In this step you'll enter your data and start to interpret your results based on your initial audits. That being said, the more audits you complete, the more accurate your information will be. Ideally, we suggest running the Station Audit in Step 2 for five straight days and entering those results in as five seperate data points in the Resource Center.
Colleges & Universities
Now that you've completed your waste audit, it's time to analyze those results to fully understand the successes and pitfalls in your current program. Thankfully, once you've entered the data your team has collected, you can let the brains of the Resource Center do a lot of the leg work for you!
Interpretation of your recycling & waste data is the most important process to ensuring a successful program launch and ultimately, financial and environmental improvement. The Resource Center Dashboard will display all of the information you need in a straight-forward, visual format that will help guide you in the right direction towards #zerowaste.
Upon completion of Step 2: Conduct a Recycling & Waste Audit, you should have a large filing of Composition Audit data from your Composition Audit Template PDF, as well as, Station Audit data from your Station Audit Template PDF. This data is your golden ticket to towards a world-renowned zero waste program.
Moving forward, you do not have to be the only one entering data into the Resource Center. We suggest setting up Resource Center User Roles at this time. User roles allow the Administrator (whoever set up the account) to give access to certain sections of the Resource Center with specific role abilities. For example, the Editor user role will allow that individual to enter daily Station Audit Data, but it will not allow them to change the Stream Compositions, Material Values, etc.
It's time to get all of that glorious data into the Resource Center so it can display your results and begin to simplify what the data says about your program.
The Enter Data section of the Resource Center on the Dashboard allows you to enter data based on Actual Weight, Volume to Weight or Capacity Estimate. To make things simple, we've recommended starting with a Capacity Estimate, but as your program grows you will be prompted to switch to Actual Weight for the most accurate results.
So let's get to it! Make sure you've collected all of your Composition Audit and Station Audit data and have it handy to transfer from your templates to your Resource Center account.
First things first, you have to enter in your Composition Audit data. This will change the Resource Center default compositions to the compositions that you've unearthed during your audit. Right now, there isn't much standardization from county to county when in comes to refuse collection (but we're going to fix that together, aren't we?), so using the data you've collected will help to make your calculations more accurate.
After you've updated your Composition calculations, it's time to enter your next Station Audit data point, which will populate the second data point on your Dashboard (the first being from your pre-audit).
If you've completed more than one daily audit and have that data handy, first off, give yourself and your team a firm pat on the back and then enter in that data as well, as a seperate data point entry for each subsequent daily audit.
Once you've finished entering all of your data, it's time to head over to the Dashboard and take a first gander at all of your transformed information!
We highly recommend sending an Awareness Survey to a good cross-section of users to get an understanding of what your users already know, what confuses them, and what would help to make this program a success in their eyes.
Once you have the answers from your survey, you should be determining the best way to use the results to have an effective program in terms of education, usage and bin placement. It should provide insights as to what your problem areas are from the user's perspective which will allow you to combat those issues moving forward.
If a common theme discovered from conducting this survey is that people don't know which bin they should place their glass bottles in, perhaps you should consider including signage and/or labelling that specifically designates that item.
Something that may be discovered once you've conducted the survey is that people in a certain area don't know where their centralized recycling station is located making it difficult for them to recycle their items. This would indicate to your team that they need a station that is more prominently displayed, or educational materials to show them where the nearest station is located.
Regardless of the feedback you receive, conducting this survey will give you valuable insights that will let you check on the current status of your program from the user's perspective.
Send this survey out to a cross-section of your users including staff, students and faculty. You may want to conduct division-specific surveys that you send to users who spend the majority of their time in that division, or you may want to send the standard survey out to all users, or both. Information is your friend!
When determining how many streams you will need, what can be recycled, how much it will cost, and when/where collection will take place, your best resource is the organization that will be working with you to make sure your needs are met - your Waste Collection Service Provider, or your Hauler.
Working with your hauler and maintaining a good relationship with them can only help your program to be successful. They have the latest information on what recyclables are being collected in your area and the costs associated. Maintain open communication with them throughout the development of your program and keep that communication ongoing moving forward.
Setting up and/or improving your recycling program is an important, admirable and responsible effort that you have decided to take on, which is great! What else is great? You're not the first one to do it, which means that you don't have to discover everything on your own.
When it comes to creating an effective recycling program, there is no need to re-invent the wheel. There are other colleges and universities out there trying to do the exact same thing as you are. While their program and their specific goals may differ somewhat from your own, there is no reason why you can't look at what they're doing and see if you can adopt any of their practices.
If you have any other colleges or universities in your area, start there! Do some research and try to find out what they're doing with their recyclable materials, which haulers they use, what problems they've run in to, and if there have been any challenges that they've overcome. When it comes to recycling, people want to share their success!
You don't need to model another college's program exactly, and in fact, it isn't recommended. The refuse you produce, the layout of your campus, the attitude and experience of your users, and other things that are unique to your campus should be the driving factors when building your program, but getting an idea from other campuses as to what their issues and successes were might give you some valuable insights, so it is definitely worth a look!
Are some divisions performing very well and others falling behind? Do you have certain streams that are constantly contaminated? Do your users not know where to put their aluminum cans once they're finished with them? Does your hauler take recyclables that you weren't aware of before now?
It's time to look at all the data you've collected and figure out what you're doing well and where you can improve! By looking at the research you've performed, the answers you've received from users and haulers, and the results of your Composition and Station Audits, you should be able to see a few areas where you can focus your efforts initially.
Once you've assembled all the data and information and input what you could into the Resource Center, you're ready for Step 4: Create a Plan!
A Hauler is a person or company who moves refuse for appropriate disposal.