There’s a sense amongst some facilities management professionals that there’s something rotten in the waste collection services industry.

After investing considerable amounts of time and money in behaviour change campaigns designed to encourage greater uptake of recycling and more responsible waste management services, they knew they were recycling more and sending less to landfill, but their data had not changed.

Was this an issue with the accuracy of the data they provided? We know there’s an increasing demand for waste collection services to find a way to demonstrate their credibility. We also know that it is becoming increasingly difficult for waste collection services to keep up with all the different data requirements for the reporting needs of their clients.

With the amount of reporting required, accurate statistics and data covering all aspects of waste management, from generation and collection to recycling and disposal, is vital. The key word here, though, is ‘accurate’ – and this is where clients are looking for service providers they can trust.

Ultimately, business leaders of their sectors want accurate data. They care about where their waste goes and that the waste that’s collected from them is truly being recycled to the fullest possible extent and to the highest possible value. They want to close the loop for a circular economy.

Facilities management professionals, office managers, tertiary education institutions, and plenty of professionals within other organisations rely on data from their waste collection services to meet sustainability and efficiency reporting requirements. They’re looking for partners within the industry who are leading the way and who are proud of the level of quality service they offer.

Of course, there are plenty of waste collection service providers who are doing the right thing, and are tired of having their reputation tarnished by the minority of providers who aren’t. These industry leaders are engaging in best practice and doing the right thing for the environment and for their employees.

Perhaps instead of needing to rethink sustainable waste, we need to rethink how it’s communicated.

Waste collection services need to find new ways to provide transparent and accurate data and costs for their clients, and ultimately to continue to reduce the impact of waste on our environment. Reporting needs to be made more efficient and streamlined so that all the right data can be captured, integrated, and plugged straight into measurement tools such as the NABERS waste tool.

Both the NABERS tool and guidelines from the Better Building Partnership (BBP) suggest using two sources of data collection for cross referencing and improved data accuracy. BBP members and their waste service contractors hold monthly and quarterly meetings to discuss waste management, allowing stakeholders to build trust and understanding around this complex issue. The development of a third-party standard for waste collection services would provide a further mechanism for building and communicating trust between service providers and their clients.

It’s clear that there are facilities management professionals and organisations (including in the waste services industry) who are incredibly passionate about finding good, long-term environmental solutions.

It is time for us to know that we are truly closing the loop and moving towards sustainable consumption and production.