The problem to solve: Ensuring that hazardous wastes from manufacturing operations don’t end up in the wrong landfills

Waste streams at a very busy car manufacturer can include the following waste types:

  • Hazardous Waste (used oil, cleaners, lead-acid batteries, antifreeze, refrigerants, etc)
  • Universal Waste (batteries, lamps, pesticides, aerosol cans, mercury-containing equipment)
  • e-Waste (electrical and electronic devices)
  • Other Regulated Waste
  • Organics
  • Recyclables

Oftentimes, some waste of a particular type ends up in the wrong waste container.  This is especially problematic when hazardous or other regulated wastes makes its way into non-hazardous waste containers. When that happens….and it’s a matter of when, not if…hazardous waste ends up in our county landfills.  No bueno.  Not only is that really bad for the environment, if detected it will inevitably generate large fines levied by regulatory agencies.

This is why segregating these waste types into specific waste streams matters.  A lot.

A simple way to document compliance

One very large refuse management firm used XForms to document environmental compliance of hazardous and regulated wste streams generated by a major US-based automotive manufacturer.

Here’s how they did it, in 3 simple steps:

Use a simple, one-page “Contractor Daily Worksheet” form for refuse management crews to use on site to document observations made

  • The inspection form included input fields for Labor, Equipment & Materials used, an Assessment of the facility, photos, and a signature block
  • The Assessment section of the form included separate photo fields for conditions upon arrival and regulated waste photos
  • The Assessment section also included simple yes/no and multi-select listboxes where the field crews could document unacceptable wastes found in the non-hazardous trash waste streams

Here’s a gif of the entire form the field techs filled out on site:

 

 

Configure the reporting dashboard to aggregate submitted forms by site, haz in non-haz detected, unacceptable items found in non-haz, and the field tech who filled out the forms.  It also included drive time, on-site time, and total time.

Here’s a screenshot of the dashboard (with sensitive data blurred)

 

Aggregating, or grouping, listbox values into blocks as illustrated above lets you quickly find what you are looking for.  For example, let’s say you wanted to view all the daily worksheets submitted for the past 90 days at a specific site.  Just click on the Site block, and then click on the site you are interested in in the pie chart.  You will then be taken to a filtered view of the forms for that site for that date range.

 

Analyze and distribute form data including PDFs of submitted forms

A simple forms screen was used for quickly viewing the data collected in grid view.  The refuse management firm’s project manager could then easily:

  • filter to view specific forms
  • sort the records in the grid by clicking on a column
  • export the view to Excel with a single click
  • click on a specific record to view the submitted form in PDF format
  • view any photos captured in the form by clicking on the photo gallery icon
  • view a specific form’s history to see if the form data was every edited over time

Here’s a screenshot of the forms screen (with sensitive data blurred)

And here’s an example of one of their submitted Contractor Daily Worksheet in PDF format (with sensitive data blurred).

Geolocation and metadata benefits

The metadata and geolocation feature of XForms was used by the refuse management firm when a discrepancy between what the refuse field crew say they did versus what the customer said they saw (or didn’t see).  This discrepancy was resolved by looking at the form metadata for a particular site and date.  This article explains this particular issue in more detail.

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