Vodafone bin scheme results in carbon and cost savings

Vodafone has helped waste authorities reduce carbon emissions by almost a fifth through use of its mobile technology in a hi-tech refuse collection scheme.

Under the initiative, Vodaphone technology was deployed by waste contractor Mic-O-Data to connect up 6,000 waste bins in housing estates across the Netherlands to encourage greater levels of recycling.

The bins are effectively fitted with a SIM card that sends a daily status signal to the council refuse teams, alerting them when a bin is getting full or hasn’t been closed properly.

As a result of this data, refuse collectors are making fewer journeys and using less fuel in the process – in some cases, councils now require fewer refuse trucks.

The bins are locked to non-residents and can only be opened using an ID card fitted with an RFID chip. As well as allowing local authorities to monitor who is using the facilities, and bill accordingly, the initiative ensures resident accountability and encourages greater use of recycling facilities.

An independent study by Environmental Resource Management looking at the impact that the scheme has on one of the 25 local authorities found that the City Council of Groningen had reduced carbon emissions by nearly 30 tonnes a year, equivalent to a net saving of 18%.

The initiative is estimated to have saved the council £72,000 by reducing fuel and maintenance costs and negating the need to own as many trucks.

Vodafone Global Enterprise’s head of M2M business development Marc Sauter said: “When Mic-O-Data first came to us, their plan was for refuse collectors to scan individual bins to track how residents were using them.

“We helped them to take this plan even further and by embedding our M2M SIM into each bin instead, staff can now remotely check how full each bin is before going to collect it, and track usage.”

Mic-O-Data said it was now looking to take advantage of Vodafone’s global network by expanding into international markets, with France being a key target due to new laws coming into force in 2015 which will require certain type of refuse to be charged for.

Maxine Perella

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