Waging War on Waste

IoT-enabled refuse, recycling bins optimize trash management

The decreasing costs of sensors means the Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly moving into new areas of commercial and multi-residential properties, such as waste and recycling management. IoT-connected waste/recycling bins that are outfitted with sensors can detect bin fill level, collection events, fire, tilt and temperature. Data collected from these ‘smart’ bins offer some immediate and obvious benefits; however, there is much more value than a trip saved walking around a building looking to see if waste has been collected.

  1. With insight into which bins are not full on pickup day, facility managers can decide whether these bins should be picked up less often, reducing costs. On the flip side, identifying which bins are full before pickup days and are likely to overflow can help facility managers prevent associated cleanup costs and cleanliness issues.
  2. Data gathered allows facility managers to determine if bins are being collected as per the agreed upon schedule with their waste/recycling vendors. It also provides a quick overview of how often pickups are missed as well as the time of day pickups are typically being completed.
  3. Facility managers receive real-time and accurate alerts when a container catches fire, as well as instant notification when a bin is tipped over.
  4. Some buildings generate more waste/recycling than others. For example, a restaurant tenant requires more frequent collection than an office tenant. Understanding these trends allows facility managers to properly forecast and plan waste/recycling services when new tenants move into a property.
  5. Through image-based camera systems that can visually assess waste types, facility managers are able to identify illegal dumping in bins and take appropriate actions, such as locking bins and installing video surveillance, if required.
  6. Smart bins drive accurate sustainability reporting by using the actual volume measurement instead of estimates or inaccurate weights.
  7. Facility managers can charge tenants by the verified amount of waste/ recycling that is generated instead of an estimate or inaccurate cost sharing of predicted volumes.
  8. On-demand pickup of waste/recycling eliminates unnecessary truck trips with no overflow. Fewer truck visits also result in less traffic, noise and congestion on a property, and reduced wear and tear of parking lots, doors and enclosures.