The recycling industry works extremely hard to ensure that the most is made of others’ waste streams.
For example, here at O’Donovan, we can recycle 97%of the construction waste that we take from our clients.
But as the economy recovers and business picks up, we also need to be doing what we can to ensure our vehicles are managed in such a way that they have as little impact on the environment as possible.
To do this, we argue that companies must invest in driver training and look to monitor and improve their fleet’s performance. There are many courses of action that can be taken; we are currently investing £80,000 in bespoke telematics monitoring equipment for our vehicles to help deliver improved driver performance in terms of safety and the environment.
The investment is also helping us to deliver on our Greener Vision Strategy, which aims to reduce O’Donovan’s overall effect on the environment.
While this is a big investment, particularly from the point of view of an SME like us, the new equipment enables the business to analyse driver performance. The resulting data allows us to educate our drivers on the most economical and safe driving techniques. This will mean savings across the company and for our clients.
The amount of money spent on fuel will drop, for example, because the most efficient routes will be taken. The reduction in vehicle idling and other activities that drain fuel will be factored out of drivers’ behaviour wherever possible.
Construction Logistics Plans, which optimise routes, will mean that more work can be taken on and deliveries will happen quicker. In addition, accidents involving HGVs will be reduced, resulting in lower insurance fees. With this in mind, any improvements needed will probably end up paying for themselves.
With training needs being identified earlier and continually checked, costs for educating drivers should be reduced because the points to cover will be smaller and monitored on an ongoing basis. Time, financial and carbon emission savings can be passed on to customers, meaning they receive a more cost-effective, safer and energy-efficient service.
To date, through O’Donovan’s Greener Vision Strategy, we have managed to reduce carbon emissions and HGV idling by 50%. The investment in training and telematics will only help these figures to improve further.
While the economy is in the process of gaining momentum, it is a great time for waste management companies to invest in their drivers and vehicles so that savings can be made well into the future. The increased need to put more vehicles on the road will force our hand.
As an industry based around cleaning up the environment, we need to lead by example in operating sustainably wherever possible.
Jacqueline O’Donovan is managing director of O’Donovan Waste Disposal