How Smart Cities Are Getting Smarter: Waste Management Operations

With the introduction of 5G, and the power of artificial intelligence to analyze data from sensors and devices, cities are getting smarter. Different systems and technology are applied by global cities to make themselves smarter and more efficient – even when it comes to managing the waste that they produce.

According to the World Bank, we generate nearly 2 billion tons of garbage annually. Some cities spend up to half their budgets on managing trash. Outdated manual trash collection methods following predefined schedules cause inefficiencies. It’s no surprise that local governments have turned their attention to this issue.

At this point in time, the most common technology employed by municipalities is the use of IoT sensors placed in public trash cans to measure the amount of trash in the can. This data is then transferred to the cloud, where it is processed and analyzed. This allows the optimization of pick-up times and route planning for trash collection. Public cellular networks are widely used for data collection, but Wi-Fi and radio frequency mesh are also available.

Smart bins are another example of new technology that is becoming more prevalent in cities. They use solar energy panels and sensors to continually compact the waste that is deposited and communicate fill levels to ensure collection only when the bin is full. This reduces the number of collection visits, saving money and keeping the streets cleaner. Area-specific data is then analyzed regarding waste volume for better urban planning. Fleet management of garbage trucks is also enhanced, reducing CO2 emissions because of fewer garbage trucks on the streets.

By utilizing this technology, cities hope to solve the problem of overflowing trash in public places and wasting money on inefficient waste collection.