Hot Tips (Waste Management)

Smart Trash, Smart Campus

What better place to implement smart waste management than an institution of higher learning? Cities and campuses across the U.S. are enjoying the many benefits of intelligent litter and recycling receptacles.

Individuals charged with waste control are now able to employ a network of connected receptacles and software that enables collection, planning and routing that is substantially more efficient. Smart enough, in fact, to save an estimated 20 to 40 percent on litter and recycling collection expenses. Knowing that a large university can easily generate 9,000,000 pounds of waste in a year, the savings potential is hard to ignore.

Traditional static systems allow for litter receptacles to overfill before they are collected — an aesthetic and olfactory nuisance, for sure — while others that sit empty are collected anyway. Smart litter receptacles provide a new approach, allowing you to allocate resources only where and when they are needed, not only saving time, but also decreasing fuel costs, carbon footprints and unsightly waste overflows.

Using GPS and other sensors, smart receptacles can monitor and transmit fill level, temperature, weight, location and more to cloud-based portals. Monitoring containers provides a holistic view of an area’s trash and recycling status while improving landfill diversion rates.

To maintain aesthetics, some sensors can be hidden within a litter receptacle or recycling station, which provides the added benefit of preventing tampering. Sensors should also be built to remain reliable and accurate even in harsh environmental conditions to meet the challenges receptacles face in high-use environments such as a campus. Along with smart design, factors such as durability are important to consider in choosing a smart waste management system.

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of College Planning & Management.

About the Author

Emma Skalka is vice president of Sales and Marketing at Victor Stanley in Dunkirk, MD.

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