With over 45,000 residents disposing Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) material such as paint, light bulbs, needles, etc. every year, Alameda County offers multiple free, convenient options for properly and safely disposing hazardous waste. It allows County residents to dispose at three HHW facilities located in Oakland, Hayward, and Livermore. In addition, HHW holds multiple one-day annual events at other convenient locations.
In June 2020, Environmental Health launched the state-of-the-art HHW Scanner system at all facilities eliminating the archaic paper-intensive process. The new system was developed in one year as an integrated three-part system comprised of an Android application (app) for scanner devices, web services for syncing scanned data to County databases, and a web application for HHW Program administrators to manage the system.
The new system was a huge success as it streamlined and automated the process, eliminated paper, improved data security, reduced staff time, centralized data, and generated accurate and timely reports. During the pandemic, it eliminated the use of high-touch items like pens and clipboards and assisted in social distancing. By using NASCAR style processing, the system improved customer service, allowed speedy check-ins, shorter customer wait times, and allowed HHW staff to safely serve more customers.
Since June 2020, due to the pandemic, all facilities allowed appointment-only participation and scanned 55,000 unique driver licenses and collected respective survey data. This is the highest number of customers the program has ever recorded, and the data produced is legible and accurate. The data entry is automated, and records are immediately accessible. With this new system, no transaction has gone unrecorded, which was not always the case with paper records. The residents can now be contacted in case of additional questions. The reports suggest that 30% of the residents were repeat customers. The reports also show a 5% – 10% increase every month in Alameda County resident participation. HHW staff is now able to target cities/locations that need awareness of this free program by using flyers and other modes of marketing and promotions. The HHW Scanner data and survey reports are sent on a regular basis to the Environmental Health management who are elated on the tremendous success of the new HHW Scanner System.