On-board weighing plays key role in recycling

As landfill taxes increase and recycling targets rise local authorities are investing in programmes of waste reduction and more recycling. This is stimulating the demand for equipment such as PM Onboard's WasteWeigh" system for waste vehicle payload and its accredited and patented BinWeigh" system for weighing the amount of waste and recyclables in wheeled bins as they are being emptied. A programme currently under way at Worcester illustrates the major and increasing role weighing systems are playing in waste and recycling management

Worcester City Council (WCC) is in the course of implementing a major contract awarded to PM Onboard, the Bradford-based onboard vehicle-weighing specialist which includes the supply four onboard BinWeigh” systems, and 78,000 wheeled bin containers.

The three year, £1.3 million contract will enable the weighing of waste and recycling from 33,000 residential properties. The new system is being rolled out to householders in Worcester in three phases, with phase one delivering 26,000 waste bins to 13,000 households by September 2005 and phase three set for completion by September 2007.

WCC currently only recycles approximately 16% of its waste. The authority aims to improve dramatically on this figure and, at the same time, make productivity improvements across its waste operation. Introducing a twin wheeled bin system can play a key in encouraging residents to separate, and therefore reduce, general household waste sent to landfill.

PM’s BinWeigh” system will enable WCC to measure the effectiveness of its recycling and waste reduction campaign.

BinWeigh” was launched in 1997 and is based on a dynamic weighing system. A chip is inserted in wheeled bins, which allow the weight to be measured as it is lifted by the refuse vehicle with the system on-board. The process takes no longer than a traditional bin collection. The data is collected on-board and then downloaded at the end of a round. The information is used to chart the waste behaviour patterns of each household and enables operators to maximise the efficiency of their collections. The system can be used to influence people’s behaviour through advising households or providing incentives for them to reduce waste and increase the amount recycled.

PM reports that BinWeigh” is widely used in other European countries for pay-by-weight, in particular Ireland which, in a very short time after its introduction, has seen waste reduced by approximately 40%.

Commenting on the WCC contract, Mark Bottomley, PM’s Marketing Manager, said: “Only by measuring waste at the kerbside can householders’ behaviour be fully understood. The authority will quickly establish who the good recyclers are. Poor recyclers can be swiftly targeted and encouraged to participate.

“The BinWeigh” system guarantees high productivity gains by telling the authority precisely what the crews are doing,” he added.

Geoff Mountain, PM’s Chief Executive, said that this latest contract with another major UK authority, “further underpins our expertise in this increasingly legislated market”.

PM Group has received orders for BinWeigh” systems from 27 local authorities in the UK.

The company, based in Bradford, has invested £3.9 million since flotation and £4.5 million in July acquiring the electrical engineering company, Pitts Wilson, adding a team of 140 electrical technicians to the group. A number of these technicians are being trained as specialist BinWeigh” fitters.

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