Smart sensors manage public bins and waste collection


Traditional waste practices dictated that the city blindly collect every bin – regardless of fill levels.

As data on the status of a bin was not available, the city relied on a set route collection system as well as complaints from citizens.

This system was inefficient, not based on need, and relied heavily on the use of large bin lorries driving around the city.

A better method was needed to allow city leaders to monitor and review bin capacity and fill levels in order to see where improvements can be made. This would benefit residents, workers, and visitors as well as save on resources and carbon emissions.

Solving the problem

In partnership with Newcastle City Council (NCC), Cisco, Newcastle University, Connexin, Mayflower, and Quantela, Enevo installed 1,200 of its patented sensors to monitor fill levels and collections of public bins. Advanced analytics software evaluated the sensors’ data and predicted waste behaviour to create custom collection schedules.

The ability that we’ve got with this particular system – because we’ve been able to optimise routes – means that we can cut down on our carbon footprint. That’s what’s allowing us to look to the future.

Mick Murphy, Head of Service, Local Services, and Waste Management at Newcastle City Council

The data collected allows services to plan the days and frequency on which each bin should be emptied. Integrating this with a council-wide system, citizens can report issues with bins or view when a bin is due to be collected.

Key outcomes

This technology-based solution saw a 50% reduction in the resources required to manage the city’s public bins and a 51% reduction in community complaints. 

Additionally, the smart bins are part of a network of sensors that collects data on traffic flow, air quality, and parking. Gathering this real-time data allows the City Council to better understand the city and make predictions to improve traffic management and air quality and create better places. 

The project was also a contributory factor in Newcastle being named Smart City of the Year 2019.