Waste management is an essential function of every town, city, or other local governments. As such, many municipalities have tried to improve their waste management efforts by tracking sanitation trucks and their routes. However, there is more that can be done and accomplished in additional areas of waste management that go beyond just the city streets.
Thankfully, global positioning system (GPS) technology has come a long way since its original military-only deployment days. GPS tracking systems are used by businesses and organizations across a variety of industries around the world — ranging from industries like trucking and shipping distribution to construction, oil and gas, or public safety. Another user of this technology is the waste management industry.
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) identifies four basic areas of benefit for using GPS technology in modern landfills:
- Compaction: This ability allows you to see what is happening concerning measuring the horizontal and vertical movement of the waste in real time as it is compacted.
- Construction: Some types of GPS tracking systems can be used to build most effectively in landfills, preventing operators from over- or under-building to maximize accuracy and landfill trash burying efficiency.
- Surveying: Because most GPS systems continuously ping their coordinates throughout the day, this means your operators are essentially performing a highly accurate survey throughout the workday.
- Reporting: All of the data that is collected by a GPS system can be analyzed and used to generate reports.
According to Caterpillar, the world’s leading manufacturer of mining and construction equipment, engines, industrial turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives, “Landfill managers using GPS technology… report efficiency gains of 10-25%.”
That’s all well and good. But, how can GPS tracking help your organization? Let’s explore how GPS technology can help to increase the efficiency of asset management for trash compactors.
5 Ways That GPS for Landfill Operators Helps to Meet Goals
1. Tracking Industrial Trash Compactors Outside the Landfills
If your business has a fleet of trash compactors that are transported and stationed throughout the area (such as those stationed at apartment complexes, businesses, and grocery stores), it can be difficult to keep tabs on the locations of all of your machines and to know how long they’ve been there.
Modern GPS tracking solutions enable you to track your industrial trash compactors in real time so you know if they at their assigned position in the field or have been moved to another location.
2. GPS Tracking Makes Work Safer for Equipment Operators
Increasing the safety of operators of dozers, wheel loaders, compactors, and other heavy construction and landfill equipment should be one of your organization’s top priorities. Using GPS tracking for trash compactors and other equipment, you can know where these machines are at all times. As such, you can use geofencing tools to track hazardous zones and set alerts so that you receive a notification any time your equipment enters or leaves the area.
Other waste management assets in the field, such as trucks and other vehicles, also can be tracked using GPS tracking for fleet management. Using modern GPS tracking devices and software, you can not only track the locations of your assets and even monitor employee driving behaviors. If drivers are speeding, rapidly accelerating or braking, or conducting other dangerous behaviors, you’ll be able to know it and address it — ideally before any of your fleet vehicles are in an accident.
This data is also recorded, meaning that you have access to the information in the future that you can reference during employee training.
3. It Helps You to Achieve More Accurate Passes and Better Density
Achieving better compaction density without the use of GPS tracking is easier said than done. It requires the use of other expensive technologies and time-consuming processes, such as using aircraft that are loaded with equipment to fly over the landfill to measure the density of the trash that has been compacted.
However, accurately tracking the number of trash compactor passes as they are made helps to achieve more accurate trash compacting density in the landfills. This tracking helps to maximize the use of the available land space. It also can help you to avoid fees and citations for over-filling specific areas.
4. You Can Monitor the Performance of Equipment for Maintenance
In addition to tracking the location and movement of your equipment, another advantage of GPS technology is that it can tap into the on-board diagnostics system to monitor the status and condition of your equipment. Knowing whether your equipment is up and running efficiently, if, when, and for how long it is used, and whether it is due for preventative maintenance can help to prevent costly repairs that result in downtime and lost productivity and revenue.
5. GPS Extends the Life and Usability of Your Landfill
Landfills are estimated to have an estimated “lifespan” that is calculated using estimates of how much land space is available and the waste management requirements of residents and businesses in the area.
According to guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the weight requirements per cubic yard for compacted municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills (following best practices) include:
- MSW Small Landfill: 1,200-1,700 lbs
- MSW Large Landfill: 1,700-2,000 lbs
- “MSW Very Large Landfill with Best Management and Cover Practices, Combined MSW/Industrial/and other solid waste, or/and Leachate Recirculation:” >2,000
When operators use GPS tracking for solid waste fleet management, it means that they can more accurately measure and mash the trash included in each cubic yard. This increasingly efficient use of space helps to increase the useful life of the landfill.
To learn more about how you can improve your fleet management capabilities for waste management, be sure to download our free resource by clicking on the image below.