The University required that the contract be run on a pay-by-weight basis, rather than the previous pay-per-lift arrangement, and needed a more accurate overview of the general waste collection operations across its campuses.

“There was an increasing pressure to improve our recycling rates,” says procurement advisor Paul Wheldon, responsible for the University’s waste management contracts. “We needed accurate data on the amounts and types of waste being collected at various points round the University.”

As part of the new arrangement, the University has switched from steel bins to plastic 1,100 litre units. Sulo supplied all the new bins fitted with microchip ID tags, and completed the changeover in just three days.

The tags carry electronic identification data indicating the bin, its location and type of waste contained. The comb-lift device on the collection vehicle is fitted with an antenna which reads the tags, together with an automatic digital ‘catch weigher’ to weigh the bins as they are being lifted – a process called dynamic weighing because it does not interrupt the lifting operation.

The container identification number and weight is automatically fed into an on-board computer in the truck cab where the information is stored together with the date and time of the emptying. At the end of each round, a data card (RAM card) is removed from the vehicle computer and the data downloaded into Veolia’s in-house software, which generates invoices and spreadsheets containing minute detail of each lift of every container.

The Sulo bins are deployed at more than 60 locations, serving around 100 buildings on the University ‘s two main campuses – Edgbaston and Selly Oak. Green bins are used for general waste and blue bins for recyclable office paper. The paper recycling operation has proved successful and the amount of blue bins sited round the campuses is expected to quadruple by the end of the year. The University is also extending its glass recycling facilities into bars and student residential areas.

“Paying by weight is in our opinion much fairer than paying per lift, and we are closely monitoring the costs of the new contract,” says Wheldon.

“The depth of information provided by the container weighing and identification system, which accompanies Veolia’s monthly invoices, is paying dividends in giving us an accurate picture of the waste collection operation, and the effect that recycling activities are having.”


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