The solid waste industry has reached the point where gathering data from its mobile operations is relatively inexpensive and systems are reliable.
US-based publication Waste360 spoke to waste management company Kessler Consulting Inc about the shift.
“I think as an industry we are only just now scratching the surface on the use of big data for solid waste management and the possibilities are only limited by our own creativity,” said Don Ross, director of operations for Kessler Consulting Inc. based in Tampa, Fla.
Ross says the best example of data changing the industry is the use of route optimisation.
“Route optimization has provided greater and faster visibility to improving the utilization of our assets,” he says. “Collection represents the largest component of operating costs and optimisation results in more productive collection routes and subsequently the need for fewer vehicles. I expect other emerging technologies to offer similar opportunities for improvement.”
Amity Lumper, co-president of Cascadia Consulting Group based in Seattle, Wash, told Waste360 big data provides a more granular understanding of operations and assets, in addition to equipping the industry to better adapt in real-time and prepare for future needs.
“Smart waste technologies are taking off,” Lumper says. “We’re particularly excited about sensors, robotics, apps, machine learning, automation, and on-board computing systems. According to Navigant Research, the global market for smart waste collection technology is projected to grow by a compound growth rate 16 percent between 2016 and 2025.”
Ross says the “connected” truck is also a big key today. Bin sensors that determine fullness are being deployed now and roll-off compactors have been self-dialing dispatch offices for years indicating they are ready for pickup.
“What we do with this data is where things get interesting,” he says.