The Complete Guide to Tracking Waste

Measurabl allows users to track waste in addition to energy and water. Tracking waste generation 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.

Is my site linked to ENERGY STAR or manual?

The steps you take to track waste will 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 gear 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

It’s best if you enter your waste data in ENERGY STAR along with your energy and water data. That way, all of your sustainability data is coming into Measurabl from the same platform, and there’s no risk of waste data in ENERGY STAR not matching up with waste data in Measurabl.

If you’ve linked a site 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.

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 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 and fill in the existing Property Names, Meter Names, and Meter Types in the first three columns, then enter the data for the waste entries in the remaining columns.

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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