Trash talking: How IoT is transforming waste management

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March 7, 2019

IoT smart cities

In both the developed and developing world, huge volumes of waste are created daily. When you throw away a coffee cup or dispose of your newspaper, you might not pay much thought to how and when that waste is collected. However, it must be collected and managed efficiently and this can be a challenge for municipalities and waste companies throughout the world.

Due to a growing population, limited space available for waste containers and a demand for more consumer goods, waste management is fast becoming an environmental, physical and economic concern. Good waste management and environmentally focused strategies are becoming essential priorities for cities looking to project a “cleaner and more livable” image for both residents and tourists. As part of their environmental sustainability strategies, city administrators seek innovative and more efficient ways to manage waste. And it is a worldwide problem that cannot be ignored. In 2010, waste management costs were $400 billion. By 2020, it is predicted these costs will increase to $562 billion.

Due to a growing population, limited space available for waste containers and a demand for more consumer goods, waste management is fast becoming an environmental, physical and economic concern.

Bringing bins to life

To counter mounting waste collection and disposal issues, municipalities and waste operators are starting to focus their attention on IoT solutions that combine intelligent sensors with logistics and data-based management platforms. Fitted inside waste bins, sensors measure fill levels and other valuable data points and relay the information to the cloud platform over the cellular network. Thanks to their small footprint, these sensors can be easily retrofitted to existing bins regardless of size, shape or content.

Based on the data from the field the cloud platform optimizes waste collection routes dynamically resulting in operational efficiencies, cost reductions in addition to the environmental benefits of lower emissions and visual pollution.

Bottom line, smart waste management helps cities meet their environmental sustainability targets making their cities more ‘livable’ and greener while it also allows waste operators to become more efficient to cope with the increased volume of waste .50% of what they do is all about logistics and how they collect, move and dispose of waste. The good news is that this is where IoT can help.

Smart waste, smarter city

While IoT is helping waste management companies to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, it is the city municipalities that are setting the pace of the waste management revolution. Cities within cities, such as airports, theme parks and petrol stations and any development that needs to project a clean image to its customers are also perfect candidates for smart waste initiatives.

Smart waste initiatives fit very well alongside strategies designed to make cities cleaner. Municipalities want and need to project a cleaner city image to their customers. Smart waste technology helps to improve visibility, enhance operations and project a smarter image to the world.

In addition, the data collected by IoT waste devices is helping city planners to make more informed decisions. From planning bin placement to forecasting waste volumes, this data will play a huge role in building stable and sustainable new developments.

The IoT advantage

From smaller rural communities to densely populated cities, waste management systems must become more efficient if they are to keep our communities free from unwanted waste. IoT in waste management offers many advantages across the board for city administrators, dispatch and fleet managers and customers. For city administrators, the benefits become clear with better control over budgets and improved service quality. For waste collection managers, fleet logistics, service accountability and businesses processes are optimised. And for the customer, a timely and consistent customer service ensures that waste is something they never need to think about. They can simply discard their coffee cup and newspaper in the same way they always have if they choose and still enjoy the pleasures of living in a cleaner, forward-thinking city.