Smart waste management: four cases, four venues, four applications
1 | THE SHOP
Supermarket chain Tesco has used IoT sensors to monitor bins in Slovakia, where it operates 150 stores, and employ over 9,000 people. It has worked with waste management specialist Sensoneo to deploy sensors in eight 1,100-litre garbage bins at its stores in Myjava and Zlate Moravce.
The contents of these bins are typically collected two-to-three times per week. The work with Sensoneo sought to monitor their fill-levels and gauge their collection schedule only over a period of 18 months until last summer, in order to identify room for improvement and cost savings.
“We wanted to evaluate whether or not our waste collection frequencies were well set, whether we collected full or half-empty containers, and find out if there was room for cutting costs by reducing the waste collection frequencies,” explained Lukáš Valach, a project manager at Tesco.
If nothing else, the programme confirmed Tesco’s waster management operation is well oiled in Slovakia. “The Pilot project confirmed that our current waste collection frequencies were set well,” said Valach. Tesco is to run the same trial of its compression waste containers in Slovakia, used by most stores, as well.
2 | THE OFFICE
Deutsche Telekom has teamed up with logistics company Rhenus and the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (Fraunhofer IML) to develop an NB-IoT connected smart bin for disposing of sensitive documents. When full, a sensor in the container issues a signal to Deutsche Telekom’s cloud-based IoT management plaform, and their contents are scheduled for disposal.
Deutsche Telekom explained: “If a critical filling level is reached, the responsible dispatcher receives an alarm. This enables collections to be planned more economically. The company avoids unnecessary driving and saves fuel. At the same time, it makes a major contribution to the environment.”
The propagation characteristics of NB-IoT mean signals will penetrate buildings and cellars, it said. The containers have been designed at a joint enterprise lab in Dortmund, in Germany, as the first product from their collaboration. Rhenus is testing 1,000 containers. An initial run of 100,000 will be launched at the end of 2019.
The prerequisite at the Dortmund lab was for inexpensive and durable technology to record and control the bin-levels. The measuring sensor is located in the metal container; the data is transmitted from outside. “The sensor data allows to plan collection and disposal with pinpoint accuracy,” said Deutsche Telekom.
4 | THE AIRPORT
Dublin Airport has gone from collecting 840 containers four times a day to collecting just 80 containers a day following a waste management redesign and upgrade with Ecube Labs. The problem was those responsible for the various bins (“custodians”) around the airport “had no idea how much waste” was in each of them. The effect was to “hamper customers from having a pleasant impression” of the airport
The airport replaced 840 bins with 80 large triple stations that “accommodated waste diversion” to recycling containers. Three hundred Clean CAP smart waste sensors were installed in the new stations, as well as waste bins around the airport. Accumulated data revealed trends in waste generation paving the way for the airport to oversee a far more efficient collection process.
Collections reduced by more than 90 per cent, from 3,360 collections per day to 240, with “significant cost savings”, alongside.“The solution has also provided us with data which has allowed us to recognise peak times in areas and adjust the allocation of staffing in those areas as well as increase waste container capacity where needed,” said Hannah Forbes, contract services specialist at Dublin Airport.
4 | THE CITY
With input from Vodafone, the Greek capital Athens has turned the default smart waste management application on its head by issuing alerts to locals when garbarge lorries are in the vicinity. This runs counter to the conventional smart waste application, which puts sensors on bins, to alert collectors when garbage needs emptying.
Athens has been buoyed by a €28 million investment programme, called Athens Trigono, to upgrade and improve infrastructure around its commercial centre, an area bordered by three large public squares, which form a so-called ‘Commercial Triangle’ containing a maze of small streets and small retailers.
Vodafone Innovus, an IoT subsidiary of Vodafone Greece, itself a member of the Digital Council of Athens, has helped with the issue of how to manage the rubbish generated by businesses in the area. “Rubbish bins left on the street are an unattractive sight in any city, but are arguably worse in hot countries where any food waste will quickly start to decompose and smell,” it said.
Vodafone has developed a ‘smart waste collection’ service for businesses and residents, which equips bin lorries serving the area (rather than bins) with sensors that can identify and contact businesses when they are passing using a geofence. Residents and shopkeepers receive a text message when the lorries pass, and can carry their rubbish straight out to meet the refuse collector, said Vodafone.