IoT's Role in Recycling and Smarter Waste Management
Check out a couple of proposed use cases and a summarized case study for IoT-enabled applications in the recycling and waste management verticals.
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With RFID and sensor technology, recycling and waste management systems can be optimized to increase productivity and save costs while moving to a more sustainable future.
IoT-enabled applications are effectively improving the waste management operations. Pre-defined routes and outdated methods of waste collection are increasingly being replaced with sensor-enabled bins and sophisticated waste management applications.
Using Data to Recycle Products
One of the salient features of any IoT enable application is its ability of send and receive data in real-time. This data is used for a multitude of applications. With connected devices and cloud-based applications in order, the waste management chain is becoming ubiquitous with multiple points of interaction.
Image Source: American Trash Management APM Plan at Lumina (201 Folsom, SF) in San Francisco
Through sensor-enabled intelligent technology, dustbins and garbage cans can be connected to the Internet as a “Digital Bin or Can.” As an “Internet of Products” these can be monitored, supervised, and managed by identifying fill levels with every waste dumping.
For instance, once someone empties waste into the smart bin or IoT-enabled garbage can, they can scan the code on that bin, which can immediately send data to the waste collector.
This data allows collectors to identify the level and quantity of waste to be recycled. It can also be used to further optimize logistic operations like what size of the vehicle should be used, which routes to follow, which garbage be collected later and so on. The possibilities are both endless and promising.
Case Study: Capturing Data on the Internet to Manage Waste on Ground
Numerous challenges plague the waste management supply chain today. One such challenge involves sticking to pre-defined routes irrespective of whether the bins are full to the brim or not.
UK-based ISB Global is using IoT-powered applications to manage waste. Using advanced bin-level sensors, cloud-based data collection, and a smart app, ISB has created a network of connected devices for effective waste management.
By applying technologies like sensors, geo-location tracking, Bluetooth beacons, and automatic location sensing, ISB aims to maximize productivity and deliver great service at lower costs.
These systems also capture data such as weight, volume, costs, and truck numbers and feed all the information back which can further automate billing and invoicing operations.
These solutions are ideal for waste management companies or bigger venues like malls, restaurants, schools, or hospitals, where bins move around and need to move back to their designated location.
But are we overlooking something larger?
Role of Consumers in the Connected World
Though waste management technologies are nascent, there has been an upsurge in IoT-based waste management solutions and companies. Big players are deploying robust sensor management systems to match a timely, need-based approach towards waste management.
But this is just the beginning.
Talking about effective waste management, consider this scenario: You keep using batteries to power devices in everyday life. What happens when a battery is dead? You toss it in the bin. Right?
Is That Efficient or Ideal?
Imagine if you could digitally represent all these batteries on a serial level using an Internet of Things platform without the involvement of sensors. Simply a digital record of each battery — accessible on the Internet. Once your battery is waste, you could use your phone to scan and activate the IoT record for that battery, updating the record to say the battery is done and you need a new one, tagging it with the current geolocation.
The manufacturer can now deliver a new battery, if requested, and schedule a pick-up of the used one along with all the other batteries that were flagged that day. These can now be properly recycled by the manufacturer to make and deliver new batteries, turning the whole process into a much more sustainable, resource-efficient process with the help of IoT.
By brands taking responsibility to create an IoT infrastructure and involving the consumers on a large scale, effective recycling procedures can be implemented, which benefits everyone.
From companies to customers, an all-stakeholders approach can provide sustainable solutions across the globe.
These applications can be used for a number of higher value product categories like electronics, appliances, consumer durables, furniture, hardware, and more, where products can simply be flagged for recycling by the consumer and the manufacturer can recycle the materials to create new units, rather than procure or mine more precious metals, manufacture more plastic or raw material.
When manufacturers think beyond the use of sensors and consider the potential of an Internet of Things platform on which they can build smarter applications, efficiency increases, productivity increases, and smarter, more sustainable models are born.
Published at DZone with permission of Sarang Pharate. See the original article here.
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