Waste management is a significant challenge for many cities worldwide. The amount of waste produced is constantly increasing, then an organised and efficient collection must be necessarily implemented. It must be efficient in order to provide timely and efficient service to citizens, and must aim to be more sustainable in terms of both environmental impact and the costs of management itself.
Current Issues in Waste Management
One of the biggest issue in waste management is the lack of information related to the waste flow. Often, waste managers do not have a complete understanding of the amounts and types of waste produced in a delimited area, making it difficult to efficiently plan the waste collection and disposal.
Moreover, many waste management systems are still manual and require a lot of time and human intervention to be performed correctly. This leads to higher costs and low efficiency in waste management.
All of this is primarily due to the presence of outdated infrastructure. Many waste management facilities are old and were not designed to support IoT technology. This makes it difficult to implement a smart picking system into existing infrastructure.
How to Improve Waste Management with IoT
IoT (Internet of Things) technology is transforming many industries, and waste management is not an exception. IoT technology allows real-time data collection on the waste produced in a given area, and this data can be used to improve the management of the process. Here's how smart picking can improve waste management:
- Efficient Collection Planning: Data collected from sensors installed in waste containers allows waste managers to get precise information on the quantities and types of waste produced in that specific area. This enables them to do prevision and plan the collection and disposal of waste more efficiently and avoid overfilling of containers.
- Cost Reduction: More efficient waste collection planning can mean a reduction in operational costs, as fewer trucks and personnel will be needed for collection and disposal.
- Higher Recycling Rate: Data collection on waste produced in a given area can help waste managers identify opportunities to increase the recycling rate. This can be done by running awareness campaigns on separate collection or providing incentives for waste recycling.
- Minimum Environmental Impact: More efficient waste collection and disposal can reduce the environmental impact, as fewer trucks will be needed for collection and disposal. Additionally, a greater amount of recycled waste can help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
IoT can thus improve waste management by providing precise and real-time information on the waste produced in a given area, allowing for more efficient waste collection and disposal planning, reducing operational costs, and increasing the recycling rate.
Applications of Intelligent Monitoring and Smart Picking
Here are 4 brief examples showing the effectiveness of an IoT solution:
- Automated Waste Level Detection: by using IoT sensors and automatic detection technologies, waste managers can monitor waste levels within dumpsters and plan collection efficiently. For example, a study in the Netherlands showed that using IoT technologies in waste management led to a 20% reduction in operational costs.
- Targeted Collection: with the use of smart picking, waste managers can selectively pick waste to be collected and disposed of, reducing time and costs associated with collecting useless waste. This enables them to selectively pick recyclable waste, improving the recycling rate by 25% and reducing disposal costs by 30%.
- Air Quality Monitoring: with the use of IoT sensors, waste managers can monitor air quality and identify sources of emissions from exhaust gases. This can help reduce the environmental impact of waste management sites and improve public health. For example, a waste management facility in Amsterdam used IoT sensors to reduce emissions from exhaust gases by 40%.
- Efficient Resource Management: by using smart picking, waste managers can identify and use available resources more efficiently, such as composting or producing energy from renewable sources. It has been reported that the use of smart picking to efficiently manage available resources reduces energy costs by an average of 30% and improves environmental sustainability.
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