. But they can't control it without knowing what they're doing." The company has two vehicles currently on trial fitted with Binweigh systems with provision to charge-by-weight. It is also evaluating PM's Wasteweigh™ system.

Aberdeenshire Council is currently taking delivery of four Dennis Phoenix refuse collection vehicles fitted with the Binweigh™ system for trade waste, the aim being to eventually charge-by-weight. According to the authority's Trade Waste Officer David Wilson this will enable the Council, which at present charges by the bag, to fulfil its statutory obligation to accurately recover costs and also encourage customers to recycle more.


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