On the button
As more businesses go online to manage operations, Resource looks at some free apps and online tools they can use to manage their waste
This Android app enables businesses to handle electronic waste transfer notes on their phones as well as providing real-time proof of delivery and collection.
Other notable features of the app include: receipt of job details and invoicing; a job allocation list
from head office; photographic proof of completion; a ‘historical journey search’ of waste; GPS tracking and route mapping; enforced vehicle check completion; and a waste hierarchy footer on the PDF job receipt.
Since using MMW, the 15 drivers at the Middlewich depot of cooking oil processing firm Convert2Green have saved approximately 16 hours a month by sending job information electronically to their back office system, saving administrative staff around 40 hours per month.
Deborah Webb, Business Development Manager, said: “Paperwork used to cost us time not only out in the field but also in the office, especially as deciphering the handwriting in paperwork can cause so many problems when inputting into our system. However, since using MyMobileWorkers, we have found that it has freed up time in the office – giving us more time to focus on growing our business – and out in the field – giving us more time to do more jobs.”
Developer: Nike, Inc.
Developed for iPhone and iPad, the Making app draws on Nike’s Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) to rank materials in apparel, footwear and home goods by environmental impact. Materials are assessed in four environmental areas: physical waste (including recyclability); chemistry (including carcinogenicity and chronic toxicity); energy/greenhouse gas intensity; and water/land intensity.
Users can compare different materials through each of the categories or look at the ‘base material’ score (which ranges between one and 50), with the highest scores representing the lowest environmental footprint.
The Making app was first used by the London College of Fashion (LCF). Student Alasdair Leighton-Crawford said: “It was incredibly insightful to use the data in Making while creating our designs. The app helped us identify materials that have lower environmental impacts, without compromising the design process. Making shows that sustainability is not a limit, but an inspiring new way to look at product creation.”
Rethink Waste is an online tool that aims to help manufacturers reduce waste, improve resource efficiency and save money. The online tool allows companies to identify how much waste is being produced, how much it costs to manage, and what it can do to measure and reduce waste. The tool consists of six modules: data collection; developing an action plan; implementing the action plan and measuring savings; preparing to implement change; getting everyone on board; and quantifying savings and sharing success.
Rethink Waste has reportedly helped resistor technology business Arcol save more than £20,000. Resource efficiency plans saw it reduce waste sent to landfill from three wheelie bins a week to one – a reduction of 50 tonnes per year.
The office also implemented a barcode on its internal works order card (reducing the amount of paper used to track orders) and changed its moulding process, leading to savings in resin use of around £6,000 per year.
Alun Morgan, Technical Director at Arcol, said: “Waste [is] a cost that we continually need to manage... WRAP helped us identify where we could reduce waste and implement action plans to deal with it.”
Wise up on Waste
This food waste app developed by consumer goods company Unilever for Android and iOS (as well as online) helps professional kitchens monitor and track food waste.
Businesses are prompted to undertake a food waste audit, identify food waste arisings from each meal served (in kilogrammes), and weigh any food lost through spoilage. Once complete, the app sends users a summary of their audit, as well as a 20 per cent waste reduction target. The app allows users to input waste arisings and monitor progress week by week, whilst also identifying the indicative cost savings. Featuring downloadable practical tools and tips to prevent food spoilage, the app includes customer plate reduction and preparation waste reduction tools.
Darren O’Callaghan, chef at disability centre St Laurence Cheshire Home in Cork, Ireland, said: “We used the waste charts for a week in our dining room and found that during the lunch service… we were giving too much potato out; we were serving two portions of potato, and there was always one portion coming back. So, through waste management and portion control, we’ve established that we’re saving about €30 [£24] a week, which is fantastic.” He added that modifying carrot portions reduced costs by a further €20 (£16) a week.
iWaste for iPhone
Developer: Intelligent Waste Management
Businesses looking to receive quotes for waste disposal can use the iWaste for iPhone app. This application allows businesses to photograph or record a 15-second video of the materials they wish
to dispose of. Alternatively, users can select pre-existing photos from their phones’ photo libraries
The app identifies the users’ location through geotag and asks how soon they would like the waste collected – either ‘ASAP’ (as soon as possible), ‘this week’, ‘next week’, or ‘anytime’. It then submits the data to iWaste, which provides a quote and collection arrangements. The app also allows users to call and email iWaste and provides access to the company’s website.
One business using the iWaste for iPhone app is communications infrastructure company, ICEE Managed Services Ltd.
Phil Smith, Implementation Director at ICEE, commented: “ICEE Managed Services Ltd have been trialling the iWaste App with a view to using this innovative technology to simplify our own national waste management processes and in turn, reduce costs and deliver efficiencies.
“We have seen a good level of success with using the app and we are pleased to be working closely with the iWaste development team as they further refine the application.”
LCA to go
Developer: Fraunhofer IZM
This free webtool was designed by a consortium of 18 partners coordinated by Fraunhofer IZM to provide manufacturers with easily-accessible information on different materials’ lifecycles. Funded by the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration, LCA to go allows users to enter technical specifications of a device’s main components, and perform an environmental performance assessment. It is specifically aimed at small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that manufacture bio-based plastics, industrial machinery, electronics, renewable energy, sensors and smart textiles. It is hoped the tool can help users to produce more resource-efficient devices.
Technology firm MicroPro Computers has been using LCA to go to help it discover more sustainable ways of desigining products and services. Managing Director Paul Maher said: “Getting involved in the LCA to go project, encompassing the development of a simplified online LCA tool, meant making LCA accessible, which rang truths with us at MicroPro.”
He added that the tool helped the company reduce the footprint of its D4R laptop through: reusing materials, thus reducing resource use by between 47 and 55 per cent; and reusing the LCD panel and ‘other components’, which reduced fresh water use by 55 per cent (against a conventional laptop baseline).
Maher concluded: “By feeding in technical requirements into LCA to go, we have assessed all current models to guide optimum ecodesign and service provision… [and] by reducing the lifecycle carbon footprint per year of use of our iameco D4R model, from 107 to 51 kilogrammes of CO2 equivalent, we counter global warming.”