When every penny counts, municipal waste management shouldn’t be rubbished

Local authorities are under more financial strain than ever before, feeling the pressure to deliver improving results on stagnant or declining budgets. Given these conditions, investing in new technology might seem illogical – but it can actually cut the cost of key operations.

Municipal waste management is a critical area in which local authorities can use software to reduce overheads. Over 213 million tonnes of rubbish is collected across the UK each year, according to government data, and processed across multiple sites including landfill, treatment centres and incinerators.

With the country’s population on the rise, environmental services teams need to find an efficient way of getting refuse to the right end point within their budget – and waste management technology could provide the most cost-effective solution.

Making improvements in the face of financial cutbacks

Budget constraints keep many council personnel awake at night; a recent National Audit Office study revealed that 1 in 10 local authorities could run out of reserves within the next three years, and many departments are seeing their budgets slashed.

Even within essential infrastructure such as waste collection services, teams are being challenged to make cost savings at every possible opportunity. This is not easy when the population size is rising at its fastest rate in 70 years, and refuse collection crews are having to process increasingly complex recycling requirements alongside general waste.

Many local authorities have been ‘making do’ with their current, manual process for co-ordinating waste management operations, but this isn’t an effective way of collecting domestic rubbish. There is huge potential for inefficiencies and mistakes – including schedule clashes, timetable confusion and missed rounds – that are costly in terms of both time and resources.

Investing in waste management tech for long-term financial gain

Some forward-thinking council teams are already realising the benefits of bringing municipal waste management technology onboard. Although it involves an up-front cost, the improvements generated by automation software can rapidly make refuse collection more profitable. Here are some examples of the way in which waste collection technology can save money:

  • Automatically generating round sheets that can be sent directly to crew vehicles
  • Instantly pulling together ad-hoc worksheets for one-off collection requests
  • Centrally logging missed collections and complaints for quick resolution
  • Updating collection crew in real-time on any changes or additions to their round
  • In-depth reporting on operational performance and waste targets
  • Integrating with LLPG and other software to provide a complete service overview

The advantages of using municipal waste management software are not just financial, either. With up-to-date information at their fingertips, local authority personnel can offer a higher standard of customer service when residents call up with complaints or requests.

Improving the customer service experience will help to fight the feeling in some communities that council cutbacks mean sub-par amenities. It is not just local authorities that are under financial pressure; average annual wages are still lower than they were a decade ago, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Residents want assurance that their council tax payments are supporting a high standard of service.

Presenting the business case for waste management software

Getting any kind of budgetary spend approved can be challenging in times of austerity, but there’s a strong business case for introducing waste management technology into local authorities.

By replacing manual processes and piles of paperwork with an integrated online system, waste management teams will be able to significantly cut their administration workload – and the mistakes that accompany it.

Service will be slicker, quicker and more accurate, with in-cab crews fully briefed and able to easily communicate if they have a query. And customer service staff will have direct access to the information they require to immediately resolve resident enquiries. Doesn’t that sound like a better way of working?

Cut the cost of municipal waste management with Whitespace’s market-leading software. Over 100 UK local authorities already use our technology to manage their collections – book a free demo to see how we can improve your services.


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