Measure and monitor waste and water use
Measuring and monitoring the resources used by your organisation and the waste it produces will show you the true cost of waste and help focus efforts on areas where the biggest cost savings can be made.
Until you have a good understanding of your resource use and waste outputs, you will be unable to effectively manage and prioritise opportunities to cut costs and improve efficiency. Measuring and monitoring can seem daunting at first, but there are simple and effective methods that can bring significant benefits.
Once you have an established a measurement and monitoring routine, the data you gather will help to inform any decisions you have to make. And by measuring your resource use and waste outputs, you will be able to determine your baseline performance and monitor your progress as you implement efficiency measures. You can also use this information to benchmark your performance against that of other organisations.
Measure what’s important
The first stage in any monitoring programme is to decide what you want to monitor and understand why you are doing it. You should take some time to consider how you will gather the data you need to measure your resource use and it is recommended that you use common units of measurement to allow comparisons to be made. It is also important that you collect data on a regular and consistent basis.
Interrogate your data
Graphing is a useful technique to allow you to visualise your data and identify any trends, anomalies and opportunities for improvement. Storing data electronically will allow you to easily manipulate and plot your data on graphs to develop more insight. Many different types of graph can be produced quickly and easily using our free monitoring and measuring spreadsheet
Once you have plotted your data, you should ask questions such as:
- Has our performance improved?
- Can we see any changes (positive or negative)?
- Where have these changes been made?
- Is there potential to roll positive changes out further?
- Did we do as well as planned or is there still room for improvement?
- Has the organisation changed (e.g. production increased)?
- Is there anything we could do differently?
- Have staff bought into the programme?
- Is there another factor at play (e.g. a leaking pipe)?
This spreadsheet will help you to collate and analyse your measurement data. The spreadsheet, which comprises a number of tabs and further instructions, provides a basic template that can be edited to suit your own organisation.
‘On Course For Zero Waste’ is a series of free accredited online training modules that provide in-depth training in key topics that will help you improve the environmental performance of your organisation. Module 2 (Measuring and monitoring) will help you to develop your own measuring and monitoring system.
This guide will provide you with additional advice on how to measure and benchmark your business’s environmental performance effectively.
If you would like further advice and support to help you measure and monitor resource use in your organisation, please contact one of our resource efficiency advisors on 0808 808 2268 or click here.