Despite global cries concerning embracing recycling and other waste management methods like waste-to-energy systems and commercial composting, most of the waste still ends up in a landfill. This improper waste dumping is common because many countries usually do not engage in waste management as effectively as required.
The statistics made by statista.com, in 2017, revealed the United States alone produced about 267.8 million tons of solid waste. Of the total, about 139 million tons went directly to landfills, and only 67 million tons were recycled.
However, experts predict that in few years, most cities are expected to adopt more effective waste collection systems, and thus, accomplish zero waste, decrease municipalities’ operational costs, and enhance waste services to their citizens.
Main Challenge of Waste Management
Despite the recycling and the additional methods of managing waste like commercial composting and waste-to-energy systems have been greatly increasing in popularity since the 1960s, but most of the waste ends up in a landfill. The municipal governments usually don’t deal with waste management as efficiently as they ought to.
The waste management service provider in most cities usually follows a predetermined way to empty trash bins in the streets. The bins will always be emptied whether they are full or not, which implies that wasting fuel and other resources occur.
This inefficiency delivers a significant challenge for waste management. Certain bins may be empty most of the time, while the rest are packed to overflowing.
IoT Application in Waste Management
Making use of the Internet of Things technology can help the cities in decreasing waste and enhance efficiency. Concerning making the waste practices more sustainable, IoT applications are engaging to citizens and cities similarly. Written below are some of the best IoT systems.
• Ultrasonic Sensors
Collection services empty trash bins frequently, whether they’re full or not, which will lead to a waste of money, time, and fuel. Waste bins with ultrasonic sensors are built to detect when the bins are full and immediately sends a notification to the collection company.
• GPS Tracking
The bins are designed with a GPS chip that enables the collection company to know where every explicit bin is and which ones are full and are required to be disposed of. That way, the collectors can plan on specific ways, by that saving fuel and time.
• Compression Bins
This technology assists in optimizing collection costs by reducing the frequency of waste retrieval. For example, a trash bin like CleanCUBE is built with compression capabilities. With IoT sensors, it analyzes the bin fill level, and the more waste is gathered, it compresses the trash to fit in more. Compared to normal bins, this type of container can store up to 7 times more waste.
• Smart Waste Bins
To ensure the recycling stream is stored as clean as possible, the trash bins have monitors built to show suitable information to users. For example, Evo Bins possesses monitors that show what type of waste users should put in a particular bin. When the user disposes waste into the bin, the system automatically reveals the weight on a screen.
• Recycling Stations
Big cities such as New York are using smart recycling bins to assist in adequately extract recyclable material from landfills. Additionally, these bins are equipped with compaction systems and fill-level monitoring sensors.
• Underground Trash Bins
Most countries, such as the Netherlands, are installing underground trash bins that take little space on the streets. They are equipped with fill-level monitoring sensors to allow waste collectors to track them and accordingly plan collection time without stress.
Benefits of Using IoT in Smart Waste Management
Reduction in Collection Costs: Smart dumpsters usually send their real-time fill level information to waste collectors. The IoT solution utilizes the data and chooses optimum paths for waste collection trucks. It eventually leads to a pickup process that doesn’t regard empty trash bins, saving fuel, and also manpower.
No Missed Pickups: The smart waste management process abolishes the excess trash bins, unlike the traditional collection methods. The moment a trash bin is about to get full, the authorities are informed instantly. And the collection trucks can be scheduled for a pickup before the pre-scheduled time.
Waste Generation Analysis: Smart waste management is not only about route optimization. It is stated that the real value of IoT is in data analysis. Most of the IoT solutions present in the market are added with data analytics characteristics. Such abilities can assist waste management companies in predicting future waste generation.
CO2 Emission Reduction: There has been much debate and discussions about the carbon footprint of waste management and recycling. Optimized routes result in less fuel consumption, which eventually decreases the carbon footprint, thereby causing the waste management process to be eco-friendlier.
Conclusion (Future of IoT Application In Waste Management)
The aim of IoT applications in waste management is to produce slimmer operations and deliver high-quality services to people. An increasing collection of interlinked autonomous systems are handling daily urban operations and enhancing the citizen experiences and also the carbon footprint.
Importantly, we need significant coordination between public sectors, through a combination of regulation and incentives, and the private sectors, through a consent to engage with regional, state, and federal agencies to implement IoT applications in waste management to develop a better and more sustainable future.