How Seoul used the IoT to improve waste management and collection
Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, is one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas by population. The local government was facing a challenge with frequent waste management, collection and overflow issues That is why the Seoul metropolitan government came to Ecube Labs.
With an inadequate number of public waste bins and with four to five daily waste collections proving to be insufficient, the Seoul metropolitan government had a serious challenge regarding waste management and collection. Furthermore, because the waste collection planners did not know how full or how quickly the bins became full, Seoul’s waste collection staff had to deal with plastic bottles and paper cups that continuously piled up on top of recycling bins.
With the main goal of improving the cityscape by making streets cleaner and reducing waste collection costs, Seoul municipality decided to install 85 Clean Cubes in 2014 for general waste and recyclables in particularly crowded areas of the city center. The managers of the public cleanliness department utilized Clean City Networks (CCN) to monitor the status and fill-level of Ecube Labs’ Clean Cubes and observe the collection efficiency throughout Seoul.
Clean City Networks (CCN) is an integrated waste management platform designed to optimize the efficiency of waste collection. CCN provides a comprehensive collection of historical data and analytics reports. It also allows users to monitor Clean Cubes in real-time.
Within just three months of using Ecube Labs’ solutions, the city was able to see significant improvements in the waste collection process. Since installing the Clean Cubes, waste overflow was eliminated and there was a significant reduction of litter on the streets. Through the status and fill-level information provided by CCN, the waste collection team was able to organize efficient collection schedules and collect recycling bins before bottles and cups began piling up on top of the bins.
“Unlike the traditional way of collecting general waste and recycling materials, the new way of managing our bins using Ecube Labs’ monitoring system not only reduced our collection costs by 83% but also eliminated waste overflow as well,” the Seoul metropolitan government said.
Founded in 2011, Ecube Labs has its headquarters in Seoul. The company is a manufacturer of smart and connected waste bins and solar-powered portable waste compactors. Ecube Lab’s garbage containers are equipped with sensors capable of monitoring their fill-level and bin status. This allows waste collectors to reduce operating costs through lowering collection frequency.
The firm’s portfolio includes Clean Cube, a waste compaction bin powered entirely by solar energy. This product includes embedded sensors which measure the bin fill-level in real-time and triggers automated compaction of waste, effectively increasing the bin capacity by 500% – 700%. The sensors send real-time data to Ecube Labs’ online network, allowing remote monitoring of bin status and fill-levels. The Clean Cube boasts optional features such as Wi-Fi hotspot capability, LED back-lit advertisement panels, and motion-activated sound players.
Ecube Lab’s offering also includes the Clean Cap, a wireless sensor that measures a container’s fill-level in real time. It comes in both a battery-powered and solar-powered model and can be attached to any type of container to monitor any type of waste. Using either 2G or 3G wireless telecommunication technology, real time data from the sensors are sent to Clean City Networks’ servers.