Smart IoT Platform Helps Cities, QSRs Optimize Waste Management

Ineffective waste management strategies are costly and often harmful to the environment. Enevo, a progressive waste technology company, is using IoT to reduce waste-related costs, increase sustainability, and optimize waste management.

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Image credit: Enevo

Typically, companies and cities have to estimate their needed frequency of waste collection. However, this can cause issues when collections are missed or waste levels vary because of demand changes, which is common. Helping solve the waste collection problem is Enevo, a Finland-based company that designs IoT-powered smart sensors and an associated analytic software suite to help organizations create efficient, smart waste management strategies. 

Enevo’s technology helps companies and cities decrease costs and increase sustainability by using waste data to determine the optimal frequency for waste collection.

Enevo’s sensor, which is roughly the size of a hockey puck, uses ultrasonic sonar technology to determine a waste container’s fullness level. Ultrasonic sonar technology measures the distance between the sensor and other objects by emitting ultrasonic sound waves and recording the time it takes for the reflected sound–the sound from the object to the sensor–to reach the sensor. 

Ultrasonic sonar technology uses vibrations not audible to humans, so noise is not an issue. Enevo’s sensors can be attached to existing waste containers of various sizes. Currently, Enevo has more than 45,000 active sensors across six continents.

Enevo sensor and analytic dashboard.

Image credit: Enevo

Garbage In, Garbage Out

The container fullness data collected by the sensors is transmitted via the cloud to Enevo’s analytic software suite. The analytic software also uses machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to determine the most sustainable, cost-effective route for waste collection based on the data it collects. 

The whole process is automated, and operators can remotely monitor real-time data, including container fullness levels. The Enevo online portal also provides a live map of waste containers and collection routes. 

The analytic software uses predictive analytics to determine organizations' future waste collection and container needs. Waste management organizations can use the information determined by Enevo to adjust their current waste management strategies, often reducing costs.

Saving Dough with Analytics

Enevo partnered with seven McDonald’s locations in Nottingham, England to create a cost-effective waste management plan. Using data collected from Enevo sensors installed in waste containers at seven McDonald’s locations, the locations decided to reduce the collection frequency and the size of the waste containers. Doing so reduced costs by 12 percent across the seven McDonald's locations. 

In 2017, Enevo partnered with a national doughnut chain to reduce waste container overflow, ineffective collections, and food waste. Enevo made 95 suggestions in the first year using information from the sensors and analytic software suite. One doughnut franchise saw an 11 percent monthly savings after using Enevo’s suggestion to adjust its waste management strategy. 

Four other doughnut locations used Enevo’s suggestions to decrease their amount of waste and costs. Rather than throwing away doughnuts, these locations donated nearly 20,000 doughnuts through a food donation program, allowing them to reduce collection frequency from five to four days and saving the locations more than $700.

Map of Enevo sensors and waste collection trucks shown on the Enevo analytic dashboard.

Image credit: Enevo

Sustainable Smart Cities 

Enevo partnered with a prominent American university and installed more than 100 Enevo sensors across campus waste containers. Enevo helped the university determine that its current waste management system was utilizing only 80 percent of container capacities, prompting the university to reduce collections by 61 percent. As a result, the number of driving hours for the waste collection truck decreased by 52 percent, CO₂ emissions decreased by 4.77 metric tons, and the university saved $105,734 per year. 

After installing 1,200 sensors in partnership with the Newcastle City Council in England, Enevo determined waste behavior, designed sustainable collection routes, and predicted waste changes within the city. As a result, Newcastle reduced waste-related resources by 50 percent, carbon emissions by 49 percent, and community complaints by 51 percent.

Enevo’s progressive waste technology platform is helping organizations reduce waste-related costs and improve sustainability through waste management optimization. 

  • Learn more about Enevo.
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