By Anthony Gilbreath of Caelus Sustainability Consulting and Leah Feor
TULSA, August 1, 2017 / 3BL Media / - Northeast Waste Solutions (NeWSolutions) is a Tulsa-based solid waste collection and hauling company. The company was founded in June 2010 by stakeholders of Tulsa Refuse Inc., a company that held Tulsa's trash-hauling contract for 32 years. In 2012, the newly formed company was awarded the contract from the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy to be the service provider responsible for the City of Tulsa's residential refuse and recycling collection.
In the summer of 2017, NeWSolutions launched a Sustainable Roll-off Division to provide a sustainable, environmentally friendly solution to commercial and industrial waste handling. The fleet consists of 7 CNG fueled long-haul tractor trailers with a range of 300 miles on one fueling.
Since that time, NeWSolutions has not only provided services that have received high marks from Tulsa residents, it has also taken many steps towards being a sustainability leader in the region. These include investing in green technologies, operating the largest Compressed Natural Gas fueling depot in Oklahoma, using a state-of-the-art routing system, being active in the community, and running efficient operations. NeWSolutions has also been a participant in a local sustainability business program as well as undergone a third-party sustainability audit.
Working Together for Tulsa Residents and Businesses
NeWSolutions' Sustainable Residential Collection Division acts as the transporter for two waste streams – residential trash and recycling.
NeWSolutions takes the residential trash it collects to Covanta, a local waste-to-energy facility. Covanta Tulsa processes approximately 1,125 tons of municipal solid waste every day. This generates about 265,000 pounds of steam per hour. A portion of the steam powers a turbine and in turn, generates clean, renewable energy that is sold to the Public Service Company of Oklahoma. The remaining steam is exported to neighboring refinery Holly Frontier, offsetting the refinery’s need to use fossil fuels to supply its energy needs and enhancing their sustainability initiatives. This gives the citizens of Tulsa a near zero-landfill solution for its trash.
NeWSolutions collects and transports Tulsa’s residential recycling to Tulsa Recycle & Transfer (TRT). Founded in 1987, TRT is Tulsa’s leading recycling company. TRT uses automated processing equipment that doesn’t require residents to sort recycling material. Residents can place all recyclables in the same bin. Since the current recycling program started in 2012, the percentage of waste being recycled has increased from 3 percent to over 22 percent today.
NeWSolutions’s Green, Efficient Fleet
NeWSolutions has a new and modern fleet of garbage collection vehicles and long-haul tractor trailers. NeWSolutions decided to buy Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles rather than traditional diesel trucks. The decision results in several measurable sustainability benefits including significant petroleum displacement, greenhouse gas emission reductions and cost savings. It is estimated that NeWSolutions displaces an average of 7500 Diesel Gas Equivalent (DGE) and 26 tons* of emissions per compaction truck per year.
In addition, NeWSolutions uses one of the most advanced fleet management system available called Routware. Routware was originally developed for the waste industry. The system dispatches real-time work orders to vehicles, tracks route progress, analyzes route performance, and provides real-time information for supervisors and customer service agents. Routware utilizes an onboard computer which runs software that provides an electronic route sheet, presents a GPS system to the driver, and collects data from the driver and from peripheral devices like cameras, RFID readers, modems, and other devices. From the office, the system’s Back Office operations transmits routes and other information to drivers while offering business intelligence reports, mapping, and real-time visibility into routes to dispatchers, customer service reps, and supervisors.
The sustainability benefits of using Fleet Management system like Routware are numerous. The largest and most obvious is the reduction in miles driven. This reduces the amount of fuel needed to run the fleet which in turn reduces emissions. Another benefit is the reduction of idle time for trucks. Intelligent route evaluation can take into considerations such as traffic levels and road construction to minimize the amount of time spent in traffic and sitting at stop lights. This also improves drivers’ satisfaction by reducing stress. This can lead to lower employee turnover.
NeWSolutions is very active in the Tulsa community. NeWSolutions participates in several sustainability activities, partners with local organizations, and recognizes and celebrates Earth Day. These are some of the most important organizations and events they are involved in:
Earth Day Events - NeWSolutions celebrated Earth Day with its employees by distributing environmental and recycling information from the City of Tulsa and The Metropolitan Environmental Trust (M.e.t.).
NeWSolutions is also a sponsor and participant in several Earth Day events including:
- Celebrating CommUNITY – This is an annual event which engages eight Tulsa elementary schools in hands-on events educating students about sustainable practices.
- M.e.t EnviroExpo – An exposition held in downtown Tulsa.
