Waste Composition Study Results Available Now: Essential Reading for Blue Box Program Staff

Waste Composition Study Results Available Now: Essential Reading for Blue Box Program Staff

How much & what’s the mix? (photo source: AET Group)

Want to Measure Your Program’s Performance? Use the New Waste Audit Data to Find Out Where it Fits

Program operators need to have reliable data to measure performance and plan for the future – but gathering this information is time-consuming and expensive. To remove the burden from individual programs, the CIF and Stewardship Ontario conduct and share results of waste composition studies in municipalities throughout the province (thecif.ca/waste-composition-studies/). This data delivered from this investment is a goldmine of insights for all programs.

 Granular data to evaluate your program’s performance and prepare for the future

Results of the 2017-2018 audits are out, providing a high-res snap shot of the waste stream, broken into 58 separate categories of producer printed paper and packaging in curbside, multi-residential and depot collection programs. Studies include four seasons of data collection providing valuable insight into how the mix of materials can change throughout the year.

Collecting materials for the audit (photo source: AET Group)

Not just a bunch of numbers and tables!

There are numbers, tables and charts, but there’s much more. To start with – much more granularity. These studies break waste items into many categories, so for instance, rather than “Paper Products”, you’ll see down to the level of obligated and non-obligated portions of “Other Printed Paper”. With this amount of detail, you’ll be able to answer important questions about your program, such as:

  • Are the packaging changes you’ve been seeing specific to your community or are they common province-wide? Are they only specific to other demographically similar municipalities?
  • What changes in waste composition are coming that may not have hit your program yet?
  • What are the next ‘new’ items that you’re likely to see in inbound materials and will they be a big factor?

The studies to date present insights about the paper products and packaging in collection programs just like yours: Four seasons, over two years, with detailed information from 17 single family and five multi-residential studies across each of the nine Datacall reporting groups.

Key take-away

Waste composition study information is fundamental for planning activities as it gives you the ability to benchmark your program in comparison to others, investigate the mix of materials at the curb, and identify changes in packaging trends.

Measuring materials in the audit process (photo source: AET Group)

And there’s more coming: 2018/19 studies are underway

The 2018/19 studies are currently underway in 7 single family, 3 multi-residential and two depot collection programs across the province. These studies will further supplement waste composition and generation information providing representation across each of the nine Datacall groups.

What’s planned for 2019?

CIF has a number of plans to enhance the waste composition and generation information available to municipalities. Here’s some of what we plan to make available to you next year:

  • Interactive dashboards for visualizing information
  • Participation and set-out rates, and
  • Analysis of other packaging trends

We are continuing to seek new ways to present results in more user friendly ways to help municipalities look into the data at greater depths and improve the utility of this information in analysis, reporting and other planning activities.

If you would like more information on the studies completed by the CIF, please email Bradley Cutler, CIF Project Coordinator