Solar-powered texting bins launched in London

Westminster City Council has unveiled a small number of solar-powered auto-compacting bins in central London that text refuse collectors when they are 80% full.

There will be four new bins in Trevor Place, Berkeley Square, Belgrave Square, Ennismore Gardens which will have eight times the capacity of a normal bin of the same size due to its compacting capability, Westminster City Council said.

According to the council, there is a CLEAN telemetry App (Collections, Logistics, Efficiency and Notifications) which is driven by a SIM card in the bin unit. An infra-red sensor in the unit detects fill levels and compaction frequency.

Messages are then sent by text to Westminster City Council advising when collections are required.  It results in having to collect the rubbish less often so lowers carbon emission and could also reduce labour costs.

Coupled with the texting function the bins are expected to reduce collections by 70% to those locations, and will cut fuel costs and greenhouse emissions by up to 80%, according to the council

Councillor Ed Argar, Westminster City Council cabinet member for city management, said: “This is an innovative pilot that has the potential to make real savings, both in costs and emissions. And by targeting collections we can prioritise bins to prevent any potential overflowing.

“Despite freezing council tax for a sixth year running, through back-office efficiency savings the council is managing to invest an extra £300,000 into street cleaning and waste collection services in the next financial year.Innovations like this can help make our resources go further – it is win-win for everyone.”

Liz Gyekye

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