Contributed by Enevo
As urban populations continue to grow and the quantities of waste increase, many city budgets are under pressure. More efficient approaches to waste and recycling are increasingly becoming a matter of urgency rather than simply an aspiration.
Many cities are additionally setting ambitious waste diversion goals as they seek to substantially reduce the quantity of waste ending up in land fills. In the U.S., San Francisco, San Diego, Boulder, Austin, New York and Seattle are just a few example of cities that have identified the clear environmental benefits of landfill diversion programs. Key to achieving these objectives are much increased recycling levels, which to best succeed requires a step change in logistics.
Cities such as Rotterdam in The Netherlands have started to utilize wireless sensors and big data to transform the efficiency and costs of collecting waste. This allows them to enable smart route planning, which ensures only full bins are collected and vehicle/collections costs are minimised to take the shortest routes that collect the maximum waste each day.
Cities making this shift experience major reductions in the number of collections required to collect the same quantities of waste as before. They are also seeing less overfills of containers and the subsequent complaints from the public. The data they are collecting through this process also helps optimise container locations to better serve the areas and communities they cover.
Keeping the city clean and tidy with optimal servicing of waste containers also drives up the quality of the recycling waste streams, reducing contamination, which has a significant effect on the overall waste diversion goals of the city.
The next evolution in waste management will utilize cutting edge Internet of Things (IoT) and big data technologies to harness far greater logistical and cost efficiencies on the way to greener, smart waste management.
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