Local Organizations – NeWSolutions partners with several local partners. These include:
- Celebrating CommUNITY - NeWSolutions has been a partner with Celebrating CommUNITY for several years, assisting them with planning, finances, and event recycling.
- The City of Tulsa – NeWSolutions partners with the City of Tulsa to help promote sustainable practices including raising awareness of the curbside recycling program.
- Tulsa Master Recyclers – NeWSolutions works with Tulsa Master Recyclers to increase public awareness of recycling.
- Sustainable Tulsa – NeWSolutions is a member and a participant of Sustainable Tulsa’s Scor3card program. The Scor3card program assists local business to become more sustainable through better business practices.
- Bike Club – Bike Club is an after-school bike program at Tulsa Public Schools operating in about 15 schools.
- Metropolitan Environmental Trust (The M.e.t.) – NeWSolutions partners often with The M.e.t. to promote and operate special waste collections and recycling at events.
- Tulsa Area Clean Cities – NeWSolutions partners with Clean Cities to promote the use of alternative fuels and strategies to improve regional air quality.
- Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) – NeWSolutions works with the Oklahoma chapter of this industry alliance to address health and safety issues.
A Tennent Advocate
Even though NeWSolutions leases its facilities, they have been sustainability advocates and work with their landlord to make the building more efficient. They are currently helping their landlord begin the process of benchmarking energy, water, and waste. While many companies that rent think that the sustainability of their facilities is out of their control, NeWSolutions demonstrates that it is not. Requesting utility information and suggesting ways your building could be more energy efficient (such as an Energy Audit) are excellent ways to engage your landlord.
The CurrentState™ Sustainability Audit
In early 2017, NeWSolutions completed the CurrentState™ Sustainability Audit. Their main objectives of conducting an audit were to: take a snapshot of their current sustainability activities, identify gaps in their efforts, and create a sustainability improvement plan. CurrentState™ compared their sustainability activities in 25 different business categories to over 1,400 industry Best Practices. Each category was graded for its current performance and detailed implementation plans were created based on this information.
“The CurrentState Sustainability Audit has proven to be a valuable resource for our management to assess NeWSolutions' sustainability performance in a variety of areas. The bonus is that it gives us the ability to identify improvements across multiple dimensions of our operations,” said Jason Kannady, NeWSolutions president.
NeWSolutions completed all audit modules (Green IT, Business, and Facilities). The audit results showed that NeWSolutions has good sustainability performance across the entire organization. The audit also identified several specific ways they could improve performance in a short period of time.
“NeWSoultions performed really well across almost every category, especially for a first-time audit.” said Anthony Gilbreath, Principal at Caelus Consulting. “Because of the way they run their operations and their involvement with several community organizations, they have a large footprint of green activities.”
Some of the quick takes for the different modules are:
- Green IT – NeWSolutions’ Fleet Management system is a major sustainability enabler that allows them to save money and lower emissions. Opportunities were identified in the Policies and Procedures and Asset Management categories.
- Facilities – NeWSolutions’ role as tenant advocate for sustainability is the most significant accomplishment for this module. NeWSolutions demonstrated efforts in all categories where they have direct control.
- Business – NeWSolution has made a strategic decision to be a sustainability leader in their community. This is evident by the way that they conduct operations and through their involvement in local sustainability and community organizations.
“The CurrentState Sustainability Audit is an easy-to-use tool to assess sustainability performance across the board and we identified several areas that could be strengthened. Thanks to insight from the audit, we have strengthened policies and procedures in several areas, improved processes for tracking utility usage, safety issues and spills and other incidents on our trash routes,” Kannady said. “The CurrentState Sustainability Audit gives us the ability for continuous performance improvements.”
Trash hauling can be a dirty business, however when combined with sustainability, it can be a great asset for the community and the environment. NeWSolutions provides an excellent example that companies can both provide green services to residents while also conducting operations in an efficient and sustainable manner. NeWSolutions has demonstrates their commitment to be a sustainability leader through smart business choices, involvement in the community, and a willingness to dedicate time and resources towards managing their sustainability efforts.
About NeWSolutions – Northeast Waste Solutions, LLC
NeWSolutions is owned and operated by Tulsa-area professionals experienced in the collection, transportation and processing of solid waste and recyclable materials. NeWSolutions is committed to reliable, responsible results for refuse and recycling challenges facing Northeast Oklahoma and the region. NeWSolutions is striving to provide environmentally sound, efficient, and economical solid waste disposal options for its communities and customers.
Gary Percefull – Business Development and Community Relations
Telephone: +1 (918) 428-7274