Following this Summer’s trial of smart compactor bins across the city, Sunderland City Council is ready to implement next steps in its use of smart technology for city-wide improvements.

Data from the smart compactor bins trial has confirmed that the council’s waste collection service is emptying public bins before they have neared capacity. In order to continuously improve the monitoring and management of waste collection, Sunderland City Council is commencing a new trial to instal digital ‘fill level’ sensors into approximately 40 bins across the city.

This new trial will entail retrofitting existing shroud bins with fill sensors as the council commences the next stage in their data driven journey to help to assess more effective scheduling for the emptying of bins.

With improved data on the status of every bin fitted with a smart fill sensor, the council can monitor and review fill levels to maximise resource utilisation and minimise unnecessary journeys.

Reducing the number of journeys made by the waste collection services team by emptying bins as they near capacity, not only lessens the fuel used and the environmental impact, it allows the council to realise wider resource efficiencies as team members can use the time saved to focus on other duties and enhancement works.

Andy Wilson, environmental services manager (north) at Sunderland City Council, said: “The new trial will see fill level sensors fitted to bins across the city and this new technology will bring benefits to our teams here at the council, as well as to residents and visitors.

“This technology highlights which bins are used the most and at what times, allowing us to create more efficient waste collection routes across our communities. This not only supports our mission for cleaner neighbourhoods, it enables us to actively protect the environment by optimising resources and reducing carbon emissions.”

Martin Briscoe, environmental services manager (city centre) at Sunderland City Council, added: “The data collected from the bin sensors via our smart digital infrastructure will be analysed with advanced software, which can evaluate each bin’s usage and predict future behaviours. This will allow us to optimise our schedules and resources and can even enable us to create customised calendars for collection based around usage in certain areas.”

Smart sensors are part of a series of smart technology-enabled enhancements that Sunderland City Council is exploring in partnership with BAI Communications. Part of a network of sensors enabled by Sunderland’s advanced smart city infrastructure, data is already being collected about traffic flow and air quality to allow the council to better service the city’s needs now and in the future.

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