Trash removal goes wireless

CTIA_TWA_K_BIGWould you be worried if your trash could talk? It does in Philadelphia but it’s not sharing any deep, dark sordid secrets. Instead, it’s telling the city how to better manage its waste collection system and keep downtown cleaner and greener. City workers are listening to what the trash is telling them through the use of wireless-enabled, solar powered containers that are providing data to optimize routing and save valuable energy, time, and money.

Trash Talks Via Wireless in Philly

The BigBelly Solar Intelligent Waste and Recycling Collection System is allowing cities across the nation and the world to improve their sanitation operations. The BigBelly units are equipped with sensors which detect how full they are, and processors translate that data to be transmitted via cellular to a central monitoring station. That information is used to appropriately adjust pick-up schedules, and provides workers with exact historical information on which decisions for long-term routing and planning can also be made.

The cellular data also helps determine whether additional units need to be placed in locations to accommodate demand. That process, known as ‘heatmapping’, is one way cities such as Philadelphia are using the wireless bins to learn more about user behavior and patterns, to make their downtown areas cleaner and to save significant amounts of public dollars. Philadelphia officials say the equipment helps them save about $1 million a year, through lower manpower and fuel costs due to more efficient routing.

There are also environmental gains to consider. The units are solar-powered, and in addition to trash collection, are available for recycling purposes. The route optimization enabled by the real-time data transmission via wireless means fewer wasted trips, which reduces the amount of time city trucks are on the road. That results in lower carbon emissions and less traffic congestion.

The BigBelly units are being deployed in a variety of settings, from downtown streets and parks, to college campuses and beaches. They’re proving that wireless really can make one man’s trash a city’s treasure, as innovative mobile technology is helping municipalities to provide better public service through substantial cost savings and environmental benefits for its citizens.

MunicipalWireless is Limitless

Watch more segments highlighting the benefits of wireless communication, on topics such as urban parking, environmental monitoring, smart water management and more.