In a pilot smart bin project, a textile waste collection company reduced its waste collection costs by 20%.
Ekocharita started installing waste sensors sourced from software developer Sensoneo in January 2021.
By the end of June, the company was able to establish-from data gleaned from 600 containers-that the use of sensors helped decrease the collection time for 1 tonne of textile waste by 30%, reduced overall waste collection costs by 20% whilst rendering the overall logistics of the operation more smooth.
Ekocharita manages 1300 containers for clothes, shoes, toys and home textiles within an area of 16000 km².
Waste collection for textile waste is complicated by the fact that consumers bring unwanted clothes to collection depots or drop-off locations at irregular times. As such, it is difficult for waste drivers to predict when bins will be full-this renders the logistical operation of waste collection difficult, putting managers under high financial as well as time pressure. Real-time online monitoring via sensors could help streamline the process while reducing costs.
The deployed Sensoneo sensors monitor container fill levels 24 times per day. They also provide fire and tilt alarms whilst monitoring temperature.
Initially opposed to implementing new technologies, drivers working for Ekocharita are now keen to make use of the service. "Even those who said that 'I will not use it;I can’t do it with a smartphone' are the first to open a smartphone at six in the morning, make 12 red dots along the way, and at 10:00 they are back with a full car," said Juraj Kunak, a driver for Ekocharita.
Smart monitoring has allowed drivers to perfection collection routes as they can now easily identify which containers really require pick-up. Prior to the digitisation of the entire operation, drivers collected textile waste according to individual estimation.
"They were driving for 8-9 hours to collect a full car. They were running in circles and let’s say in 6 months the drivers were completely burnout. Now they can start at 7 or 8 and can be finished by 12:00 or by 1-2:00 PM and they can go back home to their families."
Said method not only helps drivers manage their time more efficiently but also serves to speed up waste collection as drivers do not come away empty when making collection trips, as 1 out of 5 was wont to do on a regular basis according to Kunak.
Ekocharita states that smart monitoring does not only allow for quick and efficient waste collection whilst preventing container overflow but also proves a distinct advantage when extending business operations over new, relatively unknown areas, as the technology in question allows for the easy replacement of competitors working in said areas.