System monitors volume of waste in public garbage bins and schedules collection times
June 13, 2018
By Marcos de Oliveira | FAPESP Research for Innovation – Sistema Ciclo Processamentos, a startup based in Cotia, São Paulo State, Brazil, and known under the trade name RedeResíduos, has developed a telemetry and traceability system that tells the user the best time to collect waste from garbage bins on streets or housing developments and tracks it from origin to destination.
The system, called i2waste, calculates the volume and weight of the waste in real time. Solid waste managers are able to access data on bins that are ready for collection in order to plan truck routes and save on logistics, fuel and labor costs. The firm also says that the system helps reduce traffic and emissions of pollutants.
The project submitted by RedeResíduos was one of those selected in a call for proposals to develop smart city solutions run by FAPESP in partnership with the Brazilian Innovation Agency (FINEP). The partnership involving FAPESP’s Innovative Research in Small Business Program (PIPE) gave rise to the PIPE/PAPPE Grant Program.
“Our main customers will be municipal governments with garbage bins in streets, squares, schools, parks and other places, as well as housing developments, malls, office complexes and industrial districts,” says Francisco Luiz Biazini Filho, a systems analyst and a partner in the firm.
The telemetry and tracking device can be fitted to any bin or bucket, especially those reserved for recyclable waste, facilitating selective collection by trucks and delivery to processors.
Waste levels in containers are monitored via an ultrasound meter that emits and captures pulses. Data on measurements, level alerts, device battery charge and geolocation are recorded and sent to a communications module installed in the waste container, enabling various garbage bins in the vicinity to communicate by radio and send feedback data to the firm’s web-based platform.
The modules installed in waste containers have batteries that last more than a month. A single communications module can receive data from and send data to hundreds of containers in real time using the cellular telephony network. They are also connected to a WiFi network for use when the cellular network is unavailable.
The software calculates the weight of each container’s contents and displays a real-time map on which the user can see the container’s location and the amount of waste it contains. This helps managers organize collection routes and show truck drivers the shortest path from one full container to another.
“We developed the system for any type of waste container, but ideally, municipal governments and housing or other complexes should use containers that comply with the National Solid Waste Policy, which calls for three types: one for landfills [non-recyclables such as tissue paper or diapers], another for recyclables [plastic, metal, glass, paper], and a third for composting [leaves, food, and other organic materials],” Biazini explains. This compliance facilitates correct waste disposal. “We know recyclables account for 65% of the total volume of waste in most cities.”
The garbage bin telemetry and traceability system is aligned with the concept of the smart city, which entails the use of information and communications technology, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) for the management of urban infrastructure and services in areas such as transportation, security, traffic, environment, electricity, street lighting and street cleaning.
The project supported by FAPESP was selected in a PIPE/PAPPE call for proposals on “Research on Technologies and Products for Smart City-Sustainable City Applications”. RedeResíduos was one of ten grantees selected and is finalizing the first prototypes of the system.
The firm had two previous projects approved by PIPE when it was still incubating at the University of São Paulo’s Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Technology (CIETEC).
“We make the link between those who produce and collect recyclable waste [metal, glass, plastic and paper], such as manufacturers and co-ops, and those who use the recycled materials, offering quotes, volumes and quality standards,” Biazini says. “We launched the system commercially in 2011, but there are now many competitors, so we decided to upgrade and extend the technology” (read more at agencia.fapesp.br/16757).
The toughest test of the telemetry and traceability system took place at the end of May in a showroom simulating a smart city with all functions interconnected so that mayors and secretaries could see how it works in practice. The event was held at the São Paulo State Technological Research Institute (IPT) in São Paulo. “The pilot system collected data from several waste containers installed at IPT in a daily use environment,” Biazini says. “We demonstrated the performance of the equipment, the design of the cloud-based management platform, and the communications and telemetry functionality.”
In the firm’s business plan, the target market for the waste container telemetry and traceability system consists of municipal governments, housing developments, malls, office complexes and industrial districts, as well as companies that operate skips and collect garbage. “We’re prospecting for customers, and so far, we’ve visited almost 50 cities,” Biazini says. “We plan to install pilot systems in four cities: Santos, São José dos Campos, Hortolândia, and Bertioga. After a few months, we’ll announce a pricing scheme that will include opportunities for sponsorship of waste containers and partnerships.”
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