* The featured image used for this blog post is owned by ZenRobotics.
The global waste management market size is predicted to reach $484.9 billion by 2025. Population pressure, concentrated urban growth, and an increased rate of hazardous waste generation are all factors contributing to this expansion. Approximately 7-10 billion tons of solid waste are generated each year in urban areas due to construction and tourism activities alone. All this activity calls out for new methods to handle, haul, recycle, and transform waste.
As the year winds down, it’s time to take a look back at some of the most innovative solutions the waste industry has witnessed. From high-tech to simply ingenious, let’s see who’s making the most creative – and most useful – advances.
Since China has put the brakes on receiving imported trash, the US faces a large garbage surplus, especially in plastic and cardboard waste. Many communities have been overwhelmed and some have even stopped trying to meet the increased recycling demand. This means more waste ends up in landfills instead of getting recycled.
To fill the environmental service gap in the $6.6B recycling industry, several companies and universities are developing AI-assisted robotic technology to be deployed in processing plants. The goal is to have robots assist with quality control, sort recyclables, and minimize the health risks to human work teams.
Software for Waste Companies
Many environmental service providers have been stuck in the tech dark ages when it comes to implementing modern business software. Still, leading firms are capitalizing on the benefits of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to improve everything from customer service to operations to sales to digitized workflow help.
These powerful waste business management platforms have been transforming companies and making life easier for their staff. Recently, Waste Management Inc. announced their plans to upgrade their business technology tools as well.
The more advanced platforms can:
- Consolidate and optimize customer management
- Automate document production (e.g. faster, more accurate EPA e-Manifests)
- Improve sales funnel outcomes
- Create a central archive of all important documents
- Help manage accounting, tasks, and work orders
Fill Level Sensors
In order to optimize hauling routes, companies only want to pick up full containers. To meet this demand, fill level sensors use the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing technology. This allows haulers to be notified when and where full garbage containers are located, thus reducing unnecessary pickups to increase efficiency by up to 50 percent.
These sensors save customers money since they only pay for the pickups they need. Plus, the data is crunchable so collection timing can be constantly optimized.
Waste Transformed into Raw Material
The quest to use as much, or all, waste in a productive manner continues to ramp up significantly. By extracting high quality plastics and cellulose fiber, companies are rescuing these waste products to be transformed into a new, abundant source of raw material, for instance, in construction.
Every 1,000 sq. ft. of roof boarding made of recycled material can prevent 800 lbs. of plastic and 1,200 pounds of paper from getting dumped into landfills.
Route Planning and Optimization
By leveraging GPS monitoring technology and advanced computer algorithms, waste haulers can track their fleet at all times. After collecting enough data, the most efficient routes can then be selected. This can be based on traffic patterns, distances, and even the ability to make a right turn at a red light.
Many different scenarios can be serviced by these innovative tools such as:
- Residential routes
- Industrial waste pickup
- Construction waste containers
- Public waste bins
- Smart bins with sensors
- Special / hazardous wastes
Garbage is dirty, but recyclables need to be clean. By using autoclave sterilization technology, some firms are using steam, pressure and agitation to separate solid wastes into different sterilized resource streams which can be used to manufacture other products. The resource streams include recyclables (e.g., ferrous materials, aluminum cans, plastics and glass), and cellulosic biomass (approximately 60 per cent by weight of the input).
Make It An App
Some technology is destined for the everyday citizen, like the iRecycle app. This simple application helps people locate the nearest recycling site in the area. Used on both iOS and Android, the app also provides tutoring on how to recycle on your own.
The Recycle Coach app also teaches and reminds users to recycle. It also helps locate nearby recycling facilities. There are even special versions for haulers, schools, companies, and universities.
While still in the development stage, autonomous waste pickup is not that far away. Volvo has been developing the technology since 2017, and they’ve even partnered with Uber in some of their research efforts.
The autonomous truck carries a human operator who helps verify routes. The operator also gets out of the truck and collects the actual garbage while the truck maneuvers itself along the route.
Robotic Trash Cans
Robotic wheeled trash containers roll out to the curb on their own at the push of a button. While this might be a couch potato’s dream come true, this innovation is especially helpful for those with limited mobility.
The Future Now
Of all the innovations we’ve looked at, the SaaS waste management business solutions are the most accessible now. Even better, they don’t require any complex hardware or server installations. By taking advantage of cloud technology, these platforms can be deployed quickly to get any waste company up and running in no time.
The cloud also makes it possible to access the system from any computer, even from your home PC or laptop. Many features are also available on mobile devices. Now, while robots and self-driving trucks might be the wave of the future, a solid business upgrade is available today.
Innovate now with powerful waste management software.
Click on the button below to get a free demo of the PegEx Platform, the waste industry’s leading waste management business software.