Cities have been growing around the globe in the past few years. A United Nations report has estimated that about 68% of the world’s total population will be living in urban centers by the year 2050. This will see an increase of about 70% in solid waste, according to the World Bank.
This might be difficult to handle considering that the world is already facing challenges handling waste management. An increase in solid waste might see increased illegal dumping which might lead to other challenges, especially in public health.
Fortunately, advancements in technology have seen some parts of the world adopting IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence), and APIs (Applications Programming Interfaces) in a bid to make waste management smarter.
How can IoT, APIs, and AI make waste management better?
1. e-Waste Kiosks
Among the different types of waste that you can find in a waste bin, you will also find electronic gadgets. This kind of waste is known as e-waste. The toxicological implications of e-waste, things such as laptops. MP3 players, tablets, and phones can hurt both human beings and the environment.
They, therefore, have to be recycled well to avoid these effects. Fortunately, technology can be used to build e-waste kiosks that use smart applications to evaluate and determine the condition of electronic devices.
Those that are in bad condition and already hurting their owners or the environment can then be disposed of correctly.
2. Sensors for Waste Levels
Sensors powered by APIs, IoT, and AI can be used to implement a smart waste management system that works well for cities. These sensors can be used to track how much waste a bin has accumulated and then share that information with collection service providers.
The collection service providers will not only use this information for collection when the bins are full but also for planning and prediction. For instance, they can time routes and predict when to collect a bin based on the time that a bin takes before getting full.
Research has indicated that these sensors can help reduce the cost of waste management by about 50%. This is because waste bins can be collected on time, eliminating other maintenance requirements that arise from overfilling of the bins.
3. Waste Receptacles
Using Artificial Intelligence, waste collection service providers can build waste bins that come with waste receptacles to sort through waste, recognize different types of waste, and separate them depending on the requirements of the waste collectors.
For instance, if you were to manually sort through a waste bin in a city, you will find different types of waste. Things such as plastics, glasses, nylon papers, or even food waste will be mixed in the bin.
If you were to separate them manually, this would take you a lot of time. Technology has changed this. Using AI receptacles, waste can be sorted into different categories. This plays a crucial role in the transition to smart waste management.
4. AI-Powered Recycling Robots
Looking at a waste bin, you are likely going to find a lot of waste that can be recycled. However, how long can it take a person to manually separate the waste that can be recycled from the one that cannot?
Through AI and APIs, companies can build robots that do this for them. For this to work, understanding what an API is very important. This is because the APIs communicate and share data in a bid to help the robots differentiate different types of waste.
With such robots, waste such as plastic can be reused. Different types of waste that can be reused can be sent to companies for recycling instead of landfills. Using these robots, human error can be eliminated and operational costs reduced.
5. Load Monitoring of Garbage Tracks
We have talked about sensors for waste levels in waste bins above. These bins are emptied into garbage tracks. So, it also makes sense for waste collection service providers to also put sensors into their garbage tracks.
By doing this, the waste collection service providers will be able to monitor the levels of waste on their garbage tracks. This way, they can collect data that can be used to predict when their tracks are likely going to fill up.
With such information, they can find ways to minimize or reduce the number of trips they have to make when collecting garbage. Over some time, they will be able to analyze the collected data to help in future planning and minimizing operational costs.
As technology advances, we are going to see more technologies making waste management better and smarter.