Waste management is becoming a global concern these days. The world generates 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually, with at least 33% of it not managed in an environmentally safe manner, per The World Bank report. And it’s further projected to grow to 3.40 billion tonnes by 2050.
This has prompted efficiency concerns, considering the growing cries for action on climate change. IoT is proving to be an effective solution across various areas, but waste management companies and municipalities haven’t utilized the technology effectively to improve operational efficiency.
IoT to waste management rescue
The growing use of IoT along with smart devices and sensors and machine-to-machine connectivity has the potential to reduce unnecessary expenses because of operational inefficiencies in trash collection processes. And the urban waste collection process holds the key to it as it’s quite complex and time- as well as resource-consuming. Let’s see how IoT can come to the rescue.
Disposal units’ loads can vary by the day, week and season. Municipalities or waste management companies can attach a sensor to a dumpster to measure its fill level. These “smart” dumpsters can then transmit their real-time fill level information to waste collectors. Using this data, the IoT solution can select optimum routes for waste collectors with areas in urgent need of cleanup on priority while avoiding disposal units that still have room. This results in an efficient pickup process, which doesn’t consider empty trash bins, saving fuel as well as manpower costs.
One real-life example is that of Turkey based Evreka, which offers unique waste collection solutions and works with municipalities across North America and Asia. They install sensors on garbage containers that are durable against heat, shock and water. These sensors collect location, temperature and fill ratio info and send it to the main cloud servers that can be used to optimize vehicle routes, estimate the frequency of visits and fill levels.
No missed deliveries
The data gathered from the “smart” dumpsters also help in reducing the number of missed pickups. When a dumpster is about to overflow, the authorities are immediately alerted through the sensors and the pickup trucks can be scheduled. This makes the waste management process efficient and eliminates the overflow of trash bins.
Ecube Labs is a case in point. The company’s solar-powered trash compactor, CleanCUBE can hold up to eight times more garbage compared to non-compacting bins, reducing collection frequency by up to 80%. Another product – the ultrasonic fill-level sensor, CleanFLEX, monitors a container’s fill level and helps waste management companies increase collection efficiency by up to 50%.
The increasing use of electronics has prompted concerns for safe recycling as they contain platinum, gold, silver, lithium, and palladium as well as other raw materials that can be recycled and reused. IoT offers a whole new set of opportunities for businesses to use digital twins of sanitation systems to recycle e-waste for precious and finite resources.
Through IoT, a digital record of each battery can be made available on the internet. Once the battery dies, consumers can use their phones to scan and activate the IoT record and send for a replacement, tagging it with the current geolocation. The manufacturer can then schedule a pick-up of all the used batteries for recycling.
Automating waste categorization
Another area where IoT can be of help is that of waste categorization. A lot of man hours are wasted in sorting and segregating the waste. The next-generation “digital bins” can automate the categorization of waste.
A good example can be of a Polish company Bin-e. It combines unique AI-based object recognition, fill level control and data processing to make waste processing more efficient. Its “Smart Waste Bins” can identify and sort waste into up to four categories: glass, paper, plastic, and metal. The bins also compress the waste and notify sanitation workers of fill levels for each waste category.
Efficient data analysis
The connected devices are recording the number of times the bins are emptied and the speed at which they fill up. A potential area where IoT can prove its worth is when this data is combined with statistics from other smart city systems. The possibilities could be endless – planning the better distribution of garbage bins, eliminating incorrect disposal practices, and even reducing waste going to the landfill.
The future of waste management
A growing collection of interlinked IoT devices are managing everyday urban operations and improving both citizen experiences and carbon footprint. But for IoT to make further inroads into managing waste efficiently, we need more support from the public sector via regulation and incentives and private sectors through innovation and engaging with various state agencies to use IoT applications to build a better and more sustainable future.
How can Bridgera help?
Bridgera has been developing custom smart/ digital waste management solutions for its customers using leading edge technologies like IoT, Analytics, Mobility and Cloud. Our technology platform is the fueling engine behind creating new solutions to help preserve the environment while enabling companies to become smarter and more efficient. Our Bridgera Dumpster services play a vital role in collecting construction wastes from various sites and dumping the same either in the landfills or at the recycling units, whichever seems appropriate based on the category of wastes produced.
CONTACT US today to accelerate your IoT waste management journey with us.