Ask anyone about the state of waste-related data collection and the answer will take some form of “not good.”

Managers, analysts, and operators feel the same way:  There’s not nearly enough data.  What’s collected is not nearly good enough.  And it’s hardly ever available soon enough.

These complaints are legitimate and credible across the board, because when data accuracy is questionable then it almost certainly leads to decision-making that is undisciplined, unsubstantiated, and immeasurable.

In other words, the data we have remains incoherent, if not impenetrable to practical analysis, thus creating an unnecessary administrative burden and a drag on corporate performance.

Google and Wal-Mart recognize that their records contain plenty of customer insight, and they effectively coordinate this with their suppliers and manage this information in their business planning.

Waste companies and municipalities are sitting on a similarly valuable treasure trove of data, but because it is gathered for different purposes and utilizing different tools, there is little coordination across the industry, and as a result insight is lost.

This is inexcusable at a time when technology can facilitate understanding.

In the age of big data, surely it’s time for industry and government to agree on consistent standards for timely and accurate reporting.

And that is why the Canadian Resource Recovery Council (CRRC) supports the Big Data Project for Waste.

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