Waste Management in a Smart City – The Smart Bin

Patrick Buckley    30 October, 2020

In today’s post, I will share with you how Waste Management is set to be revolutionised by Big Data and IoT (Internet of Things) technology. 

The  Social Importance of Waste Management 

Waste management is increasingly becoming a priority for governments around the world. As populations continue to grow exponentially, urban areas become increasingly over-crowded and levels of public litter inevitably increase.

It is estimated by the UK based consultancy MapleCroft that 2.3 billion tons of waste is produced  every year globally. This is expected to increase to  3.4 billion tons by 2050. It is therefore important that we become aware of waste patterns in order to optimise management strategies and sustainably manage populations. 

The Smart Bin 

 IoT connected devices and Big Data technology are set to play a critical role in the future of waste management. Currently, the most well-known example of  Smart Waste Management infrastructure is the Smart Bin.  The Smart Bin is a connected device, equipped with IoT powered sensors which monitor bin usage and encourage sustainable waste management.

Route Optimisation 

As urban environments and populations continue to grow, public space littering and bin overflow continues to be an issue which plagues cities around the world.

By monitoring bin overflow through the use of sensors, the Smart Bin sends signals to monitoring systems operated by local councils and waste management companies. This means that bin collection routes can be organised to optimise bin capacity and ultimately reduce the level of street litter. 

Other benefits of informed route planning include reduced fuel costs for waste managemnet companies and decreased working hours of employees.

This technology has already been rolled out in many cities such as Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong. In most cases, this technology is developed by private sector companies such as Sensoneo.  

Encouraging Recycling

Smart Bin technology can also be used to inform members of the public of the importance of recycling. Sensors which detect human contact initiate information displays promoting pedestrians to recycle correctly. Further to this, by collecting data on how many times bins are emptied, households and councils can become more informed on waste , allowing for a greater understanding of how one may be able to cute waste output and contribute towards sustainable outcomes.

As we become increasingly socially aware of the importance of recycling and cutting down on food waste, households will increasingly value the insights that a Smart Bin in the home will provide. Equally, there is potential for government’s and councils to use this insight to monitor recycling habits and apply pressure to those who refuse to recycle through, for example, government-imposed restrictions or fines.

Unlocking the power of Data Analytics in Waste Management.

As we start to see the Smart Bin concept being rolled out in towns and cities worldwide, waste-management data will become increasingly influential to local councils and governments.

The possibilities for this data to be used for social good are never-ending.  For example, governments could be able to target specific geographic areas or social cohorts with educational campaigns regarding the importance of recycling.  Councils will be able to more accurately predict waste levels on a national scale and respond accordingly with infrastructure upgrades.

 When this data is combined on a global scale, the global community will be able to track recycling habits and progress towards a future of sustainable waste management. 

 Conclusion

There is great potential for the Smart Bin to revolutionise the way in which we manage our waste on a global scale. IoT and Big Data technology is already advanced enough to provide valuable insights to local councils and governments. This technology is already being rolled out in public spaces around the world.  There is great potential for smart waste-management systems to provide further insights, especially if they are incorporated into the domestic waste-management market.

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