Waste management is a global concern. According to The World Bank report, about 2.01 billion tonnes of solid waste is generated globally every year. 33% of that waste is not managed in an environmentally safe manner. Waste management in densely populated urban areas is a major problem. The lack of it leads to environmental contamination. It ends up spreading diseases in epidemic proportions. It is a challenge for both developed and developing countries.
By 2050, it is estimated to grow to 3.40 billion tonnes. But here is the catch. IoT waste management systems can help, Municipalities across the globe can employ IoT to manage waste better. IoT technologies are already being employed for modern supply chains. IoT waste management systems have become invaluable as they optimize and automate most of the processes in the industry. IoT adoption, however, is far more significant on the supply chain side. While many IoT-based waste management systems are already in place, a lot of challenges hold them back.
A smart city collects data of personal vehicles, buildings, public transport, components of urban infrastructures such as power grids and waste management systems, and citizens. The insights derived from the real-time data help municipalities to manage these systems. IoT waste management is a new frontier for local authorities, aiming to reduce municipal waste. As per a recent survey by IoT Analytics, over 70% of cities have deployed IoT systems for security, traffic, and water level monitoring. It is yet to be fully deployed for smart waste management systems using IoT.
With rapid population increase, sanitation-related issues concerning garbage management are on a decline. It creates unhygienic conditions for the citizens in the surrounding areas, leading to the spread of diseases. IoT in waste management is a trending solution. By using IoT, waste management companies can increase operational efficiency and reduce costs.
The waste collection process in urban areas is complex. It requires a significant amount of resources. More than $300 million per capita is spent annually in collecting and managing waste. Most of the high-income cities charge their citizens to cover a fraction of this expense. The rest of the expense is compensated from the tax revenue, which financially burdens the local government.
Municipalities and waste management companies have improved route efficiencies. But they haven't leveraged technological innovations for improving operational efficiency. Even with the route optimization process, the manual process wastes money and time. The use of smart devices, machine-to-machine connectivity, sensors, and IoT can reduce costs. A smart waste management system using IoT can reduce expenses in the trash collection process. But how? How does the use of IoT in waste management improve waste collection efficiencies?
How Does IoT in Waste management Respond to Operational Inefficiencies?
A smart waste management system using IoT improves the efficiency of collecting waste and recycling. Route optimization is the most common use case for using IoT waste management solutions, which reduces fuel consumption.
IoT-powered, smart waste management solutions comprise endpoints (sensors), IoT platforms, gateways, and web and mobile applications. Sensors are attached to dumpsters to check their fill level. Gateways bridge the gap between the IoT platform and the sensor, sending data to the cloud. IoT platforms then transform the raw data into information.
Benefits of IoT Waste Management Solutions
There are several advantages of using IoT-powered waste management solutions.
- Reduced Waste Collection Costs:
Dumpsters that employ IoT can transmit their real-time information on fill-level. The data is shared with the waste collectors. The use of data and selection of optimum routes leads the waste collection trucks to consider the dumpsters with high fill levels. This saves fuel, money, and effort.
- No Missed Pickups:
The smart IoT waste management system eliminates the overflowing of trash bins. The authorities are immediately notified when the trash bins are about to fill up to their capacity. And the collection trucks are scheduled for pickup.
- Waste Generation Analysis:
IoT waste management isn't about route optimization alone. The actual value of an IoT-powered process lies in data analysis. Most IoT solutions are coupled with data analytics capabilities. They help IoT waste management companies anticipate future waste generation.
- Reduction In Carbon Dioxide Emission:
Optimized routes cause less fuel consumption. They reduce the carbon footprint and make the waste management process eco-friendlier.
- Efficient Recycling:
Over the years, the appearance of consumer electronic devices in landfills has become a growing concern. This is due to its harmful chemicals and valuable components. But this concern also presents an opportunity. IoT offers an opportunity for businesses by using sanitation systems to recycle e-waste for resources.
- Automating IoT Management Systems:
IoT waste management can also be helpful in waste categorization. The use of digital bins can help in automating the sorting, segregation, and categorization of waste. This saves a lot of man-hours. A Polish company Bin-e combines AI-based object recognition, fill level control and data processing. Its 'Smart Waste Bins' identifies and sorts waste into four categories - paper, glass, plastic, and metal. This makes waste processing more efficient.
Future of IoT Waste Management
IoT waste management is a boon. The growing use of IoT linked with the management of everyday urban life improves the everyday experience of the citizens. Additionally, it reduces carbon footprint. But to do so in the waste management segment, more support is needed from the public sector through incentives and regulations. The private sector needs to contribute via innovation. Engagement from the various state agencies is required to implement the usage of IoT applications. This will help build a more sustainable future.
Those managing the waste collection, sorting, segregation and categorization, can benefit from a smart waste management system using IoT. By employing IoT in waste management, waste management companies can increase operational efficiency. It can reduce costs and enhance the satisfaction level of citizens by ensuring dumpsters don't overflow.