Solar Bins Australia is creating a truly sustainable waste network for Australia as an international distribution partner for Bigbelly. To waste managers, Solar Bins Australia provides advanced, cost-efficient waste management technology and dedicated support. The end goal: to create smarter, cleaner cities that respond to the changes in current waste management practices to ensure future support and quality life for customers in Australia!
We recently connected with Leon Hayes, Managing Director, to discuss the company’s vision and efforts to improving waste management down under with the Bigbelly system.
We are very glad to have Solar Bins Australia as a partner! How did your relationship with Bigbelly begin?
"In 2012, we were looking for a waste management innovation to present to a major mining client. We had recently talked with Jim Poss, Bigbelly founder, who had visited Australia to demo Bigbelly. The company’s vision and mission to change the face of waste and recycling was captivating. We purchased two Bigbelly units.
Throughout the year, we continued to speak with the Bigbelly team and requested the opportunity to begin building relationships with clients here in Australia. We quickly formed Solar Bins Australia and have not looked back. We spent two years gaining industry experience, learning about clients’ challenges, and working with Bigbelly USA to create comprehensive solutions.
The Australian waste market is significantly different from the rest of the world. Our customers have extremely high cost of operations, expansive areas in which they operate (the largest municipality covers 380,000 km2), and strict procedures to follow in waste collection. For these reasons and others, we have taken a foundation approach to introducing Bigbelly to Australia that includes ensuring that the technology is robust and provides the service levels that will exceed our customers’ expectations."
What are Solar Bins' areas of expertise?
"Our key difference compared to other waste management providers is our exclusive focus on the Bigbelly solution. This strategy is the foundation of our success as we have just one solution to focus on and to dedicate our resources. This valuable partner-driven approach allows us to understand from a grass roots and intimate perspective how best to meet the varied needs of our customers."
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Which geographic regions do you serve?
"We exclusively focus on the Australian market, where our population tops 23 million people, and attracts more than 7 million visitors annually. All of them consume products and produce waste, often on the go, which turns to rubbish. The waste and recycling needs of Australia are extensive. In 2010, the amount of waste generated in Australia was enough to cover the State of Victoria to a depth of 10 cm."
Which markets do you primarily sell to?
"We have diligently focused on each portfolio one-step at a time. With over 500 councils and municipalities operating here, we took a strategic approach to concentrating on that portfolio first. We now have team members who hold portfolios in theme parks, airports, facilities & stadiums, and the education sectors."
Could you share some examples of customers who have seen great success with the smart waste and recycling system?
"We look at our success and measure it in various ways. By way of growth, Nambucca Heads in New South Wales (a region with a population of only 11,000 people), began a trial with six stations and grew their roll out to 29 stations in under one year. The team responsible for waste management diligently embraced and adopted an innovative approach to waste containment and collection. Before the Bigbelly rollout, the team traveled up to 200 kms for daily waste collection. Today, because of Bigbelly’s unique web-based service for monitoring fill levels of the bins, they reduced collection to an average of 2.5 times/week and collection distances to around 50 kms/day. The region had a huge problem with illegal dumping prior to Bigbelly and this has now ceased. You can read more on this customer's experience via a Q&A with Nambucca Shire Council Assistant General Manager of Engineering Service, Paul Gallagher, here.
Over in the West, the Shire of Esperance recently completed a redevelopment of their waterfront, which included a review on waste practices. Prior to Bigbelly, the region experienced overflowing trashcans and spillage of waste along the seaside. Bigbelly has virtually eliminated that litter, and over the past six months, the team has reduced collection to an average of 1.5 times/week.
The announcement by the Lord Mayor or City of Melbourne of the Bigbelly installation in the city’s worst waste areas was recently covered by major media outlets. Typically by 8:30 a.m. each day in the City, waste is often overflowing while waste collection contractors tirelessly just to keep up with the cleansing program. These are high profile, high traffic areas. We are thrilled that one of the leading cities in the world has chosen us to help them combat their waste problems.
Sharing success stories is a huge part of our education and sales efforts. In the past two months, we completed on-site demonstrations – yes bringing a Bigbelly unit – to over 50 councils, facilities managers, and waste contractors. Having the units on site gives people a chance to 'Meet the Bigbelly' in person and up close."
What are some highlights of Solar Bins' successes as a global Bigbelly partner?
"Our five-year plan is reviewed continuously. We review goals monthly to ensure we remain focused on our vision and mission. We recently received the Australian Waste and Recycling Innovation award, grew our Facebook followers to over 9,100, and began working relationships with some of Australia’s leading councils and business.
Our biggest highlight though is the development of our team. Each team member lives, breathes, and focuses on Bigbelly and the movement of #changeyourspace. It is in everything we do – every decision we make, and every conversation we have. Our recently success has led us to open an office in Brisbane and Melbourne with Sydney tabled for 2016. Our team is truly world class and that above all else has been the reason to our success.
We believe the status quo in waste management is changing. It needs to. There are now seven billion people on the planet and this is forecasted to grow to nearly nine billion by 2040. Forward thinkers and change makers are needed to think today for the nine billion in 25 years. We believe using data can greatly assist planning, maximize results, and reduce lag times. Data can come from things we use every day to measure and assist in predicting human behaviors on a macro level. People create waste every second of the day at a rate of nearly 2 kilos per person per day. Bigbelly is positioned to help in both of these critical present and future arenas."