The global amount of waste produced is steadily rising. With the amount of waste, the importance of an efficient processing of waste grows. Intelligent waste logistic covers the waste chain from the pick-up of the waste at the inhabitants' place to the processing of recycling and destruction. Route optimizations for garbage trucks are part of an intelligent waste system. This can be approached by using smart bins, which are able to report their current state. The solution can also be implemented as an underground waste collection system. To improve the processing of the collected garbage, waste sorting robots can be used.
The importance of sustainable garbage processing is expected to rise in future. Currently, in Western Europe, almost 1.2 kg per day and inhabitant are produced. This amount is quickly rising and will not peak this century without transformational changes in how we use and reuse materials. By 2100, it is estimated that the growing global urban population will be producing three times as much waste as it does today. This level of waste carries serious consequences—physical and fiscal—for cities around the world. Therefore, the impact of intelligent waste logistic is high and steadily increasing. By 2024 the waste to energy market size is estimated at $35.5 billion.
(Yann Glouche and Paul Couderc, 2013; IBM, 2015; Recycling Magazine, 2017)
Example Ecub Lab
Ecube Lab offers a system including smart bins that are able to compress the garbage and report the fill-level and a Clean City Network which is a web-based real-time route optimisation for garbage trucks. The truck driver can use a mobile App to be navigated on the optimal route. This system is able to prevent overfilled bins and minimise costs resources and emissions. Due to manufacturer specifications, the implementation of this system can save 80 percent of operational costs in comparison to a conventional garbage collection system.
(Ecub Lab, 2017)
Example: pipe system for waste collection
In this system, waste is disposed in bins that connect to an underground pipe system. Waste ends up in a compactor before being stored in containers in a collection station. This technology reduces the need for trucks in the area where waste is generated, prevents overload, improves hygiene, reduces fire hazards and smells. Cities like Barcelona, London, Copenhagen, and Bergen have already implemented such system in some areas of the city.
Smartphone availability for navigation might be helpful, as most of the route optimization tools are based on Apps.
The 7th Environment Action Programme sets the following priority objectives for waste policy in the EU:
- to reduce the amount of waste generated,
- to maximise recycling and re-use,
- to limit incineration to non-recyclable materials,
- to phase out landfilling to non-recyclable and non-recoverable waste
- to ensure full implementation of the waste policy targets in all Member States.
(European Comission, 2016)