Recovering and reusing waste material. Recycling and landfill diversion are basic sustainability practices. Extracting metals, glass, plastics and paper from the municipal waste stream reduces the resources required to create such materials anew.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from landfills. Converting organic waste to compost and fuels reduces the amount of organic material going to a landfill. That in turn lowers the production and release of methane and other landfill gases into the atmosphere.
Creating more fuel-efficient waste collection systems. New technologies that involve sensors and RFID tags are enabling waste managers to better analyze and optimize collection routes for garbage trucks.
Enabling alternative energy deployments. Communities are beginning to use dormant acreage covering retired landfills as locations for solar panel installations.
Solid waste targets
The technology targets described in this section can help cities develop a smart solid waste management system that uses intelligence to efficiently and responsibly handle refuse.
Instrumentation and control
Waste collection, processing and disposal practices now include electronic devices and controls to make waste management smarter and more efficient.
Implement optimal instrumentation. New types of instrumentation are gaining traction in the waste management world. RFID tags embedded in recycling bins help identify the types of refuse generated by citizens and help track customer participation in sorting programs. Attaching RFID tags to specific types of items aids waste sorting at municipal recycling facilities.
Evidence from Europe suggests that these improvements can lower collection costs by up to 40%.
Smart wireless sensors embedded in public waste bins inform waste collectors when the container needs emptying, enabling development of efficient pick-up schedules and routes based on the actual fill levels and historic fill level patterns.
Sensors are also becoming key components in waste processing. Scanners and optical sensors at material recovery facilities enable efficient recyclables sorting. Sensors are also used to monitor landfill conditions.
Data collected by waste technology sensors requires transmission to servers or web services for storage, viewing, monitoring and analysis.
Connect devices with citywide, multi-service communications. Communications systems are an essential component in new waste technologies – RFID, GPS and GIS in particular.
Data transmitted from waste collection sensors and RFID tags typically relies on the presence of wireless and cellular (GPRS) network services. Depending on the vendor implementation, these connectivity resources may be part of a citywide, multi-service communications platform, or they may be included in the vendor’s service subscription.