Use Case

Improve Waste Management with Smart City Technology

The Problem: An Increase in Population Leads to an Increase in Waste (Management)

According to the United Nations, the urban population of the world has grown rapidly from 751 million in 1950 to 4.2 billion in 2018.  Approximately 55 percent of the world’s current population lives in urban areas. Research projects by 2050, that number will increase to a staggering 68 percent. Today, the most urbanized regions include Northern America (with 82% of its population living in urban areas in 2018).

This increase in population means an increase in waste. Cities need to adopt technology that enables waste management to operate more efficiently.

Truck drivers currently collect waste on a predetermined route, emptying all trash bins along that route regardless of their fill rate. Resources such as manpower, time, and gas are used inefficiently, causing additional pollution and impacts the driver, the city and the residents.

The Solution: Increase Efficiency with Technology

City management seeking to improve on these pain points can adopt smart technology that helps streamline operations. Real-time data from trucks and trash bins enables better route planning, and empowers management to reroute trucks as needed to service only the trash bins that need it. For example, if a new business opens up and produces a larger volume of waste than previously expected in that area, waste management can make changes to routes and resources to handle the increase of waste.

To achieve that, trucks and trash bins need to be connected and equipped with IoT Sensors inside of them, giving waste management visibility of their fill rates. By equipping all of these sensors onto trucks and trash bins, hacking becomes a security concern. Officials require a solution that aggregates and visualizes the data and keeps this information secure throughout the process.

As new sensors are added, city managers can benefit from device management and security software that protects data from hackers. The managed data then feeds into a visualization platform showing fill rates and indicates whether or not a trash container needs to be emptied.

With sensors on their trucks and bins, waste management can watch their drivers move around the city in real-time and give direction regarding real-time changes in fill rates based on the data collected from bin sensors. Smart waste bins on the visualization platform will change color based on their fill rate. Green shows a bin is not entirely full, while red indicates that trash in that bin needs to be emptied.

With this visual data, management can quickly and easily direct their truck drivers to only the bins that need servicing. Adopting this technology helps cut down on costs, reduces city pollution, ensures that no full bins will be overlooked, and every trash container that needs to be emptied will be emptied that day.

Key Take-a-Way:

Smart cities that adopt waste management technology will become greener, cleaner and more efficient. Though 2050 may seem distant, cities need to invest now in technology that enhances their infrastructure and improves the quality of living for its current and future residents.

See how Live Earth’s IoT visualization platform can decrease the strain currently put on waste management and drivers.

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