Getting smart with textiles recycling

A textiles recycler has achieved significant cost savings in collecting materials from its bins by employing monitoring technology that offers real-time data capture

Textiles recycling firm Wilcox Textile Reclaimers has seen a 37% reduction in the cost of collecting materials from its bins throughout the UK using advanced bin monitoring technology from SmartBin.

Based on efficiencies derived from a 10-week trial covering 14 of its textile recycling bins, Wilcox has extended the use of SmartBin technology and services to all of its 1,500-plus bins throughout its collection system.

Wilcox says it saw the advantages of SmartBin’s singular bin-fill monitoring technology, which includes real-time information about the exact level of fill in bins, reduced collections costs, documentation of disposition of materials, and help with compliance.

SmartBin’s technology is scalable to any type of recyclable material, including textiles, paper, glass, plastic or aluminium.

Sorting lines

Working closely with charities, local authorities and waste recycling companies, Wilcox has recently installed new sorting lines that allow high-volume throughput in conjunction with increased sorting quality. Chief executive officer Martin Wilcox was seeking a way to eliminate the waste associated with inefficient collection processes where vehicles were sent to collection bins without knowing if they were full, half-full or even empty.

SmartBin’s Recycling Bank Solution was the answer. Technicians installed sensors in Wilcox’s 880lb-capacity bins whose data was sent to a web portal that allowed the client to monitor the fill-level of every bin on a real-time basis, and to get reports and alerts via SMS or email.

The results of the pilot run exceeded all expectations – the solution completely eliminated unnecessary waste collection trips for Wilcox. In fact, it provided more than just real-time fill-level information on the bins being monitored. During the trial period, the decision was made to initially continue with the existing collection regime, as if the sensors

were not there, as a comparison. This demonstrated that very many bins were being serviced/emptied when the bins were only 25-50% full, and that on some occasions the bins were overflowing and site clean-up was necessary in addition to bin servicing, which at times exposed Wilcox to fines from the site owners.

The unmonitored bin fill levels proved so unpredictable that when compared to the precision provided by SmartBin’s technology, the total number of service trips reduced by over 37%. Wilcox also benefited in other ways – it could archive and process the data that SmartBin was providing through its sensors that can be leveraged in numerous ways in the future, further reducing costs and increasing profitability.

“We were able to make very precise measurements that dramatically underlined the huge cost savings that SmartBin technology was providing,” says Mark McCarville, SmartBin’s director. “Both in terms of the loss of revenue from dispatching collection vehicles to less-thanfull bins on a regular basis, and in terms of the carbon footprint of each of those trucks, the savings from only sending trucks to bins once they were full was remarkable.

“And that’s what SmartBin is all about: taking an industry – materials recycling – that is already intended as an ecologically beneficial proposition, and making it that much more beneficial to society while also making it that much more profitable to those doing the work of recycling. When it comes to doing well by doing good, this is as good as it gets.”

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