Sunderland City Council has been running trials of solar powered smart compactor bins as part of its smart city programme.
It has been running the trials across the city through the summer and into September under its partnership with BAI Communications.
The smart bins contain a solar powered ram that compacts the waste inside, enabling each one to store up to five times more waste than an equivalent size standard bin. Each bin uses a regular household wheelie bin to contain the compacted material making them easy for the council’s teams to empty using existing equipment.
Sensors within each bin constantly report on the quantity of waste inside and use cellular transmissions to inform the council’s environmental services team how often they are being used and of the optimum time to empty them.
The devices can also be retrofitted into a range of equipment to upgrade existing commercial or public bins across the city.
Liz St Louis, Sunderland’s director of smart cities, said: “In our digitally connected, smart city, it is great to see our ambitious plans coming to fruition. Many pilots, such as the smart bin trial, are helping us to make better, data informed and more sustainable decisions.”
Andy Wilson, the council’s environmental services manager, added: “The introduction of smart bins and associated technologies has the potential to enhance a modern intelligent waste management system, which in turn can contribute to wider sustainability goals within our low carbon action plan.
“The smart bins don’t need to be emptied as often, which is not only great for the city’s carbon footprint, but also represents considerable fuel savings too with the added benefit that the time saved helps to enable staff to focus on other duties and enhancement work.”
BAI Communications said that future initiatives for the city include water monitoring, smart life buoys, a Wi-Fi messaging platform and interactive play parks.
Earlier this year Sunderland and BAI launched an internet of things and 5G accelerator programme to develop the use of a range of smart city technologies.