Smart Dutch Rubbish Bins Tell Council When They Are Full
The clever M2M-enabled devices save time, money and improve carbon footprint
A council in the Netherlands has reduced its carbon footprint with the help of “connected bins” that report when they are full, according to a new study by sustainability consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM).
The City Council of Groningen has been working with Vodafone Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Division and waste management business Mic-O-Data to stop rubbish collectors from having to make unnecessary journeys to retrieve empty bins.
Rise of the machines
Groningen Council is one of 25 local authorities across the Netherlands participating in the scheme. To date, Mic-O-Data has rolled out 6,000 “connected bins”. Each is fitted with sensors and a Vodafone M2M SIM that sends a daily report to the rubbish collectors.
This data enables the collectors to arrange for full bins to be emptied or empty bins to be left. As a direct result, council employees are now making fewer journeys and using less fuel. In some cases, it can even help cut the overall number of refuse trucks needed.
Using this approach, in just one year the Groningen Council has reduced its carbon emissions by almost 30 tonnes a year, while saving around €92,000 (£72,000).
The hi-tech features of the bins don’t stop with sensors and M2M communication terminals. Each is also equipped with a lock, which can only be opened with a unique RFID-enabled key card. This allows the council to monitor who is using the facilities and bill accordingly, while also encouraging more recycling.
“Reducing carbon emissions is a top priority for councils today. Working with Vodafone has helped us to provide a service that is rapidly becoming a must-have for local authorities in the Netherlands and elsewhere, commented Tim Blomer, director of Mic-O-Data.
“We are now looking at how we can take advantage of Vodafone’s global network by expanding into international markets. France is a key target market for us as 2015 will see a new law require certain type of refuse to be charged for,” he added.
“When Mic-O-Data first came to us, their plan was for refuse collectors to scan individual bins to track how residents were using them. We helped them to take this plan even further,” explained Marc Sauter, head of M2M Business Development at Vodafone Global Enterprise. “This is a great example of how our M2M technology not only makes us greener; it can also save a huge amount of time and money.”
Earlier this year, British chip designer ARM launched a microprocessor framework aimed at the rise of M2M technologies, advertising it as the “the most energy-efficient 32-bit design ever”.
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