The Complete Guide to Tracking Waste

Measurabl allows users to track waste, which is critical to assessing an organization’s overall sustainability. Waste generation and management are important for GRESB reporting, Scope 3 emissions reporting under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and LEED for Existing Buildings certification.

The steps you take to track waste may depend on whether your site is linked to ENERGY STAR or is a manual site. You can determine that for each site by going to the “Sites” tab and reviewing the “Source” column. If the “Source” column doesn’t appear, click the "Columns" icon at the top of the table and check the box next to the “Source” field to add it.

For sites linked to ENERGY STAR

If you’ve linked a site to ENERGY STAR, and you want your waste data pushed to ENERGY STAR, you’ll enter your waste data in ENERGY STAR, and Measurabl will import that data. ENERGY STAR has basic guidance on tracking waste here. If you don't need your waste data pushed to ENERGY STAR, you can enter it directly into Measurabl. 

For Manual Sites

You’ll follow the steps outlined here to set up waste “meters” and enter waste data within those meters for a single site. Although waste is not “metered”, organizing waste streams by meter, like energy and water, is an effective way to track waste.

Bulk Upload Waste for Manual Sites

You can use Measurabl’s bulk upload template (accessible from the "Sites" tab) to bulk upload waste data to meters across sites. Carefully read the waste section of the Instructions tab, complete the "Buildings" tab, and fill in the existing Site Names, Meter Names, and Meter Types in the first three columns of the "Waste Meters" tab, then enter the data for the waste entries in the remaining columns.

Can't I automate waste tracking?

If your waste hauler is Waste Management, contact us about automating the upload of your waste data. 

General Waste Tracking Guidance

There is less standardization surrounding units of measure, billing, and service interval among waste utilities than with energy and water utilities. You’ll therefore notice that there are some options in Measurabl (and ENERGY STAR) for tracking waste that you won’t see for energy and water.

What waste meter types do I choose?

Right away, you’ll notice that four categories of waste are available for tracking in Measurabl based on disposal method. Measurabl generally uses the ENERGY STAR framework for tracking waste.

These categories allow you to reflect how much waste your building is diverting from the landfill.

Within these disposal categories, you’ll notice many different types of waste that can be tracked. While this may seem overwhelming, the number of options is meant to ensure that you can always find an appropriate type within Measurabl.

How do I know how much waste my site generates?

Once you’ve set up a waste meter with the right disposal method, waste type, and unit of measure, you can start adding bill data. As with energy and water, you’ll enter a billing period start/end date, quantity, and total spend for each bill.

Very few buildings have data available on exact weight of waste disposed every month, so in addition to tracking by weight, Measurabl allows you to track the volume of waste (either via cubic yards/meters or via gallons/liters).

If you’re tracking waste in ENERGY STAR, you can estimate waste volume based on the size of your building’s waste containers and how full they typically are when they’re picked up. One way to make this estimate is by taking a quick look at the waste containers the day before pickup a handful of times to get a rough idea of the typical ‘percent full’ your containers are on pickup day. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how to make that estimate if you choose to go this route.

Within trash meters specifically, you’ll also have the opportunity to note the percentage of each waste entry that goes to incineration, waste-to-energy, or another kind of disposal.

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