Smart Trash Solutions


Most of us probably don’t think too much about our trash and recycling. We throw it in the bin, push it to the curb, and that’s that. But some companies are devoting a lot of thought to this topic. They are coming up with solutions to use connected technology to make waste collection more advanced.

Many times, waste collection companies don’t know which bin is which. Each bin is emptied, but there’s no way to determine one from the other. A solution created by Air-Trak,, and Intermec,, is designed to make things more specific.

The companies announced they will provide their RFID (radio-frequency identification) tracking system to Specialty Solid Waste & Recycling,, which provides service to Sunnyvale, Calif. The solution will track the delivery of bins and carts and record waste collection by location, time, and bin or cart size in realtime.

Specialty Solid Waste & Recycling serves the entire city of Sunnyvale, including both commercial and residential customers, and it needed a way to accurately bill based on bin or cart size and time of service. The RFID solution is able to identify each bin or cart, and therefore it can keep track of when it was emptied. The system can also determine if for some reason an address was not serviced on a particular day.

Additionally, Air-Trak and Intermec provided a service-event recording system that can integrate with Specialty Solid Waste & Recycling’s customer management, inventory management, and service management business systems.

Other companies are also working on solutions for waste management. In February, Trimble,, and Smartbin,, teamed up to combine their solutions into one complete offering. The companies said Trimble will gain worldwide rights to use SmartBin’s wireless monitoring and Web access technologies in its products.

So what does SmartBin’s system do? The company’s technology uses sensors on recycling containers to automatically measure how full they are. These could be containers for glass, paper, organic waste, or aluminum cans, among other items. SmartBin then uses wireless communications over the Internet to transmit the fill levels of the containers to a central station. This way, the containers can be picked up only when they are full, instead of having a worker check containers every week.

By creating more efficient systems for trash and recycling collection, service companies can save time and money. So keep an eye on your collection bin, because it could soon become a connected device.

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Connected World Issue
June/July 2014
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