Waste management systems can create problems for the environment. Paradoxical though it sounds, few systems function more wastefully than garbage control. Inefficient schemes consisting of weekly pickups, massive trucks, and suited-up garbage collectors lead to high costs, oversized environmental impact, and plenty of mechanical and human downtime.
The solution lies in technology. Internet of Things (IoT) fullness sensors bring many benefits to waste management companies and their clients. IoT fill level sensors automate and optimize waste management systems so that organizations can save money and go greener. Here are eight of the benefits that come from using IoT fill level sensors:
1. Full Transparency
Using ultrasonic beams, smart sensors determine the fullness level of waste containers. The best systems allow waste management teams to access data anytime, anywhere, using a tablet, phone, or laptop. Each user can enter a dashboard and see the data they need. Ultramodern systems even allow waste management agencies to customize user accounts so that each person sees only what they need to see on the screen. The real-time data provided includes the last pickup date, the status of all compactors expressed as a percent, the status of the current pickups, the container’s weight, and any service alerts.
2. Eliminating the Cost of Unnecessary Collections
Waste management is a $52 billion industry in the U.S., but most of those dollars aren’t going into your pocket. How much does it cost to send out your trucks, your staff, and your maintenance crew for each collection? Have you run a risk assessment to determine the amount of risk you could save by reducing time spent on the road? IoT fill level sensors let you eliminate the costs and risks of unnecessary collection, including fuel, staff time, and maintenance costs. By emptying only full trash bins, your company can streamline its services and save. Reducing your annual mileage could also help you renegotiate your insurance policies.
3. Reducing Your Organization’s Carbon Footprint
Every American generates about 4.6 pounds of trash per day, and someone has to pick it up. Garbage collection might be a lucrative industry, but its traditional system stinks for the environment. The fossil fuels needed to power the trucks, the trucks’ emissions, the discarded auto parts, and the hulks of abandoned garbage collection vehicles all cause trouble for mother nature. That’s why cities like Ann Arbor are experimenting with hybrid collection vehicles. But not even clean energy consumption can compete with zero energy consumption. With fill level sensors, companies can limit their trucks’ routes only to places with full bins, reducing pickups by up to 50%. It’s just one of the many IoT waste management benefits.
4. Seeing Data in Real Time, 24/7
The IoT connects the fill sensors on the bins with your company’s computers and handheld devices. Team members can receive real-time data via a secure email or SMS alert sent right to their mobile devices. Further, they can communicate important decisions from any location instantly. Top IoT fill sensors don’t even need internet access to communicate with home base. They transmit all data securely through wireless technology.
5. Having Remote Diagnostics
The IoT is unfurling at a phenomenal pace, putting billions or even trillions of sensors in place within the near future. Installing fill level sensors is simple, but monitoring them can grow complex. How would you know, for instance, if a sensor has malfunctioned and a bin is overflowing? Networks can track equipment and performance. Not only does this mean you can schedule service calls well ahead of an actual breakdown, but also means you can identify patterns over time. These remote diagnostics allow managers to detect and address any misuse of company assets. It also means you don’t have to send staff into the field to find out how your technology is performing.
6. Resizing the Workforce
Fill level sensors allow waste management companies to cut labor costs. A 2016 study performed on IoT sensors in Malaysia concluded that waste management companies employing them could enjoy a 50% reduction in costs. Much of that is attributable to a leaner workforce. Current systems require garbage truck drivers and collectors to follow routes coordinated according to the calendar, but an IoT-derived system can forecast a pickup schedule according to actual need, an approach that requires fewer employees to maintain the same quality standard of service.
7. Identifying Cost-Effective Routes
As in other industries, waste management can benefit from IoT’s intelligence to make data-driven decisions about route formation. Traditional trash pickup routes rely on weekly or bi-weekly routing based on maps. Today’s technology allows companies to redraw those routes and reduce unnecessary trips by using time-tracked data about bin fullness and pickup efficiency. It may take several months for a waste management company to collect enough data to reoptimize their existing routes, but tailoring their new itineraries is no trouble. As new data comes in, companies can tweak routes for drivers, becoming increasingly efficient over time. Zero Waste Scotland put like this:
These technologies currently use fill levels to indicate bin fullness over time. This information is provided as real-time data so that bin servicing regimes and transport routes can be tailored on the fly to maximize efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
8. Improving Process Efficiency
Here, as in any other decision-making process, access to easily surfaced, real-time data lets companies improve their waste management and increase their efficiency and effectiveness. Writing about smart trash bins, futurist Edin Golubovic says, “Together with the cloud, these trash bins would become irreplaceable elements in the waste management cycle where the collection, transportation, storage and recycling of waste could be automated.”
Sensa Networks offers IoT fullness sensors that provide these eight benefits, helping clients save money and generate revenue. With 10 years of experience in the business, Sensa knows how to create simple, transparent solutions, supported by top-shelf customer service. Learn more about how Sensa’s remote monitoring products can reduce pickups and save your company thousands of dollars.
Also published on Medium.