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Waste shouldn't be wasteful!small

Woosh loves this great article we found on Cleaning Matterswe think the idea of smart bins is a great one! Dominic, we're backing you all the way! Waste shouldn't be wasteful, it isn't logical (or clever). 

Dominic Oliver, marketing manager at BritishBins, examines the new technologies that aim to eliminate the wasteful elements of waste collection.


Here’s an odd quirk of waste collection: commercial collectors are paid for each bin they empty, regardless of how full that bin is. A bin could be overflowing or essentially empty, it makes no difference to the collectors; it’s in their best interest to collect them all. However, the collectors then pay to dispose of the waste by the tonne. Right there you have a system that mitigates against efficiency.

This is such a costly, damaging and outmoded system that it’s a wonder that it has persisted for so long. There are so many smart, forward thinking means of reducing the environmental impact of our everyday activities, but it has taken a long time for people to reconsider the way we look at collection routes. Fortunately, various technologies are now being trialled and implemented to ensure that it is not in a collector’s best interest to ‘collect’ essentially empty bins.

Bins should be visited and emptied when they are nearly full. If they are half full or less then the collection is inefficient, if they are allowed to become over-full then it is unhygienic. New technologies aim to use sophisticated sensors to measure precisely how full bins are, and then feed that data live, to a software programme in-house. Through harnessing this data, collection routes can be optimised. Bins will only be collected when they are nearly full, saving up to 40% in collection costs, and leading to substantial CO2 reductions.

There are many issues to consider when implementing ‘smart bins.’ It is important to optimise existing routes rather than go completely off-piste. One of the more popular means of remote monitoring is through the use of mobile technology, but there are many problems that come with that, mostly to do with weak mobile signals. Another promising technique is the use of ultra-sound sensors, which seem to provide accurate and reliable measurements.

Whatever ultimately becomes an industry standard, it’s clear that the current system for waste collection is on its last legs. In the same way that Uber recently swept away the slightly creaky, traditional taxi services, collection routes will soon change drastically. With the ‘internet of things’ invading every other facet of our lives, it makes sense that we implement new ideas to reduce our carbon footprint and save costs, as well as to provide much cleaner bin areas and generally better waste collection services.

Read more articles like this here Cleaning Matters.