Smart City challenge


How to improve waste management collection within the city especially related to street bins and drop-off areas? How the data can be utilized in order to reduce waste collection costs, improve service to citizens and reduce environmental impact?

Problem roots:  Reykjavik city waste collection for street bins and drop-off containers is based on an empirical approach. The system cannot respond to changes without the involvement of long-term experienced people or labor-intensive tasks and alternatively will result in the reduction of the service level for citizens. Full bins will increase littering and impact directly the environment and visual pollution.

Furthermore, there is little data available on what the collection system for street bins looks like over time and over the city and the lack of structured knowledge could be considered as a bottle neck for future developments.

Main obstacles: Waste management even if it is one of the main services delivered by the city is often considered low value and mainly as a cost. The implementation of efficient collection system is not driven by contract based on weight or based on efficiency. Therefore, the use of new instruments is often not prioritized.

In order to collect data, the use of suitable technologies is required. However, technology implementation requires also to be made with the involvement of a strong change management strategy and the involvement of all stakeholders.

Existing solutions: Within last few years a larger market has developed for technologies suitable in sensing technology and data handling for waste bins. The costs and suitability of the equipment have become more attractive for cities to implement.

Sensors also come with data handling solutions including data transfer and data analysis for direct utilization by the operators and front-line workers. Data can be made available for citizen in order to direct them to suitable drop-off areas and therefore change the dynamics of the system based on data available.

What would happen if the problem is solved? The city has a better tool to deliver street bins and drop-off collection service both in the case it is responsible for the collection with its own people or through third party contracts. Contracts can be negotiated based on the real needs and not on empirical knowledge.

Furthermore, with sufficient data and analysis it will be possible to redefine the waste collection system in time and space so changes will be better understood and handled.

What is the city looking for?

We are looking at defining the steps for the implementation of smart bins solutions for cities based on methodological planning and real life experience (Pilot). Steps include for example to study the feasibility to install smart sensors on different types of bins around the city in order to offer the city a better monitoring tool for its daily operation and planning. The data could also be available to third parties such as private collection companies or citizen.

We are also interested to learn how other cities have approach the issue and want to share results with others showing the methodology.

  • How to choose a suitable smart bins sensor?
  • How the data can be collected and used in a comprehensive manner?
  • Can the data but used between different platforms?
  • How to assess the efficiency of the system before and after the new data stream is in place?
  • What are the sustainability effect of the technology application?
  • How the citizens respond to the technology use?
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