As the conversation around smart city initiatives continues to grow in major cities throughout the country, many civic leaders are starting to recognize the opportunities that the Internet of Things (IoT) technology can bring to municipal services.
According to Navigant Research, the global smart waste collection technology market is expected to grow from $57.6 million in 2016 to over $223.6 million in 2025.
Even though the average city services at least 200,000 bins a week, most solid trash collection today is still preformed inefficiently using fixed routes and schedules. Using this framework leads to an inefficient use of fuel and man hours. Problems arise in the form of over owing bins which command additional clean up costs and draw out disease carrying rodents or other more dangerous wild animals.
In other parts of town rarely used bins that remain nearly empty receive unnecessary service that tie up man power which could have been deployed elsewhere.
Most collection companies recognize the inherent inefficiencies of the fixed route system and to their credit, have tried a number of ways to improve efficiency including 24 hour service cycles, buying bigger trucks with larger waste capacity and even reducing the number of left turns a truck makes during a route. Nationwide collection agencies like Republic Services who has millions customers has already begun to leverage route optimization software but industry-wide adoption and regular usage is generally impeded by a number of factors which includes but is not limited to a lack of “staff with both collections and computer expertise.”
The opportunity to add the tracking and monitoring of waste levels to existing route optimization software is there but it needs to be simplified for widespread use and implementation. IoT connectivity solutions from companies like GeoTraq can also help companies not currently using a software transition to smarter waste collection. By placing a wireless connected device with a sensor into a bin, drivers and operators will be alerted when a particular bin has reached its predetermined rubbish level. The device will also be able to tell when a bin is empty which will allow certain stops to be skipped.
Whether its food waste, recycling or bulk, smart trash bins will provide improved methods for the collection, transport and disposal of solid waste.