Compology metering technology to save millions in waste management costs for fast food giants
Based out of Palm Beach, Florida, Global Trash Solutions (GTS) is a waste broker managing 3,600 dumpsters on behalf of a wide variety of quick-service restaurant groups such as McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC and others. GTS has been using Compology's waste metering technology-smart in-dumpster cameras powered by artificial intelligence- to automatically right-size their clients' waste service levels, while helping them improve recycling and meet Zero Waste and carbon reduction goals.
According to GTS, their old way of right-sizing, or matching service levels to actual waste production, was based on formulas.
"Each brand had its own formula that we would apply to the restaurant: annual sales volume with their drive-through percentage, so we could determine how much trash actually stayed on site versus how much was left through the drive-through," says Peter Spano, CEO and President of GTS. "Then, depending on which state they were in, we would determine pricing of their services, followed by how much service they actually needed."
The issues with this method are that the data becomes quickly outdated, the process to reach rightsizing results requires resource-intensive manual calculations, and there is no real-time or automatic visibility into any sudden fluctuations in waste output that require service changes.
"We brought Compology into the picture, and now we're actually measuring exactly what's in that dumpster," continues Spano.
With Compology's waste metering technology GTS now accurately and continuously right-sizes service levels and holds haulers more accountable to contracted services. By implementing waste metering, Global Trash Solutions is delivering $6.2 million in cost savings to their clients, translating to about $1,700 in savings per dumpster per year, or 40-50% in total waste spend reduction.
Meeting clients' Zero Waste and recycling goals
"Clients want waste and recycling out of sight, out of mind," Spano says. "They want it at the best cost that they can. They want reliable service. They all want to get to as close to zero waste as they possibly can."
To support each brand's Zero Waste and sustainability goals, Compology's waste metering technology identifies what materials are inside each dumpster and automatically sends emails and text message alerts to site-level contacts to remove unwanted contamination before being fined by the haulers.
Similarly, the technology can also identify when a recyclable (such as a cardboard box) is incorrectly thrown in a waste dumpster. By notifying the site-level manager to correctly dispose of the recyclable into the recycling dumpster, that business improves their diversion and recycling rates.
This same process also helps with rightsizing by identifying when uncollapsed cardboard boxes are disposed of without being broken down. Before working with Compology, GTS identified 9 out of every 10 hauls had uncollapsed cardboard in it, but in just the first three months of metering their waste, GTS and their clients reduce uncollapsed cardboard by 30 percent!
Not only is GTS helping their clients save money, clean up their recycling streams and improve operational efficiency, but they're also reducing their clients' carbon footprints by 30,000 metric tons by diverting more material from landfills and keeping garbage trucks off their clients' properties unnecessarily.
Client success story: McDonald's
One of the first clients GTS started to work with was a McDonald's franchisee in Palm Beach County. By metering their waste with Compology, to rightsize and reduce their waste service schedules, the McDonald's operator is now seeing more than $76,000 a year in savings. Additionally, contamination trend reports and alerting has helped the team reduce their contamination, for example trash bags in recycling containers, by more than 50 percent so far!
At the same time, GTS is driving 31% in waste cost savings to WBF Management, an owner and operator serving McDonald's locations across Las Vegas and Phoenix, while helping them reduce contamination and improve recycling practices at each site. As a result of rightsizing and reducing service levels, WBF is able to reduce garbage truck miles by about 8,000 each year. That's roughly the equivalent of a truck driving from the northern tip of Canada to the southern tip of Mexico, or all of North America!
Waste metering impact on GTS operations, clients and hauler partners
Increased visibility into their clients' waste streams has helped GTS evolve their level of client service to be technology-enabled, proactive and transparent. Having eyes at every location helps the GTS team provide levels of support from a remote location that they used to only be able to do while onsite with clients, contributing to higher client satisfaction and retention, as well as a 40-50% year over year growth rate.
"If we didn't start implementing waste metering in a partnership with Compology, I don't know if I could offer the level of service that we want to offer," Spano says. "For us, it's more savings for our clients, which means they tell more people, which means in turn more business for us."
GTS clients access all Compology waste metering data through an integration with GTS' Intellawaste software, a platform that hosts all invoicing and cost data and documents, as well as Compology's key data points of dumpster fullness, service activity and content and contamination that drive all cost savings and sustainability efforts.
"It was simple, fast and easy to integrate with Compology," Spano says. "We've been able to pull any amount of information that we need into IntellaWaste, so that we can then in turn separate the information and deliver it to our clients in a nice, clean and easy way that they can utilize it."
GTS has also started sharing this same data with their waste and recycling hauling partners-both national, publicly traded haulers as well as smaller, regional operators.
"They've obviously got a lot of their own challenges," Spano says. "They want to do good service by people. They want to do the right thing. We've found that most of the haulers that we work with appreciate what we're able to bring to the table beyond just what the client's needs are. We know what their needs are. Waste metering is one more tool to make sure everybody knows what the other one should be doing."
Peter and the GTS team are no strangers to testing out new innovations and technologies to improve efficiency and sustainability. They now have a proven model for building a technology-powered waste metering program and are rolling it out at scale to clients and hauler partners to drive synergy, transparency and partnership across the waste and recycling ecosystem.