Enevo Sensors Monitor Trash, Recycling Bins for Optimized Collection

The four-year-old Finnish company provides a solution that tells municipalities and private collection companies how full their waste containers are.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

The temperature sensor triggers alerts only if it detects significant, quick spikes in temperature. This allows the unit to be used in compost bins, the contents of which generate warmth during the decomposition process. Some customers such as recycling companies might want to secure the contents of their collection bins because they are valuable. By setting up an automatic-alert function, customers can ensure that if the Enevo unit detects that movement, they can respond quickly to possible theft.

The ultrasonic sensor scans the bin's contents to determine fill rate once per hour, while the motion and temperature sensors run all the time. Based on the default settings, the unit has a 10-year battery life—which can be extended if the ultrasonic sensor is set to make less frequent scans when placed within seldom-used bins.

The sensor unit transmits its data via wireless cellular networks to the Enevo servers, where the information is collected, processed and transmitted to the customer's account dashboard on Enevo's website. The site displays which bins are nearly full, and also provides predicted fill-up dates, based on the rate at which each bin is filling. In addition, it suggests collection routes, which direct trucks only to the bins that need to be emptied or that have generated alerts. Customers can use this information to make small adjustments to their collection routes. For a more streamlined approach, a customer can use an application programming interface (API), provided by Enevo, to integrate all of the aforementioned data into its enterprise resource planning (ERP) or fleet-management system. Gunst notes that while the majority of existing customers have opted to do this integration, some prefer to use Enevo's online software in standalone mode, to monitor the condition of collection bins and make tweaks to their collection schedule based on real-time fill data.

Enevo charges a monthly subscription for its services, based on the number of sensor units deployed. According to Gunst, customers report a savings of 20 to 40 percent, thanks to a reduction in fuel consumption and costs related to truck maintenance and labor, due to fewer collections being made.

Smartbin, based in Dublin, Ireland, offers a very similar solution, also employing ultrasonic sensing units installed inside collection bins. The company's units do not contain a motion sensor but do include a tilt sensor, which can alert a customer if an entire bin has shifted position. Smartbin also offers a mobile version of is software. The firm services a range of industries, including textiles. In the United States, for example, Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley, in Maryland, utilizes Smartbin technology to monitor collection bins and trigger its truck fleet to collect only those that are full.

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