Using IoT in smart waste management can help improve the efficiency of the processes involved and also make citizens an active component in waste management processes.
About 254 million tons of waste is generated every year in the USA alone. Most of the countries, including the USA, still rely heavily on traditional waste management processes. Waste is usually not segregated at source, information regarding the correct disposal technique is not provided to individuals, garbage collection is done at fixed periods wherein garbage collectors stick to a fixed route, and most of the waste that can be recycled ends up in landfills. These processes fall short as the amount of waste generated is increasing, and so are the environmental concerns associated with them. Thus, efficient waste management has become a serious concern. Hence, governments, as well as ordinary citizens, need to be made aware of smart waste management practices that can help solve the waste management issue.
Manufacturers can have RFID tags printed on packing materials and on products. Once an individual scans the RFID tag, they will get information about the appropriate method of disposal. Thus, citizens can contribute to the efficient disposal of waste without any hassles and at the comfort of their homes.
IoT devices such as smart sensors can be used to create smart trashcans. Smart trashcans are able to detect the levels of garbage thrown inside them. This data can then be shared on a server with authorities, who can determine which trash cans are overflowing and which are empty. They can thus plan an optimal route in garbage collection based on this information.
Similarly, dumpsters attached with sensors can provide information about the volume of garbage collected by them in real-time. Authorities, on the other end, can use this information to plan garbage collection from nearby areas. They can decide whether a new dumpster is required to collect the remaining garbage or the current one can get the job done.
Reduction in collection costs: Planning optimal routes helps save fuel, time, resources, and money. Segregation of waste at source reduces the time spent later in the activity.
No missed pickups: When a bin is about to be full, authorities are informed in real-time, and they can schedule a pickup to reduce overflows and help reduce healthcare issues associated with the accumulation of garbage.
Increased efficiency over time: Data analytics can help assess trends to better plan waste management processes like scheduling waste pickup and the allocation of resources.
Smart waste management is the need of the hour. Waste management service providers, authorities, and citizens alike can benefit from using IoT. What we need collectively as a society is deeper coordination and willingness to utilize IoT to its maximum potential. Additionally, authorities should aim at incorporating advanced technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence that can further streamline the waste management process.
Naveen is the Founder and CEO of Allerin, a software solutions provider that delivers innovative and agile solutions that enable to automate, inspire and impress. He is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, with extensive experience in customizing open source products for cost optimizations of large scale IT deployment. He is currently working on Internet of Things solutions with Big Data Analytics. Naveen completed his programming qualifications in various Indian institutes.